Jo from SimplyBeingMum had a great post the other day talking about gym memberships, and her current fitness journey without one. It got me thinking about how often we confuse the end result with the tools that get us there – especially when we’re making a purchase.
Gyms are a great example. If the equation for getting fit is:
Fitness = Correct Equipment + Correct Use + Sufficient Time
then the reality of what the gym is selling normally falls into the category of “correct equipment”. But gym equipment is boring. Unless somebody already has a lot of fitness knowledge, the difference between brands of treadmills is really pretty minor.
Since gym equipment is boring, and boring things don’t sell well, they sell something other than the equipment. What they advertise is a new body. They’ll parade picture after picture of “success stories” in front of you – people that joined their gym and lost weight, got in shape, and look great. If you just join their gym, you’ll look like those people!
The problem, of course, is that’s a complete crock. Nobody can sell you a new body (except maybe a plastic surgeon). In fact, it’s not even a realistic picture.
It’s a well-known fact that most of the people who join gyms stay overweight and unhealthy. Many of them just never go. Others exercise a few times a week, but don’t make the dietary changes that are usually required to lose weight and gain health. Even the majority of the success stories don’t “owe it all to the gym”, despite what the ads will have you believe.
This is because just having the tools isn’t enough.
I could drop somebody in a room with treadmills, weight benches, protein drinks, and an unlimited pile of salad greens, but if they decide they’re going to go get a pizza all the equipment & healthy food is worthless.
The result the successful people get is a result of eating right, working out frequently, working out properly, and otherwise making healthy changes in their lives.
Of course this isn’t just about gyms. Pots & pans, tools, books, organization systems, cosmetics, and thousands of other products all require effort on our part in order to be useful. The question when we’re buying them needs to be, “am I willing and able to put forth the effort needed to get the results I want?”
The answer can certainly be “no”. If it is, that’s okay. But if we press ahead and spend money on the “what” without giving serious consideration to the companion questions of “when”, “where”, and “how”, we’re just setting ourselves up for perhaps the worst possible question to be asking in hindsight – “why?”
As for Jo, she’s in fantastic shape – without a gym membership. Nearest I can tell the biggest investment she’s made in exercise is a good pair of sneakers, which is awesome! What about you? Do you have a “less is more” success story? I’d love it if you shared it in the comments!
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