If you haven’t seen me before, I’ll fill you in. I’m average height, but above average weight. It’s been that way pretty much my whole life and for the most part, I’ve been okay with it. But after a year of living alone in Myrtle Beach and eating more than enough fast food to last a lifetime, I wasn’t feeling like my best self. It was starting to take a toll on me both mentally and physically. It felt like my nightly routine was the following: do homework or go to work (sometimes both), eat gluttonous amounts of junk food, and go to sleep. Then wake up and do it all again the next day. A recipe for success.
Once I returned home from Myrtle Beach, malnourished and desperate for a meal other than Domino’s, and tried to right my wrongs. But old habits die very, very hard. I continued my ways and really pushed the limits of how much one body can take before developing serious health problems. I was eating far too much with far too little nutritional value and felt terrible pretty much all the time.
We haven’t even gotten into my fitness routine (or lack thereof). In high school, I played organized sports. Basketball was the one that kept me in shape, but I only played until the end of my junior year. After that, it was strictly golf. I never felt an obligation to go exercise and it was awesome. I let myself get out of shape and noticed that I was packing on a few pounds, but at the time I was totally fine with that.
During that time, my Planet Fitness membership key tag used to sit on my key ring. It would long for the day when I picked it up and went, “hey, I’m going to head to the gym”. This would happen once every few months or so and I’d give the key tag the false hope that this would turn into a routine. There was a routine, but not the kind it hoped for:
- Go to the gym
- Push myself as hard as I did when I was in good shape
- Exhaust myself to the point of almost passing out
- Wonder why I ever thought going to the gym was a good idea
- Not step foot in a Planet Fitness again for at least three months, then repeat
I was a perfect example of how Planet Fitness makes their money and I know there are so many others like me. It only costs $10 per month to be a member. The prices are kept very low in hopes that people will not cancel their membership even if they never work out. In my own experience, I know I kept the membership with the hope that I would somehow find the inspiration to go regularly. I can compare it to something I used to know well: A buffet. When you go to a buffet, the whole idea is that you pay one price to eat as much food as you want. The hope for the business is that you don’t eat a lot of their food. Therefore, they can keep their profits high. But more often than not, people at a buffet get their money’s worth and then some. In my case, I was eating away (literally and figuratively) at the profits of buffet restaurants and increasing the profits for Planet Fitness.
But after years of neglecting my physical and mental well-being, I was starting to feel the effects. The qualities I once liked about myself started to disappear and my confidence was dwindling. After a particularly rough patch of my life in March of last year, I decided it was time to start making some changes. No longer would I sit at home consuming excessive amounts of calories without ever burning them.
The first step was figuring out the best way to be consistent. This meant not only going to the gym consistently, but also being consistent with what I do once I get there. However, I didn’t feel any of this would be possible without some dietary changes. I forced myself to love vegetables and tried to eat more lean meats. For breakfast, I’ve tried to avoid breakfast meats and focus on getting the nutrition I need to start the day off right. Once I started eating better, I had more energy to get myself to the gym.
Now, it was time to actually do it. Enough talk, I had been doing that for years. It was time to stop thinking about it and just get there. My number one strategy was to ease into it, but also make sure I was getting there at least once a week. At first, I was going but wasn’t satisfied with how I spent my time there. I had no routine and didn’t have a goal besides lose weight. That’s a nice goal and all, but it was useless without a plan to make it happen. I went a couple weeks just bouncing machine to machine aimlessly, hoping to see immediate results. Feeling down and out and ready to call it quits, I stumbled upon a life-changing scene:
The Planet Fitness 30 Minute Circuit Workout. Once I figured out how to use the machines, the format is so simple to understand. The stations are numbered 1-20. The first station is a cardio-step station, which is immediately followed by a weight machine that works out my legs. As I go through the circuit stations, rotating between cardio and different weights, I get a full-body workout. I started with low weights and then gradually built up, all the while keeping a consistent weekly routine. I quickly moved up to twice a week, and now I’m at three. The 30 minute workout gives me an achievable end goal and allows me to pace myself however I see fit. I’ve finally found something I love doing at the gym that gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
Now I’m not here to preach to anyone about how you need to go get yourself a six-pack. I’m nowhere close to that and still have more rolls than abs. I still don’t have the healthiest of diets, but it’s getting better. I got on the scale the other day and I had only lost about six pounds. It’s not the eye-popping number you may see in a Weight Watchers commercial, but I don’t care. The endorphins are flowing and I’m feeling good.