During my sophomore year, I got into the habit of going to the gym every weekday. Initially, I went to impress my then-boyfriend, who made a point of incorporating exercise (and not healthy eating – he ate pizza and fries for dinner most nights) into his lifestyle. I was hoping it would be something that we could do together. After all, who doesn’t want to be one half of that hot couple at the gym who obviously know what they’re doing?
My hopes were dashed early on, however, when I asked him if he wanted to go to the gym together.
His response? “No, not ever.”
At the time, I took it personally, as if he would go to the gym with anyone else but me. 95% of the times that I had gone to the gym in the past, it had been because a friend and I decided to go together. It seemed odd to me that he always went alone and made a point of interacting with the fewest number of people possible.
A year and a half later, and I totally understand where he was coming from. When I started going to the gym, it was a kind of social event that only occurred when my friends and I decided to go. However, now that I’ve been lifting weights and running more consistently for over a year, I find that the experience of not being social is more gratifying, and is a better way to relieve stress. As a college student, most of the conversations that I have with my friends relate back to academics or extracurriculars, the two things that can usually be correlated with my stress levels. Having those conversations at the gym overshadows any stress relief that may come from exercising. By not talking to anyone, I leave the gym with a clearer head, better prepared to handle any stress that I might face during the day.
(Also, distracting me with a funny story when I’m squatting 215 pounds is an accident waiting to happen. Safety first!)
Are you social at the gym? If you are, do you feel that it helps your workouts? Why? If you aren’t, why do you prefer not to be? Thoughts and comments are welcome.