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If you are (a) On Instagram, (b) the kind of person who makes New Year Resolutions, or (c) trying to fit into a pair of jeans that used to fit so well till it shrank and made you feel fat, and useless, and old, and hopeless, and so on…then you’ve definitely thought about joining a gym once in your life.

But I’d hold on to that membership money, because here are several good reasons why you shouldn’t go anywhere near one. 

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Guidance

You probably think that once you’re in the gym, you’re taken care of by the trainers who will guide you and correct you whenever necessary. After all, that is what they’re paid for, right?

Wrong.

Becoming a trainer in India is too easy. Certification courses provide sometimes as little as 80 hours of training. That isn’t nearly enough to understand a body which took thousands of years of evolution to create.

As a result, trainers very often provide wrong or half-baked information they may have read off some blog, and don’t understand different body types. Take everything you hear from them with a pinch of salt, till you can verify it through practice or thorough research. One man’s food is another man’s poison.

Hygiene

A sweaty environment like a gym is any germ’s idea of heaven. When you’re in a gym, you’re constantly touching equipment that’s been handled by hundreds of others before you, and germs can spread like wildfire.

Human beings after all, are not meant to be sweating it out in small enclosed rooms with re-circulated air. We were meant to be in the great outdoors!

Wasting time

Going to the gym sometimes can be a great social activity, but more often than not you end up spending as much time working out as as you do speaking to other people there. And even if you’re not the social sort, you’ll often finding yourselves waiting 5-10 minutes each time before the machine you want is free or the trainer can look in your direction. Meanwhile, the bored uncle waiting behind you keeps droning on and on…

Which brings me to my final point.

Bad advice

Indians love dishing out advice; we appoint ourselves as therapists, counsellors and agony aunts at will. The gym is full of know-it-alls. There’s an actual term for this sort of information that’s just passed around verbally: bro-science.

And it’s not as cool as Walter White, though sometimes nearly as destructive when you’re gambling with your health.

So if you want to get in shape, why not do it smartly and in a more enjoyable way? Simply going for a walk or a run can go a long way; after all there’s nothing like fresh air to do wonders for your mental and physical health.

Or how about getting back to those dance classes that your parents forced you to go to till you had to “concentrate on your board exams”? Join an outdoor yoga group, or go swimming and cycling. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even join some MMA or karate classes.

Or best of all, do a different thing every day, depending on how you feel. The choices one has these days to keep themselves fit are endless. In most Indian metros, finding these options is often just a few clicks (or taps) away, and you might even learn a new skill of self defence move or dance while you’re at it.

So when it comes to your gym membership, maybe it’s time to literally throw in the towel, and go take a hike instead…

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