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Gym Or On Your Own – That is the Question

Ever since I can remember, I’ve toyed with this question…..gym or on my own?  Am I a gym person – sometimes yes but mostly no.  For a number of reasons, I prefer to work out without going to the gym.  I can’t tell you how many dollars in wasted gym memberships I’ve paid through the years.  I’m not down on going to the gym it just isn’t for me for my regular exercise.  I can tell you all the reasons why but they don’t really matter.  What matters is the awareness of what type of exerciser I am.

The first question to answer for yourself is if you prefer to do it solo or make it social.  For me, I prefer solo exercising.  I enjoy taking walks and playing Wii Fit with my family or with a friend.  For the most part, my preference is to exercise alone.  It is my time to spend time with myself, think about problems and life situations I’m encountering, develop goals and plans of action.  What is your preference?

The next consideration is what you like to do.  Optimally, the activity you choose would feel like fun rather than a chore.  I must admit that I haven’t found something that is 100% fun but I’m working on it.  Right now, I enjoy taking walks….fitness walks, strolls to enjoy nature and being outside, hikes or whatever I feel like doing.  Walking, for me, is the one-size fits all activity.  I can do it with intensity, long durations, or whatever suits me for that day.  I received a Wii Fit for Christmas that I am enjoying.  My favorite are the Advanced and Free Step.  I’m trying to unlock the boxing game but haven’t yet.  What do you like to do?  What exercise could be considered as fun?

So, if you are like me and prefer to exercise without going to the gym, you can develop some tools for exercise that you’ll stick to and make it fun.

Now, if you prefer the gym workout experience, there are important issues for you to consider too.  You want to make it a long-term relationship between you and the gym versus make cameo appearances every now and then.

Not all gyms are equal.  Each gym has a feel and a personality to it.  A gym that is a good fit for you will fit your own personality and a place you’ll want to return to and exercise regularly.  Get the feel for a gym by taking advantage of a week or month free membership.  You take cars for test drives so do the same with the commitment of a gym membership just like you would a car purchase.  Go for your workouts at the time you would regularly go.  Even though it is a free trial membership, consider it the same as if you’d paid for it by going at the same time.  You can check the availability of your favorite equipment and gym facilities and how crowded it is.

Before you plunk down your hard earned dollars and sign on the dotted line, consider these items for your consideration.  Each of them are important and one negative can be the difference between the gym personnel knowing your name or asking for your identification as an unknown member.

1.  Location:  Is the gym conveniently located to your home or place of employment?  Location matters!  If you have to go out of your way to the gym, you may not go as often.  If it is convenient, the chances are much greater than you’ll workout regularly.

2.  Hours:  Make sure that the gym’s hours fit with your schedule.  If it is closed when you’re raring to workout, your time and money will be wasted.

3.  Staff and Gym Members:  What are the qualifications of the staff?  Are they talking among themselves or giving their attention to the members?  Are they oriented to giving members their time and energies or do they ignore members?  Do you want to work with a personal trainer?  If so, what are their rates?  Do you feel comfortable with the clientele of the gym?  Is the gym crowded to the point that you are uncomfortable?

4.  Comparison shop rates:  If you have multiple gyms that you are considering, shop their rates.  Obtain any discounts or initial membership set up fees.

5.  Gym equipment and features:  Is there enough of the equipment that you will be using?  Is there a time restriction on your favorite machines?  Are there waiting lines to use equipment?  Check the operation of the equipment.  If you see multiple pieces of equipment that are not operational, that should be a point of inquiry.

6.  Classes:  Do you enjoy taking classes?  If so, check the class schedule.  If you need an evening class but the classes you want are only offered during the day, think twice about membership.  Check the availability of space in the classes.  Are the classes geared for all levels of expertise from beginners to advanced?

7.  Cleanliness:  For gyms, clean counts!!  How is the gym maintained?  Are there adequate hand sanitizers throughout the gym?  Do they require members to wipe down the equipment after each use?  Make sure that towels are availiable for equipment and for your personal use.  Will you need a locker and showers?  Are locker rentals available?

If you are happy with your exercise program, rather on your own through the use of home equipment, walking or exercise dvds or at your gym, you’re much more likely to reach your fitness goals.  Your exercise program will be as much of your daily routine as brushing your teeth and taking a shower.

Here’s to your health!!

Believe In Yourself,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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