33 Visits to plant fitness – 3 Lessons learned

Today was visit number 33 to Planet Fitness. My first check-in was December 21, 2023 at the Natick, MA location. That was 44 days ago. This post is about three lessons have learned since then about Planet Fitness and about myself.

Why did I join? In a word: my weight. I have a sit-down job and a rather lengthy commute, which translates into a lot of hours of inactivity every day. Well, it’s not that I’m totally inactive. I get a lot done. But most of it involves leading meetings (while sitting), reading and responding to emails (while sitting), and reviewing pharmacy operational, safety, and financial data (all…you guessed it…while sitting). The result of all this has been a slowly rising number on the scale

But to be honest another motivating factor was likely the reading of the book Outlive by Peter Attia, MD. Peter was a cancer surgeon, but became fascinated by the science of longevity. His research led him to open a medical practice for those who want to improve their “health-span” (not simply their lifespan). While I think some of his advice is a bit over the top, his basic message is one of striving to maintain a healthy body throughout your life will “generally” ensure a more comfortable and useful old age. It is hard to ignore the reality that many (though not all) of the challenges of aging are related to choices made earlier in life. Exercise is just one of those choices.

My primary excuse for not exercising has always been sheer mental exhaustion. Add to this the fact that I worked a long day, and often had numerous other responsibilities outside of work, including those related to family, church, and other hobbies that I simply enjoyed more than pumping iron.

But on December 21, 2023 I simply made the decision that none of these things were reason enough to not exercise. And so, on a cool winter Thursday evening I left the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and pulled into the Natick Planet Fitness location and signed up. Gym bag in hand I got the tour, and then got myself on the treadmill. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then I have been to the Planet Fitness in Marlborough, Worcester, Westborough, Milford, Shrewsbury, Tewksbury, and one on Cape Cod. I have walked, run, lifted weights, climbed steps, done crunches, and generally made my way around most of their equipment. Sometimes I can only stay for 30 minutes. Most times it is an hour. And every time I have left feeling just a tiny bit better than the time before.

So what have I learned after 33 visits to Planet Fitness?


The biggest lesson I have learned in these 33 visits is that simply making the decision to go, deciding that this IS now a part of my routine, was huge for me. My goal is 6 days per week (Sundays off). My mindset now is not “if” I will go, but simply when and for how long. I just mentally took “if” off the table. Unless something utterly unexpected and incompatible with a trip to Planet Fitness comes up, I will go. I go after work. Period. Even if I have a church meeting that night, I just arrange to get done with my work early enough to squeeze in a trip to the gym beforehand. Saturdays are a bit easier. Today I went immediately after our men’s Bible study.


The second thing I have learned is to think about long-term results, not the immediate results. You might be wondering about the weight loss. It has been modest at best, about 6-7 pounds. My goal in 2024 was to lose 5 pounds per month for 6 months, then maintain. I’m roughly on track for that. But frankly the investment has FELT like I should have lost much more than that, especially since I am eating much better too.

I have always had what I refer to as a very “resistant” metabolism. Most people, when they start a new diet or fitness plan, lose weight quickly at the start, and then it slows down. Not me. For some reason my body goes into super stubborn mode and I often don’t see any weight loss for weeks. I say that as an encouragement to others who have a similar problem. It is VERY hard to stay motivated with that type of metabolism.

But I’m finding my motivation by thinking about life in my 60s, 70s, or (if the Lord wills), even 80s or longer. 60 year old Jason will almost surely be glad that 53 year old Jason decided to exercise every day. Looked at from that perspective, the small, meager, weight loss I’m currently seeing isn’t so significant.


I wasn’t sure I would like it. But I do. Once you get there the very energy of other people (of ALL shapes and sizes) exercising just makes it really easy to join in. I have never had a time when any gym was too crowded. The locker rooms are pretty clean. And the fact that my membership allows me to use any Planet Fitness makes it really convenient for someone who travels around a lot with my job. The people who work there all seem very friendly. They greet you on arrival and always say goodbye when you leave.


So I plan to stick with it. I’m still a long way from my goal-weight. But the real goal for me isn’t a number on the scale any longer. I want to be as serviceable to others and to the Lord as I can be, for as many years as I am given in this life. If part of that means exercise, so be it.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top