Well-meaning people who want to become healthier consistently go to the gym. They might walk on a treadmill, or sit on weight benches, move the weights, and sit a few minutes more. They might sit on a stationary bike and read as they pedal mindlessly. They might meet their friends and socialize more than they work. Those people go to the gym.
Others workout. A gym is a place for effort. To become healthier, you must put forth an effort that is greater than what your body is already used to doing on a regular basis. If you can mindlessly pedal on the stationary bike while reading, then you aren’t doing anything to make your body adapt. You are not creating change.
If you don’t have a goal of getting healthier, then congratulations! Goal achieved! You aren’t getting worse, but you aren’t getting better.
Most people who “go to the gym” have a goal of getting healthier. Some want to get leaner, or stronger, or want to run farther or faster or both. Some want to avoid heart disease. In my experience, most active people want to improve SOMETHING. But many aren’t doing that. They’re maintaining their current state.
Creating change takes work, focus, and a plan. Beginners can get away with not having a plan. Since anything they do is more than what they did before, everything is an improvement. After a while, progress plateaus because the exerciser keeps doing what they have always done, even though their body has already adapted. The same thing applies to diets, by the way.
Discomfort leads to progress. Discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean pain, but it does mean you’re going to have to be diligent and conscious about your efforts. If you never feel uncomfortable in your “workouts” then you might only be “going to the gym.”