I’ve been in the Health & Fitness Industry for about 30 years. I’ve seen many people who get started in January and February, come in every day, workout for two hours, and then, after Valentine’s Day, you never see them again. They try to do the same exercise program the people who are already in shape are doing and that’s the worst thing they can do. They start off running instead of walking. They want a double split bodybuilding routine instead of a basic routine. They pay an outrageous amount of money to a personal trainer who tries to overwhelm with how much they know about working out. “Let’s do some special exercises for the lower abs.” Who said you even have a lower ab! The rectus abdominis muscle connects below the rib cage and extends all the way down to the pelvic area. There isn’t an upper and lower ab.
If one of your new year’s resolutions is to get more exercise, you may be considering joining a health club. The benefits of regular moderate exercise are well proven, but choosing a quality health club requires caution.
Shop around. Ask friends, coworkers, and your physician for recommendations. Call several clubs to find ones that match your interests and budget. Check with the Better Business Bureau for reliability reports on clubs you are considering.
Visit the club at the time of day you will use it. Talk to members and staff and determine the following:
- Are the hours and location convenient?
- Does the club have facilities and services that suit your needs?
- Are the equipment, exercise areas, and locker rooms clean and well maintained?
- Is the facility already overcrowded? Does the club limit new memberships to prevent future over-crowding?
- What are the qualifications of the staff? Do they have appropriate education and training? Do they take an interest in and assist with individual goals and progress?
- Does the contract list all services and facilities? All oral promises should be written down.
- What is total cost and payment schedule, including enrollment fees and finance charges? Do some services cost extra? Is there a yearly maintenance fee?
- How long is a membership term? Short-Term membership is usually best in case you find yourself unmotivated or the club changes ownership or management.
- Does the club offer a try-out period, and will the trial fee be applied to any longer-term membership?
- Is the atmosphere friendly?
Finally make sure the Club or Fitness Center cares about helping their members get results from their exercise programs. If they are only interested in offering you a “one-time deal” or a take it or leave it low priced membership, there is probably a reason why? Remember, you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. Being good to yourself does not mean making a long-term commitment to a facility you are not comfortable with. You have to see the employees and members every time you go to work out. Make sure you are very comfortable exercising in their facility.
In my first couple of years helping people get started on fitness programs, I was misinformed about what works and how to get people committed to stick with it. If you learn and understand these twelve simple facts you will know more than most personal trainers.
- Machines and weights do not trim fat or build muscle, they tear down muscle
- You do not get bulky from weight training. The bulk comes from too much sugar…or carbs
- Shaping and toning your muscles come from nutrition and rest
- Cardiovascular exercise does NOT burn body fat it burns calories or muscle
- If you lose weight doing cardiovascular based workouts it will all come back plus 20% each time you quit
- Calories are in FOOD…Not stored on your body. That would be Body Fat. Refer to #4.
- Eating more often in smaller portions helps to regulate blood sugar so the body doesn’t store body fat
- Building muscle burns fat all day long
- A pound of muscle is smaller than a pound of fat
- Drink more water and lose more weight, drink less water and retain more water
- Men can only gain 10 pounds of lean muscle tissue in a year of weight training
- Women can only gain 5 pounds of lean muscle tissue in a year of weight training
If you can learn and understand these facts you are more than halfway towards obtaining the perfect body you have always dreamed of.
Stay healthy my friends…