What I Have Learnt From Going To The Gym

Having recently rejoined the gym it reminded me that private gyms aren’t like any public swimming pools or changing rooms I have ever experienced. I don’t think the people are particularly different, but the set up seems to encourage some unusual behaviour. I have been watching how things work at the gym and it’s taught me a few things, plus I’ve had to challenge some of my beliefs about the world based on what I have witnessed. 

A large studio room with wooden floor and exercise class equipment such as free weights around the outside

Women Live Longer Because They Exercise

Ok, elderly men may exercise, but I’m not sure where. They aren’t often seen in the gym it’s self, they are less likely to be seen in the pool (although when they are it is in the jacuzzi or lying on a sun lounger) and the aqua fit class, a great low impact class perfectly suited to older people, has been exclusively women every time I have seen it.

All Men Swim Faster Than Women

I have seen men below retirement age exercise, but I never see them in the slow lane of the swimming pool. Are they really faster at swimming or is it their ego that stops them going in the slow lane? I enjoy my slow amble up and down the pool without the pressure to perform and I feel sorry that men don’t seem to have the same luxury. Maybe that’s why there are often less men than women swimming? 

2 people swimming in a pool

Women Like To Walk Around Naked

If you have ever been to a private gym you will know that the changing rooms are pretty much open plan and it’s expected that people will get changed in the open. For some reason it feels like men designed these rooms and love the idea that women stand around naked and chatting while oiling their bodies up after the shower. The reality isn’t that different but it’s generally wrinkly ladies and overweight women so possibly not what they pictured.

Our changing rooms have recently been renovated and while they have added in a few changing booths they have made the rest even more open plan. Before there were at least a few different zones, but now there is no where to hide. The thing that surprises me is that of the 8 times I have been so far I haven’t had a problem getting a booth, so it appears I am in the minority with not wanting to expose myself.

But Men Are More Likely To Want To Hide Their Bodies

One day at the gym they had swapped the male and female dressing rooms over for the day so they could do some essential work in the ladies. I’m not sure what they were fixing or why men could be witnesses, maybe it was just that the workmen were male? It obviously gave us ladies a good chance to check out the men’s changing room. It’s a different shape but the main difference was they have more changing booths.

I’ll admit I’m surprised and would have guessed they would be less body conscious. Which brings me to another thing...

Towels Are Tiny 

You get free towels to use during your visit and I say towels because they are so small you really do need at least 2. I’m a large size 14 (which let’s face it is probably a size 16) and to keep myself covered I have to wrap from the side because it barely overlaps and at least this way the split is only revealing my hips. Bending over isn’t advisable so I always try and remember to choose one of the higher level lockers.

Every Body Size And Shape Can Be Found At The Gym

My first job as a teenager was in a David Lloyd gym and I realised then that they aren’t full of skinny, beautiful people. Yes there are a lot of them (and rich ones too) but the majority of gym goers are somewhere between a normal body size and fat. I think it’s great because you can internally cheer on the larger members because they are trying to do something to improve their health, and you can reassure yourself that the toned, beautiful people are that way because they put the effort in.

So if you are joining a gym this January be prepared that you might be showing a little more flesh than you anticipated, but there is no reason to feel self conscious. Exercise can only be a good thing and everyone is in the same boat. You might want to bring your own towel though.

***Disclosure: this post isn't entirely sensible***


  1. I could definitely use joining a gym and hit does help a little to know that all shapes and sizes are there. I have to admit that communal changing rooms do put me off a bit though x

  2. Haha love this, it's spot on! I've never understood the changing room thing either, I always run for the cubicles, our gym has only a couple but they are always free!

  3. This so true!!! Made me giggle :) I’m hoping to start the gym soon - fingers crossed lol :)


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