Friday, January 10, 2014

Is everyone wearing a teeny sports bra and tiny pants?

People who start with big hopes and dreams and vim and vigor for their exercise goals seem to always head out to the local gym for guidance.  So here are a few tips from a gal who has seen the insides of more gyms than I can count.  From the days of leg warmers to my awesome running tights of today... been there and done that.  (Questions that I didn't touch on here?  Ask away.  I'm always good for an experienced opinion anyway. I want to see you succeed in your daily steps toward a fit and balanced life.)  

The big named gyms can be good.  Or not. It all depends on your particular facility, staff, management, and trainers. And even in the simplest of facilities, where you might not think of going... like your local YMCA that hasn't seen a remodel in a while.... you can find the most awesome, most well trained and experienced staff available. So #1, visit.  Get the 2 week guest pass.  Visit the classes, check out the facility.  Is it clean?  Do they provide a towel service for your sweat?  (Because trust me, you WILL sweat and you will never remember to bring a towel from home.)  Are people nice and friendly?  Do they look like you?  Because if you don't feel at home, you wont go.  
Look at the people in the classes.  Are they younger than you?  Is everyone wearing a teeny sports bra and tiny pants?  Or are they moms that just dropped off their kids at school and headed for the morning class?  Once again, do they look like you?  In style and spirit, not in body or fitness level. 
And that awesome elliptical trainer you're thinking of buying for your home?  If you won't actually drag your butt out of the bed each morning and get on it for 30 minutes, don't buy it.  No matter how great a price it is at SAMS club.

I cut my fitness teeth working as one of the only females in a Golds Gym in a college town.  A gym full of gigantically pumped college guys and 2 bosses that were competitors in their own right.  And I loved it.  And I learned tons.  And it prepared me to work with many different groups.  But here's a good rule.... if you want to be a body builder, train with body builders.  If you want a general fitness plan that encourages health and wellness and long and strong lives - no matter the size of your biceps, don't join a lifting focused gym.  You won't go.  Look for like minded people to workout with and to lead you. 

And the business of gym contracts.  Yuck.  You'll definitely deal with that with some places.  And not at all with others.  I prefer to work for gyms with no contracts.  No sales.  We just offer good stuff.  And with that and that alone, people come.  And they keep coming.  So watch out.  You've been warned. 

And finally, do you need a gym at all?  Nope.  But I do better that way.  And I think most people do.  We like to be accepted.  We like to be expected.  We like to be in groups of similar people who encourage us on our walk in life.  And I find that if you can get up and walk your miles in your neighborhood each day and improve your personal fitness on your own, you are an amazing person.  Because there are very few out there like you.  Most of us need to know someone is waiting for us in spin class. Or yoga.  Or on that elliptical thing watching the Today show at the same time.  Accountability is huge in fitness.  Accountability to yourself and to your goals. 

So however that works out for you, let me know.  Start any day.  Start today.  Start tomorrow.  Just start.  And pick the time of day that you will actually go.  And whatever you do... don't go home between school drop off and the gym or work and your walk.  That darn computer is calling your name.  So are the chores and your to do list.  And the bag of chocolate chips in the fridge.  So just make it - something - or some place - a part of your day.  Several days a week.  Schedule it.  Make it important.  Make it a priority.  And let me know how it's going as you progress.  I crazy love those stories.  

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