Picking a gym can be as confusing as nutrition.
It’s the start that stops most people.
That can be true when you’re trying to pick a gym.
There are so many factors to consider: How much does it cost? What’s the location, the time of the workouts? How long are they? What kind of gym is it . . . strength, cardio, spin, yoga, barre, Pilates, CrossFit, HIIT, calisthenics, aerobics . . . and what seems like a billion of hybrids to boot!
All these factors can also help us make a lot of excuses.
They’re poor excuses. They’re poor because nothing worth doing is easy. Putting in the work to have optimum health is worth it.
At some point, however, you may even feel so overwhelmed that you never go to any gym. Your fitness goals get pushed back, and you miss out on the community of going to a gym, as well.
I want to encourage you.
In this post, I’ll give you a little bit of insight into different methods for fitness, but mainly I will focus on what steps you can takeright now that will help you find a routine that’s best for you!
First of all, I would encourage you to not feel like you need to pick only one gym. You don’t need to pick only one kind of exercise, and you can pick multiple gyms, too.
Our bodies are not able to do the same thing over and over without proper rest and proper variety. If we do not acknowledge this fact, we invite injury—and a step backward from our commitments.
So enjoy a variety of gyms.
Also, enjoy the various free classes a particular gym or studios offers. Try focused strength classes, cardio classes, body weight workouts, or moving slower in a Pilates or yoga class. Your body will respond better when you add variety as I just stated. You will move toward more strength, more endurance, and more flexibility. Variety will very likely help you sleep better as well because you’ll be working the whole body in different ways.
The right coaches can help you get the most out of your time at the gym. This is true even when you walk into a gym when you’re intimidated, tired, disinterested, etc. A great coach will meet you where you are and draw the best out of you.
Great coaches will engage you. In fact, they’ll geek out speaking to you on fitness! But they’ll also get to know who you are. They’ll invite you to gym events, etc., and they’ll “read” you so that you won’t feel like you’re being “sold.”
No one likes to feel like they’re getting greased over. Everyone likes feeling as if what they do is time and money well spent.
Beyond the actual workout and what it costs, the relationship you begin to build with a coach will bewhy you go to class—or why you don’t. That’s why it can make such a big difference when picking a gym.
Relationships are hard to quantify, but they’re highly valuable. A coach is one of the first touch points with a gym that will help you stay committed to your fitness goals because they make you feel valued. They show you that what you are doing is important!
Coaches can only do so much, however, and they’re likely not the only person you’re interacting with at a fitness studio! This brings me to the last piece of advice.
Do not go on the journey alone!
This is the most important piece on your journey towards your fitness/wellness goals, in my opinion.
I believe community is one of the most important pieces of our everyday life regardless of our fitness goals. Community matters in the city or area of the city in which you choose to live.
It matters at work. It matters in your free time. It matters in your everyday life as you become the person you should become.
So it certainly matters in your process of choosing a gym. If you take a friend with you, they will help you actually make it to the class because you’re as committed to them as you are to the class you signed up for.
When you both actually get to the gym, you'll soon realize that most of them have a wonderful group of consistent attenders. These people are what make the fitness industry so massive in my opinion.
Now, more than ever, people are going to the gym to spend time with their friends as much as they are to help their bodies.
I’ve coached the range in physical fitness and nutrition for a long time. I’ve also been an athlete on teams that had amazing coaches who drew the best out of us.
In a season of sport, you go through so much with the same people that it begins to bond you in a deep way! You’ve done the “blood, sweat, and tears” together over a long period of time—preparing in the preseason, marching through the regular season, and walking into the pressure of the postseason.
I say this because in some sense you go through a condensed season with the individuals you workout with. There will come a day in your workouts where you feel you simply cannot finish.
You’re gassed. You’ll look over and see your friend in the same place . . . and then the amazing happens: you get through it together.
Another step of beauty about community in a gym is that it doesn’t stop at the gym. You learn about each other, your busyness, your likes and dislikes, and the next thing you know you’re going out together and sharing much more life than a workout class.
Studies have even been done on this fascinating truth. Community is probably the main thing that any fitness industry/related field is trying to cultivate. There’s a reason this is true for the best gyms. For gym goers, “One study showed that 95% of individuals who started a weight loss program with friends completed the program.”
People don’t think twice about spending money on what they enjoy, and relationships are paramount.
Keep your body moving. Movement is life. Enjoy the variety of movements available to you, and don’t do it alone! We’re all in this together, if you choose to be.