Hacking is a part of everything we do at Less Doing.
We hack our bodies, we hack technologies, and we have the world around us so we can live more optimized lives.
It is in that spirit that I give you 5 Ways to Hack a Gym.
- The Hail Mary Hotel
Sitting in the confines of a cramped airplane in a restrictive, uncomfortable seat can make the body look and feel a little funky—especially if your flight pushes beyond two hours.
Normally, addressing this “funk” isn’t an issue—just go to the hotel and rinse off when you land.
But what happens when you’re flying in and out of the same city in the same day?
Are you going to pay money on a hotel room just to freshen up for that big meeting?—No, of course not, but what about the gym?
Gyms like Crunch, Equinox, 24 Hour Fitness, and Planet Fitness offer single-day passes for anything in the range of $15 to $40. These places open early (5AMish), close late (9PMish), and are relatively easy to find in any downtown metropolitan area.
That means for less than the price of that taxi from the airport, you can stretch, shower, change, and walk into that big meeting or presentation looking refreshed and not like someone who just stumbled off a turbulent red-eye.
- Knock Out a Nap
Though I’m not the world’s foremost nap advocate, sometimes a few minutes of shuteye is exactly what you need.
Many day-pass friendly gyms in major metropolitan centers (San Francisco, LA, New York, Chicago, etc.) also have open-use yoga studios. Dark, quiet, and cool, these studios are the perfect place to sneak in a 10 or 15 minute micronap.
Is this the “appropriate” use of the studio?—no. But when you’re in a pinch, these clean and comfortable spaces will fit the bill 356 days a year.
- Quiet in Chaos
If you’re an entrepreneur or just a highly in-demand individual, there will be phone calls that can’t wait until tomorrow—in fact, they can’t even wait for you to get back to the office.
When those can’t miss, can’t postpone calls need to happen and you find yourself wandering the bustling streets of the city (especially if you’re on the road), looking for a quiet place to conduct your conversation can be incredibly frustrating.
Enter a gym
During regular 8-5 working hours, most gyms become as silent and serene as a Buddhist Temple.
No, it’s not as ideal as a co-working space or a completely empty Starbucks, but gyms are in great supply and almost guaranteed to be deserted during “normal” business hours.
- Destress and Decompress
Admittedly, this isn’t necessarily unconventional or a “hack”, but because of how many people turn to sweets and alcohol in times of anger, frustration, and stress I think it’s important to include.
When it comes to elevating your mood and cutting down cortisol, fitness is almost impossible to beat.
Plug your headphones in, put your favorite tunes on, and start cranking out the reps.
Remember, alcohol is a toxin and depressant (which means it’s going to make you look and feel worse), and sweets are a high-calorie, sugar-laden crutch to lean on (which means they’re going to make you look and feel worse too).
Turn the gym into your personal therapy session—it’s cheaper than an hour on the couch or an hour at the bar.
- Staying Social
Time and again I hear one of two things from my fellow entrepreneurs:
- I don’t have time to go to the gym
- I don’t have time to see my friends
Truthfully, I don’t buy either claim—if you’re living an optimized, efficient life, there’s absolutely going to be time for you to see both friends and free-weights.
But if schedule management isn’t your strength and you find yourself struggling to make time for friends and fitness, why not use the gym as your resource for both?
Assuming your friends are anything like you, they too enjoy staying in shape, so spend time with them at the gym and kill two birds with one stone.
Pick-up basketball, squash, group classes, a weightlifting, run club, yoga—the options are literally limitless.
You don’t even need to use a gym if you don’t want to, just go for a jog together before or after work, it’s that easy.
The point is, there’s no reason a gym can’t help you serve your social needs.
I’ve even seen people use the gym for a first date!—though I don’t recommend that :)
So there you have it, 5 unconventional ways to take advantage of a gym.
Have a comment or question? Think there’s something we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!