Like most people I’ve grown to be a bit pudgy as I have gotten older. When I look at old photos of myself I almost always wish my body would look the same way it did – my arms were toned, my abs were flat, and my thighs…don’t get me started on my thighs.
These old photos held such a strong power over me that I’ve decided to stop making excuses and drag my lazy ass to the gym.
Investing on a Gym Membership
Before you take out your cash or swipe that credit card, be smart about where your money goes. No matter the cost – whether it’s cheap or expensive – a gym membership should be worth every penny you intend on spending.
There are 6 factors you should be considering at this point:
The Perfect Gym For You
What IS the perfect gym for you? We know that we head to the gym to keep ourselves fit and healthy. Other than this obvious reason, ask yourself questions like:
- Do I have a budget?
- Do I want to focus on weight training?
- Is there a particular class that I’m especially interested in trying out?
- Do I want a gym that’s near my office or my home?
- Can I find a gym that’s open 24/7?
And the list may go on. I’m sure you catch my drift. There are many other questions you can ask yourself that only you can answer. I cannot stress enough how important proximity is when you choose a gym. Choose one that you normally pass by on a daily basis. This will not only motivate you to go, but it’s also super convenient. Do you really want to go to a gym that’s out of the way? I didn’t think so.
Going to the gym will undoubtedly cost you a bit of cash. Be realistic about the amount you’re willing to shell out. Rec Xpress offers $11/week gym membership fees. We’re open everyday for 24 hours so when you feel like doing those deadlifts at 2 in the morning, go to your nearest Rec Xpress.
Hold That Signature – Check Things Out First
Let’s just say that you’ve narrowed down your choices and you’re ready to sign up. Before you officially become a member at a gym, check things out first.
Many gyms offer a free trial period to help you decide whether it’s the gym for you or not. Rec Xpress offers a two-week trial period at all of their 5 locations. If you know anyone who has been going to Rec Xpress, ask if you can tag along. The only way you know if a gym is “the one” for you is if you’ve tried things out first. When you do get the chance to try it out at any gym, watch out for things like:
● Gym equipment – you know a gym is worth going to if their equipment is complete and well-maintained. It doesn’t have to be brand new – after all, these things are pricey – but if the equipment has obvious signs that it’s been well taken care off, then this is a good indication of not only how the gym maintains its equipment but also of the people who go to that gym.
● The crowd – you might also want to be mindful of the crowd that frequent the gym. Do you mind working out alongside bodybuilders who tirelessly spend their day pumping iron or would you rather be around “common” folk such as yourself?
● Ventilation – a well-ventilated gym is a MUST. I don’t know anyone who can stand the stench of body odour while working out.
● Personal trainers – many gyms offer personal trainers as part of their services. These are people who are skilled and knowledgeable about setting up the right fitness routine for your body, assist you as you weight train, and the like. Feel free to ask about their previous work experience and see whether a trainer may be a fit for you or not.
● Changing and shower rooms – this is one of the very few places at the gym where you can enjoy a bit of privacy. Have a look and see if their shower rooms have individual cubicles or if it’s just one common shower area.
Save Cash on Membership
Some gym membership fees may burn a hole in your pocket. Watch out for any special offers a gym might have to help you save money.
You may opt to join a gym together with a friend. Some gyms give discounts if you enroll with a friend, even better if you can form a group. Group rates come out much cheaper than paying for a membership fee individually.
During off-peak seasons, some gyms might give discounted rates for new members. Avoid the New Year and the months leading to summer vacation. This is most likely when people sign up.
Haggling is an art. If the gym you’ve chosen isn’t a commercial one (where rates are non-negotiable), try to score a discount if you really intend to stay for a long time. They may offer a lower rate if you pay for 12 months upfront.
At $11/week, Rec Xpress promises to give you one of the lowest rates in the market. You pay every fortnight with the convenient use of your debit or credit card.
The Lowdown on Gym Training
The more you train, the better you become. No matter what the skill for as long as you continue to do it, you find yourself increasingly better at it over time. The same goes for when you begin working out at the gym.
You might have a well-thought-of fitness plan in your head but once you begin to execute it, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t feel right. You also might have been doing the same routine but you can’t seem to be getting the results you were hoping for.
Have a go with a personal trainer. They have the knowledge and experience to help you get things going at the gym. You might have to pay extra fees for this so be prepared for such expenses. Still, the goal here is to be fit and healthy and a personal trainer will help you achieve just that.
For a more in-depth guide, check out How To Train In a Commercial Gym: A Beginner’s Guide
Overcoming Gym Anxiety
It’s totally normal to be feeling anxious as you begin to go to the gym, but by all means don’t let it stop you from going.
Body issues -remember that you are going to the gym to be healthy and fit, not to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Men’s Health (though admittedly it wouldn’t hurt to have a body THAT fit.) Don’t put such pressure on yourself to look a certain way. Setting unrealistic fitness goals for yourself will backfire and only discourage you from going to the gym. Another harmful habit you should avoid at all costs is comparing yourself to other gym goers. Now is the time to be selfish and your focus should solely be on yourself.
Forms – sure, it’s easy to mind your own business (as you should. Check out proper gym etiquette here) but if anxiety over the right exercise form is making you too conscious, ask for help. This is where personal trainers come in handy. They can easily correct your form and help you master it. Remember that doing the right form makes the exercise more effective. It also prevents you from possibly hurting yourself.
The Gym Ain’t For Me
Repeat after me: you don’t HAVE to go to the gym to be fit and healthy.
Nowadays a lot of people are finding it hard to squeeze in gym time in their daily lives. With so many responsibilities and obligations to manage, it’s no wonder that going to the gym is not a priority for some.
If you’ve tried out the gym and later on realized that it wasn’t for you, don’t beat yourself up. You did not fail in any way and besides, there are other fitness options to look into that doesn’ require a gym membership:
● Workout at home – there are many fitness videos on the internet that you can follow in the comfort of your own home. With so many varieties – yoga, aerobics, pilates, spot training – your choices are practically endless.
● Head outdoors – your local park would most likely have a runner’s path. Some cities offer free aerobic classes to the public. Take advantage of these.
● Local studio – weights might not be your thing. Check out a yoga or pilates studio as an alternative.
● Wall climbing – this activity is not only fun but also a great workout. There might a wall climbing facility nearby that you can look into.
Loving Your Body
Learning to love my body is a journey I am personally invested in. A gym membership gives me the opportunity to be physically fit. Their many gym equipment allows me to focus on particular problem areas (hello, thighs) while I try my best to be healthy. Most of all, however, is that through the process of losing all that weight and toning those muscles, I’ve learned to love my body and the many changes it’s gone through. Pudginess and all.