Saturday, January 01, 2011

Options to Consider when choosing a gym

New Year's is that one time of year when everyone gets ahead of themselves making New Years Resolutions and the most popular resolution that does fail often is:
Joining a gym and sticking to work out plan.
Make 2011 the year that you break that cycle and stick to your work out plan without quitting before the end of January.
This time of year, all gyms have awesome offers for new members but don't be persuaded by their offers. Take the time to really think things through; make the decision that's most realistic for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself before joining a gym. Remember, there are so many ways to get into shape without having to break your bank account.

1. WHY?
Why do want to join a gym? Are you advanced, intermediate or a beginner? Write down your answers in a workout journal and think them through carefully. How active have you been in your past? If you're a beginner, you may want to pay the most attention to all of your options as you shop for a gym.
Do you want to lose weight; gain muscle mass or live a healthier life style? This is a very important question to ask because as I mentioned above, there are many ways to get into shape without having to break your bank account.
All gyms have more or less to offer and here's a great tip: the less the membership fee is, the less the gym has to offer you; sometimes there are a few options, but that means extra fees and higher start up rates. Here are a few things gyms have to offer:
Lifting weights is a great exercise. It helps build muscle mass and bone strength. A lot of woman believe if they lift weights, they'll grow big muscles and look like men. The truth is, that is false! The muscle that grows depends on many things, genetics mostly but also depends on how heavy and how often you lift. It takes years for 'big' muscles to grow on half of us; so don't fear weight lifting; there are ways to maintain a decent size muscle. As a matter of fact, most of you only need to lift twice a week if you think about it. Most importantly, know your genetic make up. Lifting weights is good for you, helps burn fat and build strength, lift for those two reasons.
Treadmills, spin bikes and other elliptical equipment is available at all gyms. These are good for many reasons, losing fat and building endurance.
C. CARDIO CLASSES (spin, aerobics, yoga, pilates, dance, etc.).
Classes are awesome in that they help burn fat and give your entire body a full work out. You also have a chance to work out with friends; make new friends and to be honest, it's a great way to score free training from someone else.
Most gyms are franchises. Gyms such as the YMCA and Golds Gym can be found in many cities. Often times, there's a plan for you to visit their gyms a few times a month at no extra cost; but keep in mind, your monthly membership fee's could be more expensive.
The more your gym has to offer you, the more expensive your monthly fee's will be.
Gyms with pools are the most expensive (hands down). Ask yourself, how important is swimming in your life? How often do you get to go swimming outside in the summer months and where?

I've been working out for more than 10 years and I've been faced with many different scenario's. A popular question I hear often is, "is it better to join a gym near work or near home?"
In my experience, it's better to join a gym near your home. There are times when you'll forget your gym bag and if you work out near home, well, discipline yourself to the point where you can run in the house, change and leave for a work out. After awhile, that will be easy to do and you'll appreciate working out near home more; I find myself most motivated when I've had a chance to come home, unwind from crazy traffic and work and change in the privacy of my bedroom. It's also cleaner that way!
Do you want to work out in the morning or evening? Well, that's a good question. If you're fortunate, you can come home to shower after a morning workout then you have the rest of the day to do what you want to do; but some people don't mind showering in their gym - that's a personal question for you to consider. I don't like to change in a gym, let alone shower in one!
As for the pool question. I spent a lot of money joining a gym with a pool for two reasons. One was because I lived in the big city of Boston and in the summer I didn't have the chance to go swimming outside often. The second reason was because I moved to a deserted town in a tiny apartment and there was no pool around me except for the gym. It was a reasonable fee and I got a lot of work out options for me in both gyms in the city and in the deserted country side.
Right now, I have a pool in my apartment complex that's opened from April to October. Do I spend that extra money to have an inside pool at a gym for the entire year?

To be honest, when I made the decision to leave behind the gym to work out at home (a year ago), I lost at the gym motivation for starters especially because I was moving to a new state and my personal life wasn't settled. I was fortunate in that I had at home equipment; plus I have my own personal motivation.
At home work outs can be beneficial for a few reasons. For starters, you can work out anytime you want; you can do laundry in between sets; you can play any song you want at the volume you choose; you can work out during a football game, a NASCAR race or during your favorite TV show or movie; you have privacy and if you are motivated, you can concentrate better because you do find your zone.
Negatives about working out at home is that it's easy to skip a work out; you have less options and maybe less room to spread out; it's easy to train less vigorously and it can test your motivation. If you do laundry in between sets, you can be distracted; if you exercise during a sporting event you can start to focus on the sport (or movie) more and slow your work out down.
I learned a lot while working out at home. I did have a television station called, "Fit TV," there were a few work out shows that I loved such as NAMASTE YOGA and Belly Dancing.
I even got involved with a few training websites.