Workout at gym

The year is quickly coming to an end, and we are moving into a new decade. January is the perfect time for a fresh start while putting the stresses of the previous year behind us. Most of us feel compelled to establish New Year’s resolutions, with fitness and wellness goals being added to the top of the list.

Along with setting resolutions, it’s common to join a gym. But within a month, the motivation to exercise often fades and we find ourselves back where we started. It’s a vicious cycle I’ve witnessed every year while working in the fitness industry for the past 10 years.

So how do we stop this continuous letdown?

Gyms tend to offer reduced pricing on memberships and enrollment fees at the start of the year. I encourage you to take advantage of those deals, but don’t let that be the only factor in selecting a fitness facility.

Before signing up for a membership, evaluate if it’s a place you will go regularly. Athletic clubs, gyms, wellness centers, country clubs, recreation centers and fitness studios all provide something a little different for everyone.

Taking advantage of everything your new fitness home has to offer is just one of the many ways you can achieve those resolutions. Here are a few key factors to consider to ensure your investment doesn’t go to waste:

Location, location, location: Pick a fitness facility that is between your home and work. This seems like common sense, but it’s a mistake I’ve seen some members encounter . Selecting a place that is out of the way will eventually give you an instant excuse to quit going. Convenience is key, especially as you begin to incorporate a healthy habit into your busy lifestyle.

Group fitness and personal training options: It can be intimidating to walk into a gym for the first time. The amount of equipment can be overwhelming and cause confusion on how to begin. Evaluate the group fitness class schedule. Is there a variety of classes offered? Do they align with the your fitness goals ? Group fitness classes take the guesswork out of your workout while also helping you establish a regular exercise routine.

If you hate the thought of working out in a group setting, personal training may be your go-to option. Personal training is typically perceived as being expensive and solely for those with disposable incomes. But remember, this is an investment in becoming a better you. Scheduling training sessions will keep you accountable as you become more familiar with how to use weights and cardio equipment properly and effectively. Make sure to sit down with a personal trainer for a free consultation before purchasing sessions to ensure this fitness professional can clearly articulate a plan of action to guide you in meeting your goals.

The extras: Does the fitness facility offer special events or themed fitness parties? How about an area where you can get a massage? Do you see yourself using the pool area or basketball court? Some facilities don’t offer any of these amenities, which is fine. But keep in mind, some of these extras can keep you motivated and offer the opportunity to build long-lasting friendships within the community as you attend your fitness facility more frequently.

Something for the kids: Going to the gym should be a family affair. Taking your children or grandchildren with you is a great way to establish a healthy routine early in your kids’ lives. It gets them active while they learn crucial social skills. Scope out what activities and services are available for children of all ages. Your workout time is precious, so make sure you feel comfortable leaving your kids with the child care staff as you focus on you. If your kids get excited about going to the gym, then they’ll most likely push you to make it part of your regular routine.

Stephanie Swearngin is a group fitness instructor at VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa and at VASA Fitness in Colorado Springs.

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