It is here. A new year, that is, and area workout facilities are bracing for the influx of new resolutioners determined to get healthy and fit. Fortunately, there is nothing wrong with that. It is in the interest of this site to encourage people, regardless of age, sex, race, or otherwise to get off of those couches and take care of your bodies. Two of the main things people promise themselves they are going to do this time of year is take more responsibility for their financial security and take a pro-active approach to improving their health.
I can’t help you with your finances (You do not want me messing around with those), however, I can help you with your health and fitness commitments. Remember this, I am writing to you as a workout enthusiast and not as an advocate, or advertiser for any one gym. Although I am a member of a gym, all of them have their pros and cons, so it would be up to you to explore the one that is right for you. I will suggest a few a little later.
I referred to myself as a workout enthusiast, and I am, but I use that term to put us all on a level playing field with each other, so I can relate to you that my enthusiasm for working out is sometimes a roller-coaster ride. I enjoy working out, but I find it hard at times to just go do it. Got your attention?
I see this happen at this time every year, people beating a path to their nearest local workout facility and signing up for yearly commitments, only to lose the will to continue as early as March. Why is this? No doubt, self-motivation plays a huge part in this. We find it easier to make a commitment than to fulfill it. It is not all our fault. We see the commercials with the men and women with their fine, muscular physiques on a piece of workout equipment and we want that. It’s only human nature. The reality is, however, they did not build those bodies overnight. It takes work and a commitment to do the work. How many times have you uttered the words, “I have got to get into shape,” or “I have got to get back to the gym.” You are not alone. I have also been there myself. Honestly, I do not believe we are lazy. We at least made the commitment, right? Actually, I believe that we keep letting that thing called “life” get in the way of most of our commitments, no matter what they are.
I can tell you that I am 56 years old and I work 40 hours a week, sometimes more, and have a lifetime of other responsibilities. I can be at the end of the work day, planning what workout I am going to do and how long I intend to do it just for my plans to be dashed, because I have to stay late due to an emergency. There goes my workout plans, and I’m sure you might have similar situations, whether it is picking up the kids, late work day, or even traffic. Hey, I’m with you and all I can say is, that’s life. The good news is that I have some helpful tips for you to make getting to your workouts a little easier.
If you remember, I said I actually enjoy working out but sometimes the motivation to “go” work out just isn’t there. I’m hoping most of you agree with me, or you are better off than I am. I’m just kidding, but I have found ways to make getting to the gym less painful. I will share those with you now.
I think the biggest thing is to find a facility that you feel comfortable with that is close to your home or work. I can get to mine in about 2 minutes. To get off work come home, change, then drive fifteen minutes or across town is certain to doom your workout commitment practically before you get started. Which brings me to my second point…
I have found that the longer I break after work and before working out, the more time I have to get involved with something else or talk myself out of it altogether. It usually takes me roughly 45 minutes to get home after work, so I’m already tired, but if I sit on the edge of my bed or decide to catch the news real quick, I am pretty much sunk. I find it much easier to come in the front door, change into my workout garb and go, because once I am there, my focus turns to my workout and everything else takes a back seat.
This is very important for the beginner, or one who has been distanced from his/her workout for a long period of time. Start slow. Do not go in expecting to lose a ton of weight or get a Herculean body overnight. This would truly be a disaster. Remember, you did not get into the shape you are in right now overnight. It’s all about progressions. If you are lifting weights, start with a comfortable weight you can lift 7-10 times for three sets. If you can’t, lighten the weight. You can increase it at a later time and always use proper form. There is a right way and a wrong way to lift weights and if you lift it the wrong way, or too much weight, you can cause injury. Hurt yourself and see what that does to your motivation to return. Same thing with the treadmill, elliptical, or Arc trainer. There is no need to run a marathon with a resistance of 20 on your first day. Start slow and progress your way up. It takes some time, but you will see results if you continue on a progressive pace.
Lastly, try not to feel the need to run out and sign up for a long contract at the first facility you see. I urge you to do a little homework about gyms in your area. Check the internet, or ask your friends or co-workers. As I said before, there are pros and cons with all of them. Find the one you would like to visit long term. Some may look awesome, but be pricey; others may be dirt cheap, but might not have proper equipment or not enough. Places like Planet Fitness, Gold’s gym, and even the YMCA offer several different plans that I would consider budget-worthy. Planet Fitness, for example, offers $1 down and $10/mo. or $19.99/mo., but they have strict sign-up periods for these offers. Gold’s has a VIP free trial for a week, and the Y has several different options. Here are three, but there are plenty others, all with special deals. The important thing is that you are comfortable with your decision. That’s what keeps you coming back. If you are not a gym person, and prefer to workout at home, there are many You Tube and other workout videos on-line for free which some do not require equipment, or Academy and other sporting goods stores sell workout equipment for fair prices.
Happy New Year and happy workout!