Finding the Right Fitness and Gym Solution for You
First and foremost, when beginning to exercise or starting a new exercise routine, please consult your medical provider to make sure that what you have in mind is both suitable and appropriate.
Where to start? First run through the following list of questions as a self-assessment:
- Do you enjoy going to the gym?
- Do you prefer cardio to weights?
- Do you like a class or group setting?
- Do you like one-on-one instruction?
- Do you like to change it up from day to day?
- Do you like to exercise inside or outside, or both?
For those who like a gym setting:
You should first research which gyms are closest to your home or work or both. You will need to call them and find out what membership specials they have available and what their hours are. You will need to visit each gym. Many times, we go for the cheapest option when hours and location seem to be a big part of sticking with it. Finally, pay particular attention to the actual physical location of the gym: If the gym is not adequately convenient in your daily routine, it can be difficult to meet your exercise goals.
If you prefer cardio:
If you like to cardio, you will need to stop by your gym options and make sure they have the cardio machines and equipment you’re familiar with or that you would like to use. You can also see what classes they offer if you wish to be in a class setting. You should check to see if the classes are part of your monthly membership, as some gyms include them others do not. Again, make sure cardio equipment and class times meet your schedule, as it can be difficult to meet your exercise goals if they are not.
If you prefer weights:
You should check to see that the gyms of your choice have the kind of equipment you like to use or that you are comfortable using. You should also consider what kind of weights you like to use. Have you done Olympic style weight lifting? If so, make sure they have squat racks, an area for cleaning, and bench press. What about bands and free weights? Some gyms also have classes that incorporate weights with cardio. Again, make sure your membership includes this if you like the idea of classes. Conversely, if you prefer weights, you may be able to use a small part of your home or apartment and set up a small, functional area that will allow you meet your exercise goals.
Make sure your membership includes this if you like the idea of classes.
Now that you know what kind of workouts or settings you prefer, ask yourself: Are you competitive and self-motivated? Can you push yourself to reach your own goals? Or do you think you might need someone to help keep you focused, motivated, and accountable?
If you are self-motivated, you probably do not need a personal trainer to make up your workouts and to ensure you’re doing those workouts consistently. On the other hand, you might need someone to help guide you and push you along the way. This could be a friend or someone who works out at the gym of choice.
you might need someone to help guide you and push you along the way.
If you know you will need someone to hold you accountable when you don’t show up and push you every step of the way, you will indeed need a personal trainer—at least for a time. There are a few kinds of trainers or coaches to keep in mind. Some gyms have them there for your service while other gyms do not. This is almost always an added expense to your gym membership. If you already know you need a little motivation, though, it will be worth the extra money to make sure you are there and actually working hard and making progress. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time and money on a membership you never use.
There are coaches that can make fitness plans for you. You may even want a nutritional plan. Make sure to research each trainer and coach’s credentials to make sure they are qualified to give you such advice. You can always ask your doctor for fitness and nutritional advice as well. Doctors can almost always give you advice on trends and fads that you should steer clear of.
There is another gym option to consider—a crossfit-like gym. If you are competitive person but love to be pushed harder, this is a great place for you, especially if you have prior experience lifting weights. Experience is not necessarily needed, but is a great help when learning lifts and mobility. If you are unsure if a gym like this is right for you, ask your doctor if you are physically able to participate.
Those who prefer a mixture but do not really like weights:
For those of you who like the gym experience but do not like the crowds, try some yoga, palates, acryo yoga, zumba, or dance class. You can even take up a sport like bowling, golf, tennis, or even racquetball.
If you really enjoy the outdoors, maybe you should look for meet-up groups and training groups around town for other options. Most groups tend to train year-round. There are even fitness boot camps that will be posted as meet-ups or on bulletin boards around the gym.
If your goal is to exercise and to become more fit, find your exercise niche. Realize that your exercise routine can and should change over time depending on health, fitness, and age. Always remember to consult your health care provider to make sure your exercise goals are suitable and recommended for you.