Choosing a Club
Although location is one important consideration in choosing a fitness center, service, monitoring, professionals, equipment (esp. diversity of equipment) crowding, cleanliness, facilities, and atmosphere are all variables important to your lasting enjoyment and ongoing results. 54%-60% (statistics vary annually) of everyone in America who join fitness centers drop out within the 1st year! Some national chains and women's only clubs approach 80% drop out! We all have limited discipline, if we don't continually see improvement, exercise quickly loses its appeal! With 656 muscle groups in the body and thousands of muscle fibers (cells) in each group we need to change exercises every 4-6 weeks to maximize muscle hardening, increase fat burning (basal metabolism) or we will PLATEAU! Plateaus lead to boredom and discontinuance.
VARIETY IS ESSENTIAL to maximize results
Look for a club with at least 8 different lines of equipment. Any slight change in angle will work new muscle fiber; raising basal metabolism, improving coordination, and increasing the hardness of the muscle group being worked. When we continually work the same muscle fiber by doing the same movements over and over, the body adapts and progress ceases. (An all too familiar syndrome).
We all need help.
Find a club with nationally certified personal trainers and exercise physiologists to change your program and carefully walk you through a new program every 4-6 weeks. Try to find a club with qualified trainers who will train you free for an hour every month. If you have to pay $30 to $50 per hour you may not use them, if they are free you will use them and you will get results, continue to progress, and stay excited about exercise!
Progress checks are essential for motivation.
Nurses should be on staff to regularly and systematically record your progress on computer printouts. Your awareness of your own progress is essential in goal setting and for sustained motivation. Heart, blood pressure, lungs, strength, % of body fat, basal metabolic rate, weight, measurements, and flexibility are variables that change month to month provided you are exercising properly.
The most efficient way to improve your heart and lung strength is with ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, climbers, recumbent steppers, and incline walkers. But some people find machines boring. Choose a club with televisions on each piece of equipment so you can watch whatever you wish. The newest invention is to actually have the internet with touch screens along with the television on your cardio machine! You can check your email, surf the web, play CD's, watch TV, or even observe the club's daycare on each cardio machine!
Look for classes galore!
The more the better. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Piloxing, swimming pool classes, Tai Chi, Step, dance, boxing, kickboxing, Bosu, toning, abs, Boot Camp, Spinning... to name a few!
What about the crowds?
If the club is crowded, if you have to wait for equipment, if there are time limits on the equipment, if you have to sign up for classes, your results will suffer. Most clubs over crowd and their guest policies are too liberal. The only thing worse than filling your club with too many members is filling it with too many non-members!
Swimming pools are important to some people. Daycare, especially televised daycare throughout the club is of value to parents of younger children. Free nutritional guidance, virtually all of us could use that! Cleanliness to most people is not an extra, it's essential! Most people like a club with strict rules that are enforced by the staff, i.e. No dropping of weights, weights must be returned, towels must be used on all equipment, and no loud noise of any kind while exercising!
When joining consider:
Most people prefer memberships that are renewed month to month instead of long term contracts! Having the opportunity to put your membership on hold (freezing) can be of value. Choosing a club with facilities that you can use while traveling or vacationing may fit your lifestyle. Read the membership agreement fully!!