Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coach Laura: Gym Membership

Dear Coach Laura,

Do you think a gym membership is worth it? 



Dear Gym-Jim,

There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a gym. You ask a really good question that's the first one anyone should ask themselves - do you want to go to a gym?  

Here are some advantages to belonging to a gym:
1. Sense of structure. Sometimes just the simple act of driving to a gym forces you to set the time aside and make it regular habit. I know people who come to my classes who say that they're exhausted at the end of the day and would like nothing more than to just go home and put their feet up. But they attend class because it's paid for, it will give them the opportunity to be social,  and they know they'll regret it if they don't go.

Which brings up a second advantage:
2. Social/Community. Having an exercise buddy definitely helps. Go to a gym often enough and you will come across the same people who regularly exercise at the same time as you. You might not have the same specific exercise goals, but you are there for the same purpose. People are there to get exercise, and not to talk about work or relationship or school. This is really helpful in getting you to focus, and keep you from distracting your own mind with the mental clutter that builds up during the day. It's always nice to see a friendly face, and it can help you on days your motivation is not so hot.

3. Experts. The instructors, trainers and other assistants there really do know what they're talking about. They can coach you and provide motivation you may not find otherwise. 

4. Options. Going to a gym provides you with many different choices of activities. If you don't like one thing, there's always something else to try. These classes help provide variety in your workouts, and explore different ways to exercise and improve aspects of your fitness. Without investing in more workout videos at home, a class is an excellent opportunity to explore avenues to effective exercise. If you've never tried yoga or aerobic kickboxing, the gym is a great place to try under the guidance of an instructor. Keep trying until you find what you like and a teacher that you click with. 

Some things to consider:
  • Can you pay monthly? and do you have to sign a contract? Obviously, finances are a huge consideration in getting a gym membership. Don't over-extend yourself financially just for the sake of belonging to a gym. If you're going to go regularly and consistently, then yes! it's totally worth it. 
  • Most gyms will let you come to a few sample classes or workouts on a guest pass. If they don't, that could be a sign that it's not a very reputable facility. So check out lots of different places until you find the perfect fit for you.
  • Get a friend to attend with you! Some gyms have specials if you enroll with a friend or family member.
  • If you have children, is there a childcare facility there that can take care of your children for you while you're working out? A good workout should be time for YOU (no, that doesn't make you selfish) without having little Jimmy tug on your shirt.
So Gym-Jim, you tell ME. Is a gym membership worth it? If you're going to use it, then YES! 
If you're interested in reading more, I really liked this article that has some other things you may not have considered. 
Enjoy your workout!
Coach Laura

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