Play the (Fitness) Field
It’s the first week of January, and that means gyms will be packed with the Resolution Revolution. While it’s great to start taking an interest in fitness, don’t just jump on the first gym deal you’re offered because it’s cheap or convenient. Finding a fitness routine is like dating, so it’s ok to play the field and see what’s out there before fully committing to a gym relationship. Use this January as a courting period to explore the different fitness options that best suit your needs. And don’t be fooled by a facility that looks really pretty or has the most up-to-date equipment- remember it’s what on the inside that counts.
Many fitness locations allow you to take your first class for free or offer intro specials. Now is a great time to check out Groupon or Living Social to see what deals are being offered. Just don’t become a serial Grouponer (I’ll be writing about this in a future post).
Since there is no Match.com yet that pairs people to their perfect workout, here’s a quick checklist to get you thinking about what works for you as you begin your search:
Do you need something to do in your home or are you able to workout outside of the home?
If going outside the home isn’t an option, then research in-home workout options. The internet, cable On Demand, and Netflix are just a few places you can go to check out home workouts. There are also great fitness apps available. And don’t think you need to purchase a lot of fancy equipment to workout at home- otherwise that treadmill can become a very expensive laundry rack if it doesn’t get used.
What time of day is best for your schedule to workout?
If the gym or studio does not have hours or class times that fit your schedule, it’s probably not the right match for you. And don’t forget to take into account travel time to/from the location and if you need time to get ready before or after. Just remember- there is a different between having time and making time- perhaps getting up a little earlier or skipping a Happy Hour will help get you on track.
What do you enjoy doing?
If lifting weights is not your thing, then perhaps the gym that only has weight machines isn’t your best option. Sometimes I’ll ask people what they like to do when no one’s watching. If you like to dance around your house, maybe a Zumba class is worth a shot.
What/who inspires you?
I’m not only talking about someone’s physical appearance as inspiration, but what looks like an activity that would be interesting to try? Some facilities will allow you to watch a class to see if it’s something that may be of interest to you. I remember going to my first yoga class and seeing half the people stand on their head- it was then I knew I wanted to keep coming back because I wanted to achieve that someday. Likewise, try to interact with the staff and take a look around at the people who attend this facility- if you don’t feel comfortable with the people around you, then it’s going to be harder to keep coming back.
Do you have any injuries or physical limitations that would prevent you from doing certain activities?
I personally have had my ACL repaired twice, so jogging causes too much pain and I try to avoid any activities that involves jumping over things or requires me to change direction quickly. Be kind to your body, but don’t rule out the unknown- just because you can’t touch your toes today doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try yoga.
What features are important to you?
If you need childcare, shower accommodations, or want group classes, then make sure you’re asking if these services are available. If the facility boasts a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room but you have no intention of using any of it, then perhaps your money could be put towards another facility that better meets your needs.
Do your interests change with the seasons?
Where I live, we have boardwalks, parks, and outdoor fitness set-ups that are great during the warm months, but not something you want to be doing while wearing a puffy coat. So if you need to migrate to an indoor facility during colder months, then check out those facilities that can meet your interests for inside workouts. There are facilities that offer indoor surf workout classes to indoor tracks- you just need to do your homework to find them.
Are you a commitment-phobe?
If the thought of signing a 1-year contract causes you to sweat more than the workout, then see if the facility offers monthly or class pack options. Or perhaps that contract is what you need to keep you motivated. Sometimes spending more on that workout package shows how committed you truly are towards it. And as my best friend says, the more she goes to her gym, the less it costs her each day she goes.
It’s always great to have a partner when trying out a new workout, but if your significant other would’t be caught anywhere near a barre workout class, then use this time to find an interest outside of the home. The opportunity to grow on your own can help make your bond stronger inside the home. Plus, it can make for great dinner conversation when sharing today’s story about The Grunter at the gym.
What new workout are you looking to try this year? Sound off in the comments below!