Distance + Time = Anytime

My home gym: Anytime Fitness, located in downtown Kenosha, Wis.

Once upon a time I had a gym membership. The end.  For years I religiously paid the monthly membership fee, but was lucky to make an appearance more than a couple times per month. What was the problem? Why couldn’t I get my lazy butt to the gym?

My job throws crazy, changing shifts at me every week. First shifts, second shifts, mid-day shifts; rarely do I not have all three in a given week. Committing to the same daily time just isn’t a possibility. Distance was an issue also. My old gym – the warehouse-style, all amenities included, fashion show extravaganza – was a very slow four miles away from my home. It also wasn’t anywhere near my daily commute, so I would have to make a very, very conscious decision to bypass my house on the way to the gym after a full day’s work. Six pack vs squat rack was the battle in my head. And as far as six packs are concerned, I’m not talking about the washboard variety.

A few years down the road I notice the guy looking back at me in the mirror is 50 pounds heavier and has flushed away enough dough to put a considerable down payment on a shiny, new midsize sedan.

Enter Anytime Fitness. In 2007, a new gym would open just blocks away from my work. The fitness gods had heard my prayers, or were just tired of me whining. Don’t get me wrong, I was skeptical at first. Anytime Fitness gyms are smaller and, in my experience, located in strip malls. I wasn’t sure this type of gym was for me.

Fast forward to today, almost 10 years later. It worked. I manage to attend the gym an average of 22 days per month. Not only do I go, but I work out. I work out hard (most days). I’m in shape – arguably the best shape of my life. I can run a 10k at the drop of a dime. I can walk up to a pull-up bar cold and crank out more than 30 reps. I can jump into a 12-mile mud run just hours after finishing a calorie-restricted, grueling, long-distance hike.

My advice for anyone looking to join a gym is to not focus on what motivates you to go to the gym, but what competes with the gym resulting in lack of attendance. For me, the challenges were proximity and hours of operation. Anytime Fitness solved those problems; getting my college body back – that was all me.

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