Find a gym and stick with the fitness program

Find a gym and stick with the fitness program

Many fitness centers now offer amenities such as child care and a greater variety of fitness classes to make working out more appealing and convenient. But the growing array of options can make choosing a gym difficult and intimidating for some.

Here's what to look for when choosing your gym.

• Shop around. Check Angie's List reviews and ask friends and coworkers about the gyms they use. The key is finding one where you feel comfortable and that's convenient for you.

• No crowding. Make sure the gym isn't too crowded when you need it. Tour the gym at the time of day you plan to work out. Is it a peak time? Will you have to wait to use cardio machines and equipment you’ll need or get into to fitness class you want?

• Get personal. Does it offer complimentary personal training sessions for new members? This is the case for many gyms and it’s a perk you shouldn’t let go unused. It’s a good way to get acquainted with the gym and get advice on your personal routine.

• Look around. Does the gym have what you’re looking for? Take a look at the weight machines, cardio machines, aerobics room and the schedule for group fitness classes. The more a gym has to offer, the more likely you’ll be happy as your routine changes and grows to include more variety.

• In good shape. Is the facility clean and in good shape? Look around to see if the equipment looks worn and used. And don’t forget to take a close look at the locker room facilities.

• Staff certified. Ask about staffing levels and their qualifications. How many trainers are on staff, and how many are on duty at any given time? Are they certified, professionally trained, etc.?

• A family affair. Many gyms offer childcare, as well as fitness activities that are good for your children. They also offer family membership packages if you have older children.

• Hours of operation. The goal is to find a gym that fits your schedule so working out is easier for you, and you’ll have few excuses for skipping.

• Cost conscious. Confirm the costs and what they include. Most gyms require a one-time signup/joining fee, and then charge a monthly membership fee. Find out what is included in these fees. Are there extra fees for group fitness classes? Does it cover parking?

• Security. Are lockers available with secure locking devices? Do they offer lockers you can rent for a monthly fee?

• Try it before you buy it. Take advantage of free day pass or trial memberships to find out if the gym offers what you’re looking for and is a place you’ll feel comfortable.

Once you've found a gym you like, set up a program and follow these tips to stay motivated.

• Bring a friend. Not only is there an instant comfort level because you’re not going it alone, but you can also help keep each other motivated to stick to your routine.

• Make health a priority. Think of working out like brushing your teeth — it's a must every day. Even if you can only get in one workout each week, do it. One workout is better than nothing.

• Don't over do it. Don't make stringent goals early on — just get moving. Start slow and do a little at a time. You don't have to spend a long period of time working out each day. Take advantage of 15-minute windows.

• Just do it. Don't judge a success or failure on one week – just get the workout in. Set short-term goals that are achievable.

• Be selfish about working out. Putting yourself first and taking time to exercise will help you be a better spouse, parent and employee.

• Be regular. Schedule your workout for the same time every day so it becomes a regular habit.

• Work out in the morning. Most people have better success if they're early morning exercisers because there are fewer things to interrupt you or keep you from going to the gym.

• Be committed. Join a group fitness class so you’ll feel more obligated to attend.


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