Get More Bang for Your Buck at the Gym
One of the most significant ways people invest in their health is by going to the gym. Gyms allow people to exercise on their own schedules, and while a gym membership can be a worthwhile investment, the way one uses their membership and, more importantly, their gym itself dictates just how worthwhile that investment is. With that in mind, here are five tips for maximizing your gym membership in order to get the most bang for your buck:
1. Consider Location
Location is very important when consider a gym to attend. You are more likely to regularly attend a gym if it is nearby your home or work, thereby making a membership a more worthwhile investment. If your gym is too far for you to conveniently travel, a membership might not make a good investment since you may have trouble getting to it, be discouraged by the travel, etc. Bottom line: The closer a gym is to you, the more likely you are likely to take advantage of it.
2. Try Different Things
Before committing to a routine you’ve already pre-designed, explore the gym and examine all the different forms of equipment and potential exercises that are available. One major benefit a gym has is the equipment: Beyond treadmills and stationary bicycles, gyms have squat racks, machines designed to work out every muscle in your body, free weights, as well basketball courts, multipurpose rooms for aerobic or acrobatic exercise and sometimes even swimming pools. You owe it to yourself to see exactly what your membership has bought you — especially because you might find a new favorite exercise you wouldn’t have otherwise!
3. Develop a Plan
Once you have decided what your goals are (e.g. weight loss, overall fitness, training for something specific), create a plan that will take advantage of the space and your free time. Create a schedule that seems reasonable for you to adhere to, starting slow at the beginning, perhaps with less planned hours, than adding more time, more exercises and more variation in your activities. Developing a plan will ensure you keep to a schedule and attend your gym regularly, as well as guide you toward achieving your health goals.
4. Sign Up for Classes
One of the major benefits of a gym is that it offers instruction in specialized health activities. This can range from classes in martial arts, like karate, taekwondo and boxing, to overall well-being courses on yoga, meditation, and nutrition, and activities that have a degree of risk and excitement, such as rock climbing ad parkour. Classes are often free to members (or at least offered at a heavily discounted rate) and can lead to developing new passions, skill sets and fitness goals.
5. Use a Personal Trainer
One of the other significant benefits of a gym membership is access to personal training. Generally covered by membership fees or offered at a heavily discounted rate, the services that personal trainers offer cannot be matched. They work to motivate you to your goals, cater exercise and even nutrition plans with an eye to achieving those goals, and can be a valuable resource for information related to fitness. The personal care and consistent attention can do well to motivate someone who’s looking to lose weight as well as someone intent on running a marathon. Taking advantage of such a specially tailored service just makes sense and is another way to make the most of your gym membership.
This is a guest post from Erica Moss. Erica is the community manager for the online masters degree in nursing program at Georgetown University, which has one of the nation’s leading Family Nurse Practitioner programs.