The gym is a time, not a place.
Because any place with gravity and ground is a training facility.
And guess what? That’s everywhere on Earth.
Like it or not, the world is your gymnasium. And all your time is gym time. Now what?
Gym as Attitude
Your best bet is to think of the gym as an attitude. Imagine the gym as a switch you need to throw in your head that shifts you into exercise mode. And if you don’t throw this switch before you walk into a workout (no matter where you are), you are not experiencing true gym time.
Because it’s not just how much time you spend within four specific walls, it’s what you do with your time there.
Throw that switch in your head and enter a mode where you want to use your environment to condition your body and refine your capabilities. Any external object or environment can sharpen you if you throw yourself against it and work like mad.
Think About "The Office"
Let me ask you, is your total working time for the week limited to the time you spend in your office? Probably not. That's easy to understand in today's society where you and everyone you know probably deal with emails all the time, all over the place.
Just understand, analogously, that your gym time is not limited to the time you spend at a geo-specific location that gives you the privilege of being a ‘member’ in exchange for a price. If you can work wherever there is a laptop or smartphone, you can train wherever there is oxygen and gravity.
For gym time is time spent doing something, not simply time spent being somewhere.
Your skill sets and physical capabilities are the culmination of your time training and practicing. Nothing else.
Know that your total time training is the total time you are actively engaged in cultivating your athletic abilities. It's how many steps you take, how many reps you do, how long and how intense is your heart rate elevated. Your heart doesn't care what brand of fitness facility you use to make it work. Your legs don't know the difference between the fancy stair climber machine and the stairwell at your office.
Gym Time at the Gym
Obviously, you can go to a gymnasium to accumulate training time. The ancient Greeks would dig this, too. They had gyms. Theirs weren’t as fancy as yours, but the idea is the same. Today you can find gymnasiums in all shapes and sizes. They go from bare-bones to hyper-luxury. They are associated with all sorts of styles and training philosophies. Punching in and out of a gym is a great way to log training time. It's a way to compartmentalize training in your life. It's a great environment that can be optimally set up to maximize every minute spent conditioning yourself towards specific ends.
But training time extends to whenever you throw that switch in your head, not just when you swipe your card. Yes, throw that switch when you walk through your gym doors, but throw yourself into gym-time whenever you have time to yourself. Whenever you can suspend the social norms of inactivity and leisure and set yourself to work and sweat.
The Great Outdoors
For you can log gym time outdoors. Backyard or park, street or trail, it doesn’t matter. The world outside is a great gym. Always open, always available. Your local urban neighborhood or your nearby million-acre state park—both will afford plenty of opportunity to exercise. Just fucking walk into the nearest woods. As you walk forward you'll have to climb over all sorts of stuff. Maybe jump or crawl. Boom. Exercise gear.
You can also stay where you are and just use the floor. Living room, prison cell, high-rise office, whatever. If you really think about it, what is keeping you from doing burpees wherever you are right now? Probably just some social custom or norm. Probably some idea in your head is the only thing stopping you. The fact is, no one is stopping you but you. Now is training time if you decide it is. Now is gym time. Can you do 30 handstand push-ups right now? Well, if there's a wall nearby you can log some gym time working toward this goal.
7 out of 168 Hours
There's always something you can do.
Each week you need to set a goal of gym time in hours.
I think 7 hours is a great number.
Finding a total of 7 hours where you can actively exercise and practice your athletic skills is realistic. That's 7 hours out of the 168 making up a week.
However, finding 7 hours a week to be at a certain building can be complicated. Maybe if you do the math, you might spend more than 7 hours a week driving back and forth to a certain building, and doing the perfunctory changing and socializing and checking in while you are there.
Some days I only have 20 minutes free. Not 20 minutes to get to and from a gym. Just 20 minutes of time that can possibly be gym time. What do I do to get my gym time in?
I'll run out the door in jeans. I'll run in jeans for 10 minutes in one direction and run back home. My heart rate will be up, my legs will be accumulating steps.
Is it optimal? Nope. But it's better than doing nothing because I don't have time to get to the gym, change into my running shorts and shoes, tracking down a treadmill, and taking fast steps on it, before changing again, and get back from the gym to where I have to be.
Thinking about the gym time as being time doing gym activities rather than time spent in a gym doing gym activities in a specific room can change everything. A new world can open up. The world around you might open up. Try it out for yourself.