How Will You Succeed This Year?
At this point it’s pretty clear – exercise is important. You should and need to exercise. But what if you’re not sure how or where? Pay attention because what I’m about to tell you will greatly improve your chances of succeeding in your quest to become healthier this year.
Joining a Gym
Lets start with gyms and health clubs. I’m talking about the larger, big-box chains, many of which have low cost membership fees. According to the study, “Paying Not to Go to the Gym” by economists Stefano Dellavigna, 67% of gym members don’t go to the gym, and even more fail to go regularly. Large fitness facilities know this, of course. In fact, it’s part of their business model. In order to maintain profitability, gyms actually target customers who are least likely to show up. Are you one of those people? Answer these questions honestly:
• Have you been taught to exercise on your own with good form?
• Do you have a weekly routine planned or do you expect to just “wing it” and hope for the best?
• Do you know how to work a treadmill or elliptical machine?
• Are you self motivated and disciplined? Will you get up an hour earlier or forgo happy hour to hit the gym?
• Can you commit to this for the next 6 months?
The local gym may seem like the cheapest option but if you can’t answer, “yes” to these questions then you might as well forget it. The price of failure and/or inaction is very high. Of course, if you’re self-motivated, have decent exercise knowledge and like working out then $20 a month is a bargain. There’s also the opportunity to hire a personal trainer who can help you. This will greatly increase your chances of success. I’ll talk more about that later.
Boutique fitness & Group Classes
Boutique fitness studios are popping up everywhere. These facilities specialize in a certain type of activity or class– think Soul Cycle, Barry’s Bootcamp and Crossfit. Each offers a signature theme that’s unique to that studio. Generally, boutique fitness studios offer classes that you can sign up for in advanced. Almost all have no membership fees. You simply pay as you go.
You can try Spinning, kettlebells or TRX. If these are too intense, give Yoga or Pilates a go. With so many options there is bound to be one that’s right for you. Group classes aren’t for everyone though. They attract a certain type of personality. If this describes you then I’d say you’re a perfect candidate for group fitness:
• You’re an extrovert, a friendly person who enjoys talking to and being with others.
• Exercising in a room full of strangers does not bother you.
• You don’t mind being pushed to exercise harder than you typically would on your own.
Classes run upwards of $30 each and can easily add up to over $200 a month. On the other hand, you can spend that much in one weekend going out with friends. Speaking of friends, you’ll make plenty. A Boutique fitness studio may actually be the perfect bargain as you’ll supercharge your fitness and boost your social life at the same time. If none of this sounds appealing, there are other exercise options.
Hiring A Personal Trainer
Unfortunately, many people are forced to get into an exercise routine because the doctor just hit them with, “you’re 45, overweight, and have high cholesterol” – the three primary risk factors for heart disease. The problem is that most folks have no idea where to start.
If you are a person who has a hard time getting motivated to work out – you find it boring, difficult, confusing, even painful then you are a prime candidate for personal training. A trainer will personalize your workout to help you identify and reach goals. They’ll provide accountability and motivation. A trainer will also teach you proper exercise technique, which will help you down the road should you choose to try the other options I already mentioned.
Expect to pay a minimum of $90 for a 60-miute session at a private personal training studio. These studios typically have the most experienced trainers. Your workouts will be custom tailored and this means faster results. If cost is a concern, 30-minute sessions or partner training are less expensive than a typical 60-minute workout. Small Group Training sessions are usually taught by personal trainers and are much smaller than traditional group exercise classes. They are a great way to get a relatively personalized workout for a fraction of the cost.
Hiring a personal trainer at one of the larger gyms is generally less expensive then at a private studio. Of course, you’ll have to join first but many gyms offer a few complimentary training sessions when you sign up. You can usually negotiate a discounted training package with your membership too. If you decide to go this route, ask about the trainers. Make sure to check credentials first. You want someone experienced who will teach you proper form and technique. Hopefully after a few training sessions, you’ll feel confident enough to take full advantage of the gym membership.
As I stated earlier, the price of failure and/or inaction is high. Studies have shown that 88% of people who work with a personal trainer reach their fitness goals. Investing in one makes it well worth the cost.
The Great Outdoors
If you’re determined to get into shape and make exercise a part of your longevity plan, why not take it outside? This is especially good for those who enjoy being alone.
The list of things you can do outside is a bit shorter than what you can accomplish at a typical fitness facility, but still prove immensely beneficial. You can try speed walking, running, jogging, swimming, surfing, bicycling or rock climbing. Many people prefer the outdoors, as the constantly changing backdrop fights boredom and offers more challenge. Don’t like to run? Go for a hike. Not near a mountain? Play a game of basketball with friends. Harness your inner Rocky and find a set of stairs to climb-there are so many options, you’re bound to find something you enjoy.
Most outdoor exercise activities are free, so not working out because you don’t have the money is not a viable excuse. Another interesting benefit is the psychological effects. Studies on subjects who regularly exercise outdoors showed an increase in vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue-all good stuff.
As with any activity involving the great outdoors, you’re limited by the seasons and extremities. Few are willing to run in single-digit degree weather. Limited daylight during the winter months also prevents people from exercising outdoors. Still, with the right gear you can make it work. Ask yourself, “How much do I want it?”
Ultimately it’s about finding what interests you. Another key element to finding exercise success is having a game plan-knowing what you want to accomplish and how to get there. There are many resources available to help you. Working with a trainer or taking beginner classes is a good place to start. Let us know if we can help.