In my short time of doing membership sales, one thing I've come to realize is that people will turn down a gym membership if they think they can do it at home. These people feel that all they need is a treadmill, set of dumbbells, and an exercise video, and they're good to go.
They're completely right--but they're also misguided.
Oh sure you'll find tons of articles through Google telling you why you don't need a gym membership or why you should cancel your membership. But take it from someone who realized ballet and exercise videos were no longer sufficient to meet her goals--I had to have a gym for equipment that I can't afford.
Exercise videos are great. I use them when I'm not working out in the gym (Fitness Blender comes to mind, and it's totally free on Youtube!). But I also know how to exercise. I know what proper technique looks and feels like. I know how to structure my workout program so that I'm choosing the correct exercise videos on a day where I need to get in a certain amount of cardio. I've been doing ballet for almost five years, which is where I've learned exercise technique from. I've painstakingly studied exercise technique and science in order to be certified to train people.
Most people simply do not know what they are supposed to do in order to achieve their goals. They think they can get by with merely running on a treadmill or poorly lifting weights or even lifting too light. They don't understand proper exercise structure, and while they could spend hours upon hours researching it, most probably won't. It's simply too time consuming for people who don't want to be competitive body builders.
This is where a gym comes in.
At a few dollars a month, you have access to a wide range of equipment that at first seems incredibly overwhelming, but hopefully your gym puts you through a proper orientation to teach you how to use said equipment. Hopefully your gym offers a fitness assessment with your membership. If not, you can also ask someone how to use the equipment or what that equipment can be used for. A trainer can teach you how to work out, what you need to do to meet your goals. Not only this, but being part of a gym is being part of a community. You can observe others working out. Others can help you work out, particularly attentive floor staff whose job it is to make sure that members are safely working out. It is also very easy to feel both inspired and intimidated by those with lean, ripped bodies. However, let them be a source of inspiration for you; they had to start somewhere. They certainly weren't born with those bodies. And you might not even want that type of body; however, the gym itself can be a source of inspiration to work hard.
There are also gyms with memberships that allow you unlimited access to group exercises classes. Instead of paying per class, you can sample a variety of group classes with your membership to find out which ones you'd enjoy doing weekly. Group exercise classes are fantastic for motivation. A great instructor will push you to do your best while also realizing your limitations. My gym offers a boot camp class with a fantastic instructor who really pushes the ladies hard but also understands their limitations and still cheers them on anyway. They're a tight-knit community. I can tell she has instilled an immense amount of confidence within them, especially when they strut around the gym like they own it after a boot camp workout.
Overall, get a gym membership for the community you can learn from. Get a gym membership that forces you to make use of the money you spent on it in order to reach your goals. Get a gym membership for the expensive equipment that allows you to add tons of variety to your workout, something that is difficult to do on your own. Get a gym membership, just to have an experience you cannot get working out on your own.
Most people spend their days being largely sedentary. According to PR Newswire,
"Americans are sitting an average of 13 hours a day and sleeping an average of 8 hours resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day." This leaves only three hours of actual activity that may range from walking, standing, housework, or even a short workout. Based on these numbers alone, it's clear that many people are not getting enough exercise in the day. But what can you do when your job requires that you be largely sedentary?
There are a variety of things you can do in order to get more activity in your day that can remedy issues that can develop from a constant sedentary lifestyle. Tight hip flexors, shortened hamstrings, and a weak core can all result from too much sitting. This is why it is important to get plenty of activity in your day so that you can prevent muscle imbalances that result from doing too much of one thing.
A lot of what I am about to recommend seems obvious, but if this were true, then Americans would be sitting much less than 13 hours a day. Doing these little things throughout the day can really add up and contribute to better fitness levels.
Use the activity pyramid and my resulting advice as a general guide to get you started.
Simply moving more throughout the day can help to contribute toward maintaining a negative balance as far as calorie expenditure goes in order to stave off weight problems and any other resultant metabolic issues.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, nutrition coach, young adult author, moody ballerina.
I help people perform without pain.
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The views expressed on this blog are entirely my own. Any advice I offer is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you have contraindications to exercise, please see your physician before implementing any sample workout plans I present on this blog.
All images are either my own, from Canva, or Creative Commons