I love exercising, and I love fitness, but It’s been over a year since I’ve been to a gym.

I live in a small college town and the only gyms are owned by the college. Not being a student, this was a problem. I have been doing body weight exercises and yoga at home, and I haven’t been seeing the kind of results I want.

One of the schools started offering passes again to community members, and I snatched one up.

I have been loving it. It is so rewarding, and there are a few things I’ve learned since I started going back to the gym that I wanted to share with you.

1. The gym is me time.

When I walk into the gym, I sign in, I put on my headphones, and I ignore people for the next hour. I go by myself; I don’t have a gym buddy. I know a lot of people thrive working out with other people, but I enjoy the peace of exercising by myself. I enjoy doing what I need to do for me without feeling like I have to justify it to anybody else.

2. It’s the perfect time for continuing education.

I am a firm believer that you stop growing when you stop learning, so I set aside time in my business every day for continuing education. This usually means I’m listening to business and personal development podcasts when I’m cooking dinner or cleaning the house. That hour at the gym gives me the opportunity to get in some extra education whether I’m listening to audio books or podcasts. I like that I am challenging my brain and my body at the same time.

3. Your body will tell you when it’s had enough.

I have some delicate health issues, so I have had to be careful when I’m working out. I can’t go as hard as a lot of people can or for as long. I need to make sure I maintain balance in my body and keep my health in check.

When I’m at the gym I have to pay close attention to what my body is telling me and stop when it’s starting to feel like it could be too much. Your body will tell you when it’s had enough, but all too often people ignore this. This is how pulled muscles happen. When you try to go harder or do more reps and you don’t listen to what your body is telling you, you put yourself at risk for injury.

Stop and pause between sets. Slow down the treadmill a little bit, and check in with your body. How is it feeling? How are your muscles? Your joints? How’s your energy level? Paying close attention to when it’s time to call it a day can make it easier for you to build up the habit of exercising. When you call it a day when your body is ready, you are less likely to hurt yourself, and more likely to feel up to going back to the gym tomorrow.

What lessons have you learned from a regular gym practice? Let me know in the comments.