To Gym or Not To Gym

That is the question, isn’t it? Upping one’s physical activity is a big part of not only weight loss, but being also of general good health.  Over the years, I joined various gyms and fitness centers, signed 6 month contracts and then visited once or twice. I have heard this is common, particularly around the first of the year when people are making New Year’s resolutions. In January, gyms are packed full of hopeful people and by February, the gyms are empty again except for the regulars.

Gyms aren’t an absolute necessity for getting more active. All you really need is a good pair of shoes and a decent attitude. (A “decent” attitude is sufficient, because after you go for a walk or run, your attitude is generally great afterwards!) There are various workout routines one can follow at home such as P90X, Insanity, or many others available at local stores or online. I’ll be adding Insanity to my workout regime next week, so you’ll get those updates here as well. If finances are tight, home workouts are a great option. Home workouts also allow people to exercise when they wish and not feel self-conscious. Your dog doesn’t judge and will probably think you’re awesome if you’re up moving.

For those folks who like to be among people, finding the right place to go is the key to a long and successful relationship with a fitness center.  Determine what your needs are and then find a place to fit them. Ask yourself some basic questions: “Do I need a place that is open 24/7 because I work odd hours?” “Do I need a place that offers group classes?” “What kind of classes do I want to take?” “Do I actually want a gym with a lot of equipment that I don’t know how to use, and is there someone there who can show me how to use it?” “CAN I PRACTICE YOGA HERE?!” – basic things like this running through your mind will help get you started in selecting a good place.

I tend to look for a good support staff, who can answer questions I may have and who are non-judgmental and supportive. Most gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios offer a discounted or free trial with no commitment so you can test drive before you commit.  Take advantage of these types of deals and don’t just go once. Go several times, check out various staff members, instructors, and teachers and see if the place is a good fit for you. For example, Yoga 4 Love Studio offers a 2 week trial for $20. With this, you can try various yoga and Zumba classes with several teachers.

Think Yoga is too soft an option for cardio? Think again.. I have burned 400+ calories in hot power yoga classes. Some people probably burn more.

I timed my mile and a half run – 23:10. That works out to 15 minute miles. I’m a pretty slow runner. I don’t mind. And I know I will get better and faster. Right now I am training for a half marathon. I’ve run several 5Ks and my first 10K last year was the Marine Corps Marathon 10K in Washington DC so I have set my sights on a half for this year. A half marathon is 13.1 miles (while a full marathon would be 26.2).

In closing, I’d like to mention that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I usually can’t be bothered with cooking at 5am, so I have been grabbing a Juice Plus shake. It’s healthy and quick. For a blender shake, it tastes pretty good. It fuels me until I get to sit down and have real food.