It has been over 2 years since I worked in a traditional gym setting. The days of walking through rows of treadmills, bikes, and stairclimbers handing out towels to sweaty bodies thumping along seems much further away in the past. I am occasionally reminded what life in a traditional gym environment is like with funny videos and pictures of all the silly sceneries that happen daily. The odd part is although I spent 8 years working in a health club and many more before that working out in one, the gym atmosphere seems so foreign and odd to me. I thought maybe I would miss the good old abductor and adductor machines or the leg press or even sweat sessions climbing the moving stairs. Rather than miss it, I feel more in disbelief of how it felt so normal to be in it for all those years.
I thought I could come up with a list of things I do miss and a list of things I do not. My list of things I do miss, is really quite simple:
- My Fellow Fitness Professionals: Working along side colleagues exchanging ideas at random moments in between training sessions. You learned from each other daily.
- My Former Clients: However, I miss all of my clients - the ones I worked with in the gym and outside of the gym.
The list of things I do not miss can be pretty expansive, but I will fight to keep it simple:
- Rows of Cardio Equipment (reminds me of hamsters on a wheel going round and round)
- Rows of fixed motion machinery (taking naps between sets)
- Stereotypes of who should and should not go in what room and take what class (men only? women only? spandex only?)
- Sales and more sales - Equating members to dollars (the eyes of the sales team watching how many members you convert to training clients)
- Mirrors - lots of Mirrors! (good hair day, bad hair day, laundry needs to be done kind of day - those mirrors are always there at every turn)
My list can continue with long explanations and I am well aware of special circumstances and the pros and cons of them all, but we must talk about the last one:
Mirrors! Mirrors should be listed as number one! Aside from a decorative one at the entry or one in the bathroom, you will not find walls of mirrors at any Gaia Fit Studio - present or future.
"Why?" you ask. "How am I suppose to see my form and know if I am doing the exercises correctly?"
My answer to you is starting in question from...
When you look in that mirror, are you really checking your from? Or are you...
- Looking around to see if anyone is watching you (maybe judging you)?
- Looking around and watching everyone else (maybe judging them)?
- Staring at every part of your body (maybe judging yourself)?
- Watching the movement vs. feeling the movement?
Using the word judge may have sparked a defensive plug in some of you, but it is there to make you stop and think. If you are one of the few that can look in that mirror and strictly check out your form, I also challenge you to try a few reps without looking at yourself in the mirror. Do you have any body awareness while performing the exercise? Can you perform the range of motion by feeling the muscles do what they need to do?
All of the benefits gained from a great workout should also cross over in to our daily lives. We should feel stronger moving our bodies throughout the day. Is that mirror going to follow you around all day showing you if you are crunching your shoulders up by your ears or do you need to be able to feel standing up tall, lifting the chest up and pulling the shoulder blades down and back?
Let's be crazy and ditch the workout mirror.
Now, about that mirror in your home... write something positive on it to inspire you every day and allow yourself only positive talk when looking straight in that mirror. Make the mirror your friend when you need it and ditch it when you don't need it (especially during that workout)!