I have lost count of the number of people I’ve had this conversation with over the years. It tends to go something like this:
Them: “Why do you go to the gym? You don’t need to go to the gym.”
Me: “Ummm, what?”
Them: “Look at you, you don’t need to go to the gym.”
Me: “The reason I don’t need to go to the gym – is because I go to the gym.”
…And then I lose them.
Look, the reason I don’t need to go to the gym, is because I go to the gym. Is it really that hard to understand? I’m not overweight because I go to the gym. If I don’t exercise, I put on weight just like everyone else. There’s no magical potion that keeps me skinny. I don’t have some freaky insane metabolism that allows me to eat whatever I want and not exercise while staying skinny (and yes, I’m totally jealous if you do). I have to exercise, and I have to eat properly.
Going to the gym isn’t just for people to lose weight. It is very frustrating that so many people I know go to the gym to lose weight, then when they reach their goal, they stop going, thinking that’s the end of it. Then they wonder why they start putting the weight back on a couple of weeks later. The cycle eventually repeats itself.
All of those weighty issues aside, I go to the gym (or workout in general) because I want to stay fit. Fitness is not something I consider to be one of those “oh, I’m fit now, I can stop” things.
Fitness is for a lifetime.
I want to keep my cardio training up because this helps with my breathing, which is vital for conserving air while scuba diving. It’s obviously also important for when I decide I want to run a marathon or enter a triathlon. I want to keep my strength training up because this helps when I’m out in the field and having to carry rocks and stuff around. Weights training also helps keep me toned (I won’t pretend it’s entirely about fitness).
So, while I don’t need to go to the gym to lose weight, I do need to go so that I can stay fit. I do need to go so that I don’t put weight on. It’s delusional to think that once you reach your target weight that you can simply stop exercising and maintain that weight. Maybe you can reduce your training a bit, or eat a bit more to maintain where you’re at, but you have to keep exercising.
Ultimately, you want to know the main reason why I go to the gym? So I don’t go off my nut at people. Exercise is undeniably the best stress and anger management tool there is for me. It stops me from blowing up at people. I go and run it out. I go and beat it out of a punching/kicking bag. I feel infinitely better and less likely to blow up afterwards.