I joined a gym where the fitness instructors are complementary. Wooo, no extra fees! When I joined, I filled out a form with my height, weight, what my goals were, if I had any injuries, etc.. Then I made an appointment with one of the instructors and she made a personalised workout schedule. Once every three or four months (depending on when we remember to ask) we make a new appointment and go over the schedule, and make changes.
My schedule right now is as follows:
- 20 minutes cardio on the stationary bike (I use the cardio setting. This requires you to enter your age, and it calculates the ideal heart rate for you. You start peddling at a set speed and need to keep that speed the entire time. As soon as your heart rate reaches the ideal heart rate, the machine starts adjusting the intensity to keep your heart rate level while you need to keep your pace level. It's pretty intensive, if you do it right!)
- Strength training, several types of lifts and pulls, targeting the arms and legs, followed by several exercises that target the abs.
- 15 minutes of cardio (elliptical machine, rowing machine, stationary bike).
I do this 3 times a week, trying to do it as fast as possible without pushing myself. I think, and my trainer told me this as well, that it's more effective to keep going, than to do some exercises, lounge around for a while in front of the tv, and then go on to do the next, as I see some people *uchemybrotheruche* do at the gym. Now, naturally, I do stop for drinks of water. Always remember to drink your water, kids!
If you are on the fence about wanting to join a gym, or are already looking into joining, I have some advice about what really helped me.
- See if there's a gym near you that offers the help of fitness trainers. At my gym, there's always at least one trainer available for questions or help. I love the fact that I can just walk up to them and ask them about my schedule, or ask them about certain exercises, and they're always willing to explain or demonstrate.
- See if they offer a personal trainer-session. From what I understand, many gyms actually have this service but they don't offer it unless you ask. It never hurts to ask! If they don't offer this for free, it may be worth the money to pay for one. I know that it really helps me, to know that my workout is tailored to my wishes and body.
- Look into different memberships. My gym offers several types of memberships, including one that only gives you access to the gym between 10am and 4 pm. If that works for you, go for it! It might save you some money. Otherwise, if you're like me and want the freedom to go whenever you feel like it, get a general membership. I pay 50 Euro a month for my membership, which gives me unlimited access. I go three times a week, meaning it's a little more than 4 Euro per session. That's perfectly doable!
- ask around! Do you know people that go to that gym? Ask how they like it, or if it's busy at the time of day you want to go to the gym, if it's expensive or not, what the changing rooms are like... Get informed before you make a decision. If you're not enjoying yourself at the gym, you're not going to give it your all.
- Don't be afraid of actually going to the gym! This one might be more personal, though. I was so nervous about getting a membership last year (because of my bad relationship with my weight and body) that I was terrified the first time I went. And I ended up loving it there! I go in the mornings, and there's always the same people there, young and old, but it's never too busy. The atmosphere is great, very relaxed and enjoyable. People make small talk, say good morning, we chat and laugh, I have fun with strangers... Something I never would have imagined I would do. So don't be afraid to open up a bit! It may be a very emotional experience, to start going to the gym, especially if your situation is similar to mine, but that first step is the hardest and it will only get better and more enjoyable afterwards.