‘Working out helps me work through things, to support my mental wellbeing’

Why I love . . . the gym

Stephen Moloney: ‘Training goes a long way in keeping my headspace clear – anything else is a bonus.’

Stephen Moloney: ‘Training goes a long way in keeping my headspace clear – anything else is a bonus.’

 

While it can be a solitary pursuit, a workout at the gym is social in its own kind of way. You become familiar with the people who keep to a similar schedule as your own, and there’s an unspoken camaraderie that can help you push through that final rep or set, or make an early start or late evening more bearable.

Focusing on a different muscle group per session, I train about five or six times a week in FlyeFit, Portobello, Dublin. It’s accessibly priced for the facilities on offer, and the staff is friendly. That’s important: gyms can be intimidating and exclusive. So-called “gym bros” can be a nuisance and would do well to remember that everybody was a beginner once. 

While it doesn’t always happen, I aim to be in the gym by 6.45am. I feel present when I train, and that goes a long way in grounding me for the day ahead. The focus on moving through a given exercise with the correct technique, and on how I inhale and exhale throughout, can make for something a bit meditative. I leave feeling mindful and aware, strong and capable.

It’s important to stay vigilant of your relationship with the gym. It’s easy to believe that you’re not doing enough, and much of that comes from comparing ourselves to others. Instagram doesn’t help in that regard. I struggled with this for a while, creating undue pressure and removing the enjoyment. Go easy on yourself.

After taking the time to consider why I go to the gym, I can now say I go for myself, not for someone else. I train primarily for how it makes me feel, not how I look. Training goes a long way in keeping my headspace clear – anything else is a bonus. Working out helps me work through things, it’s one tool I use to support my mental wellbeing.

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