I thought for a hot second about including in this post’s title the notorious, 10-letter “r” word that saturates our social media accounts in January. I decided against it, because the concept of a “resolution” (gasp, I said it!) seems so abstract; we fantasize about keeping it, but a lack of commitment and motivation shatters our hopeful vision. Personally, I don’t think anyone should have to wait for the start of a new year to set a goal or make a lifestyle change; but if it’s a fitness-related one, this is the best time of year to do it. Why?
- Gym membership free trials and discounts
- You’re surrounded by other “bandwagoners” like you (hey, all in this together!)
- You’ll see visible progress by spring/early summer
- Bragging rights for actually keeping your resolution
Also, in case you forgot about the title— I’m doing this too!
What I want to share today are tips for joining and getting the most out of a new gym. I’m sure there are readers out there who are significantly more experienced (read:way less awkward) than I am, but for the readers who also freeze up at the sight of barbell meatheads, I live to tell you that it’s going to be fine! The first day (OK, week) at a new gym was equally as intimidating as the first week of high school, but I’m already laughing about it and pretty soon, you will too! Yes, you. You and me, me and you. We’re in this sweaty thing together.
STAGE ONE: DO YOUR RESEARCH
While it would be nice to be a celebrity with loads of money and a non-9 to 5 job, most of us have to examine what’s affordable and what fits best with our daily schedules. Do you prefer group fitness classes, a traditional gym or both? Be realistic about distance and commute time. In terms of membership packages, see if you can try before you buy (more on that in a bit). Don’t get sucked into trendy, overpriced places, yet don’t settle for a gym with scarce, crappy equipment. For perspective, I’m paying $35/month: I have access to all 24 Hour Fitness locations and all group fitness classes are free.
STAGE TWO: TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Crunch Fitness, and 24 Hour Fitness (plus tons of other franchises) offer free passes for a day or two (in my case, three), so you can get a feel for the equipment and space before committing to a full-blown membership. Even better, most gyms are happy to give a tour so you can see for yourself exactly what they have to offer. Fair warning— they may try to pressure you into signing up before you leave, but just tell them you need a day or two to think about it. If they’re aggressive, maybe ~gently~ threaten them with joining someplace else.
STAGE THREE: WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Congrats, you’re halfway there! Now to put your money where your
mouth is body should be….
STAGE FOUR: A+ FOR A.M.
I know waking up early is a pain, but you want to know an even bigger pain? Mustering up the willpower to hit the gym at night when you’re burnt out and cranky from work, tempted by happy hour, racing to get dinner together, and/or ready to plop down for a much-needed Netflix binge. Yikes, right? The morning is the only part of the day that you have the most control over, so aim for an a.m. workout. Bonus: you’ll still be burning calories while you sit in that 10 a.m. meeting (not to mention, you’ll be more energized and attentive)!
STAGE FIVE: DEEP BREATH. DIVE IN.
You came, you saw, all there’s left to do is CONQUER! If you really are terrified and have no place to start, do what I did: observe from a simple cardio machine, such as the treadmill or elliptical. Watch what other people are doing to snag some ideas. See a personal trainer with a client working on dumbbell moves? Jot down a how-to in your own words in your phone. From my treadmill, I noticed people grabbing floor mats and Bosu balls from inside the open group fitness room, which I didn’t even know were in there. Take a look around for real fitspo.
Now that I’ve taken up the gauntlet, it’s your turn to tell 2018 that once and for all, your bandwagon resolution is for real. You’ve strapped on your seatbelt for a wild ride, and that buckle is fastened for good. As for your belt buckle, pretty soon that will need tightening a notch or two.
~Remember to follow Fit by the Fork on Instagram~