So you’ve finally thought about bettering your health and maybe even joining a gym this year. Well done, but there are lots of things you need to evaluate first before making the final decision. You have to consider whether a gym membership is the right fit for you, or maybe there is an option that is better suited to your lifestyle.
There are so many things to take into consideration. You need to figure out what your goal is and why you want to join the gym. Once you’ve done that, you can start to break it down and figure out what will be the best option for you and your body. You’ll need to consider things such as equipment on offer, class timetables and even the distance it will take you to get to your place of exercise from work or home.
1. What Type Of Gym Will Suit You?
Now, once you have figured all of that out, you’ll need to decide on a gym that you want to join. There are all the big chain gyms which are often the most popular choice as they seem to have everything you would need to get in a workout. But this doesn’t mean that it will be the best workout option for you. These types of gyms are often centrally located and have well-priced memberships.
The memberships at these types of gyms will be dependent on your needs. If you know you’re only going to work out at one gym for the next two years, you’ll probably be able to get a cheaper membership. However, if you travel often and want to train at various gyms within the franchise, you’ll end up paying more, but once again – this is a membership that suits your lifestyle, so it’s probably worth paying a bit extra for it.
These big gyms can get very busy at peak times, and if you’re not one for waiting around or crowds, this would be a big no-no. There is also an option to get a membership for off-peak times which allows you access only at certain times of the day. This option is generally the most affordable one, so if you’re on a budget – this could be the solution for you. But, it obviously comes with its own set of cons.
With not being able to gym at peak times, you’ll be limited, but you’ll be in the gym at much quieter times. It would mean that you would have easier access to equipment and not need to stand in line for the treadmill or swimming lane. What other benefits are there to joining a big commercial gym like this?
They often have extra amenities that give you more bang for your buck. These could include a childcare center. It is amazing for moms and dads who want to stay active but can’t always get to the gym because there is no one to look after the kids. The gyms will have people to watch your kids and play with them while you get your sweat on!
These gyms also will have things like saunas, relaxation areas, large pools, and even extra services like clothes steaming and shoe shining. These options could really make going to the gym appealing and may be the motivating factor in getting your bones moving. It all comes down to what is important to you and what your motivations are behind your reason for wanting to take the plunge and join the gym.
What are your other options when it comes to gyms? There are so many different types of workout centers opening up, which provides a lot more opportunities to suit you and also your budget. You’ve most likely driven past a CrossFit gym and thought that it looks intense and like a proper workout.
This type of specialist gym will undoubtedly be more expensive than your commercial gym, but you’ll feel a greater sense of community since it is smaller. You’ll get to know people who train in the same group as you, and you won’t just feel like a number that is written on the back of your membership card.
Another pro for CrossFit gyms is that the people inside who are training you are going to whip you into shape. If you are a person who needs a push when it comes to working out, this could be a great option. You’ll also be training in a group which makes you want to work as hard as the people around you. It may also bring out a little bit of healthy competition.
If you tell them you’re tired, they’ll ask you to step it up. They’ll also encourage you when you feel like giving up. People also make sure to create entertaining energy with the music and the trainers yelling as they’re working with their groups. If you’re someone who thrives in an environment packed with power – this will be a fun way for you to workout.
There are also cons to CrossFit. There is a lack of personalization in the training programs for people who decide to make CrossFit their workout. Because it is based around a group setting, it doesn’t cater to the individual needs. There isn’t such a thing as a one size fits all program. In CrossFit, if there are beginners and advanced people in the group, they’ll be given the same workout.
This move can be a big mistake and can often lead to injury. However, a lot of CrossFit places are offering classes based on your experience level. There still will be different levels of beginners in a beginner group, in any case. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and in a group setting, this can’t really be taken into consideration too much.
7. If CrossFit Isn’t The Thing For You, Don’t Worry
How does CrossFit work in terms of programming? They will follow the postings online from CrossFit.com and will use this on all their clients. Without personalization, you can’t hone in one weakness and correct them. So, you need to be very careful about monitoring yourself and not pushing your body to a point where it could get seriously injured.
If commercial gyms and CrossFit still aren’t sounding right, what about Pure Barre? It is one of the hottest fitness trends for women. It is inspired by a ballet fitness regime that uses a handrail just like in ballet training. You’ll also often find some influences and moves from Pilates in these classes too. What does Pure Barre do for your body?
If your goal is to burn fat and tone muscles, this is a great option. Not only that, but it will also help you improve your balance and your posture as these are vital components of any ballet dancer’s repertoire. Barre is once again set in a class environment, which means you’ll have motivation from the people around you and also feel a sense of community.
But, if you’re someone who is a bit nervous about doing something outside of your comfort zone in front of others, this could be a con of Pure Barre for you and your lifestyle. Pure Barre started in 2001 and became a franchise back in 2009. It is now one of the most popular workouts around the world, with various interpretations of the original being opened up in different counties.
Let’s take the pros of Barre. First off, it is a full-body workout! For someone who is a bit short on time, getting a full-body exercise is a great time saver. It also leads to amazing results. Their motto is actually “Life, Tone, Burn.” And that is precisely what it does. It focuses on isometric movements.
This type of workout will help you produce slender and lean muscles rather than the bulky look that you may get with other exercises like CrossFit. They also start you off with a warm-up, which reduces your risk of getting injured. You’ll then move onto upper body strengthening, and adding small weights is an option if you want to push yourself a bit more.
You’ll then continue to work on your hips, thighs, and glutes. It also has incredible abdominal work that will get your abs burning. So, is this technique an effective one? It definitely is, but you will need to make sure that you are attending classes on a regular basis to truly see the effects it can have on your body and your training.
It can’t all be good, so there is a very obvious con to Barre. The classes are very expensive. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of different class packages that may suit your budget better. There are options for pay-per-class, pay-per-month, or what seems to be the most efficient is the annual pass. But, not everyone has that type of money just lying around.
If this type of workout is one that you really think will suit you, it could be worth saving up for that annual pass membership as it does provide a pretty decent discount and you’ll end up saving more money in the long run than if you pay per class or per month. Not only that, but you’ll most likely be enticed to buy some of their branded gym gear.
But wait, there are more pros to be learned about. This type of workout is low-impact, which means there is zero pressure on your joints. Basically, all classes are centered around your own body weight. If you’re someone who has shoulder, knee, or back issues, this option of a gym membership is ideal.
It’s also entirely safe for pregnant women after you check with your doctor, of course, but this is a real pro for those who are expecting and want to stay active during their pregnancy. The instructors of the classes are also very attentive to individual needs. They will be able to correct you if you’re doing something wrong that could lead to injury.
It is a systematized workout that you know will work, but if you’re someone who loves variety in their exercise regime – you might end up feeling bored halfway through your year-long Barre membership. Your body also might reach a plateau since you’ll be doing the same movements week after week.
The next gym membership option on the list is Hot Yoga. It has become prevalent lately and definitely a winner in the winter months. This yoga is also known as Bikram yoga. You’ll be doing your workout in a studio that is heated up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level of 40%. It is commonly a 90-minute class that will guide you through various yoga positions.
The point of the heat is so that your heart rate is increased and also helps to tire out the muscles you are working on. Not only does it help with burning some calories, but it has some other health benefits too. So, if you’re looking for a membership that does more than just one of your body, Bikram could be the membership for you.
It helps to detox your body due to the heavy sweating that you will experience during those 90-minute classes. The sweat helps to release toxins from your skin. It’s a cardiovascular workout, which also detoxes your body and helps settle your mind and breathing, which can be very beneficial to your mental health too.
There are, unfortunately, always some cons to things like this. These classes are also on the pricey side. The per-class rate can add up very quickly, and it is a workout that, ideally, you would want to do twice a week. Many yoga studios may have options for monthly memberships that will work out cheaper but first try out one class and see if it is something you enjoy and something you’d like to be a member of.
Also, this workout is not for everyone. Because of the heat and the intensity of hot yoga, it puts a lot of stress on the body that not everyone can handle. This workout is not suitable for those who have heart disease, dehydration, or heat-related illnesses. It is also not ideal for pregnant women.
Beyond the different workout and membership options, what else can you expect when becoming a member? There are quite a few things that no one really talks about before you buy yourself a membership or sign away your life on the contract you put pen to paper to in the gym.
When you first join up for your gym of choice, you generally aim to be there a couple of times a week to start getting some decent results. But, the truth of the matter is, that once you get there and you start seeing more and more results, you might get drawn into the training culture as you become more invested in yourself and body.
A healthy lifestyle will start to take over your lifestyle and not just your life in the gym. We’re not saying this is a terrible thing, but you need to be prepared for a complete lifestyle overhaul and not just a couple of days in the gym. This idea doesn’t happen to everyone, but it’s a topic that no one discusses, and no one prepares you for.
If you’re not a people person, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the “big guys.” These are the guys in the gym who really think they know their stuff and they want to make you very aware of that. Be prepared for the moment when you’re doing your own thing on the gym floor when the “big guy” comes over to offer his advice.
Sometimes they can be a wealth of knowledge and can be quite helpful for someone who is just beginning their journey in the gym. But sometimes, it isn’t. The polite thing to do is to listen to him, nod and sound impressed by what he is telling you. But here’s the most important thing – you don’t have to take his advice on board, and you need to do what you are comfortable with.
Gyms can be very intimidating places for beginners and even more advanced trainers. First off, they’re packed with people who care about what they look like, so there will be a lot of amazing bodies and people doing things that you don’t think you ever could. So, you need to check your ego at the door.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s impressive that you’re even taking the chance to go into the gym and try to figure it all out. Forget about the other people in the gym, stop comparing yourself to them because they were once where you are now. Plus, they’re all too busy looking at themselves to worry about what you look like.
You need to work out your budget that you want to allocate to your workout regime. How much are you really willing to spend on a membership that you may or may not use? If you’re not convinced about a gym membership yet, other options are free! The first one is simple…
Get outside! When the weather is excellent, it’s a perfect time to try being active outdoors. There are endless activities you can do for free outside. This includes walking, hiking, going for a bike ride, running or even trying out a free outdoor gym that is in your local park. You aren’t committing to a gym membership, but you’ll be working towards your goals.
A health and wellness reporter, Gretchen Reynolds, actually says that outside workouts can challenge your body more than it would in the gym. It will help your body to tone up a lot faster if this is one of your reasons for exercising or looking into purchasing an expensive gym membership.
She explains that this happens because “You stride differently when running outdoors. People flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain.” This activity is a free and very effective workout.
If you want to do at home workouts because gym memberships don’t suit you, your budget, or your lifestyle, there are so many great apps you can download that will guide you through a workout. You can do these workouts at home or even at available outdoor space. It will give you more flexibility, and these are a lot cheaper than gym memberships.
The apps also offer different payment plans. For example, the SWEAT app allows you to pay per month, per quarter, bi-annually, or even for a full year. Depending on which option you choose, you get a higher discount. Most of the apps offer a seven day trial period, which will allow you to see if you even enjoy the exercises.
The apps will allow you to pick between different workout programs and goal dependent. The SWEAT app offers you the choice of five various training programs from trainers all around the world. It also shows you short videos of how to do the exercises required so that you basically have a personal trainer in your pocket.
Even if you do decide to go for a gym membership but don’t want to fork out for a personal trainer, downloading one of these apps could be a great balance. You’ll be paying the gym membership, but you won’t need to budget even more for an expensive personal trainer.
If you’re still unsure about whether a gym membership is for you, you could also try out a membership trial. Check with the gym that you’re interested in and see if this is something they offer. Most gyms will provide potential clients a trial pass from 3-7 days. This is a great chance to test out the gym and see if you enjoy the environment.
Be careful of these trials, though, and make sure you read all the fine print associated with it. You don’t want to end up with a permanent contract at the end that you didn’t realize you had signed up for when joining the trial. If at the end of the trial, you know it’s not for you, go and try out another gym and their trial period.
Many places offer discounts to new members so that you can see if you like the workout, and then after that, you have the option to purchase a proper package deal. Even if you don’t end up loving the exercise that you’ve got the deal for, you’ve at least had a few cheaper exercises that didn’t break the bank or tie you into a contract.
Some gyms may even offer a guest pass policy. Ask your friends and see if they are members at a gym and see if you can tag along to their next workout. First of all, it’s a free workout, and you’ll get to test out the gym and see if this is something you would like to sign up to and see if it’s worth your while.
Another significant factor when considering where you want to set up your gym membership or even if it’s worthwhile is the location! This is where you could set yourself up for success or failure. It’s just logic that if your gym is far away, you’ll use it a lot less as it will take more time and effort out of your day to get to the gym.
Things to consider when choosing a gym are whether or not it is in a location on the way to your work or to your home. If you drive past or travel past it at some point during your day, you are a lot more likely to make the most out of it just because it’s convenient. Set yourself up for success and choose something nearby.
Before you sign your gym contract, you should also see if on your trial pass, if you can go to the gym at various times of the day. You don’t want to discover after you’ve paid all this money that the times when you want to go are the busiest and you aren’t able to even do the workout that you’d wanted to when you walked into the gym.
Also make sure you check for things like the equipment being in good working condition, enough equipment in case you go during peak time, the atmosphere of the gym, the cleanliness of the showers and maybe even have a chat to some other gym members to see what they like about the gym.
It may even be a good idea to go online and research some reviews about the gym or workout center that you are considering. Let’s just say that you’ve decided to bite the bullet and sign up for a gym membership… You’ve clearly decided there are more pros than cons to this, and that is great. But, now comes the hard part – staying motivated.
Everyone is always very eager when they first join up at the gym. People go frequently, do good workouts, and try to incorporate it into their lifestyle. But then slowly but surely, the visits start to decline, and life gets in the way. Suddenly the gym is on the back burner, and your contract starts to go to waste. What now?
You’ll hear your alarm clock ring at 5:00 am, and then suddenly, you’re not feeling any motivation to go for your morning sweat session. You start to negotiate with yourself and then end up convincing yourself that you don’t need to go to the gym today and that you’ll go again tomorrow. But then it happens the next day again!
One way to combat this is to find a workout buddy. Some people obviously prefer working out on their own, but if you lack the motivation to go, find a friend to do it with you. Make a point to hold each other accountable, and when you say you’re going to go, you go, and you don’t let the other person off the hook. Make a workout schedule that you both stick to for the long haul. This situation is when a group setting like CrossFit could really benefit someone and their motivation.
Diana Mitrea, a personal trainer and co-founder of Stronger With Time, says, “Having other people around me with those same goals is always exciting. We’re all talking about the right things and pushing each other, and we celebrate their victories as well as mine.”
If no one wants to go to the gym with you, ask a supportive partner, family member, or even a friend to hold you accountable. Their support will be a significant motivating factor in your fitness journey. Another good idea is to sign up for something that you can work towards, such as entering a marathon.
Once you make a choice to enter this, tell your friends and family about it. Because they know about it, you can’t just miss it because they will be excited to cheer you on at the finish line, and you won’t want to let them down. Everyone will have their own things that give them motivation, and this might be the one for you.
Another tip to remain motivated is to dress for a workout, even if you aren’t feeling it that day. Research has shown that brains are susceptible to “enclothed cognition.” What does this mean? It means that dressing the part can help give you the motivation you need to get what you need to do. So, put on your work out clothes and get going!