5 Ways to Get Your Money’s Worth at the Gym
5 Ways to Get Your Money’s Worth at the Gym
Health club memberships aren’t free, but the value you get out of yours largely depends on how you use it. From commercial-grade equipment to classes, smoothie bars and saunas, the amenities offered by a health club can greatly enhance your fitness routine.
If you belong to a gym, be sure that you’re taking advantage of everything your membership has to offer with these five tips:
Gain Your Edge with Equipment
At the gym, you have a sprawl of equipment at your fingertips, giving you virtually unlimited workout combinations. Depending on your goals for the day, you can target specific muscle groups, get in a killer whole-body workout, take a class, receive guidance from a trainer, perform a go-to circuit, or try something entirely new. At home, you’re significantly more restricted in how much you can customize your routine.
That’s not to say you can’t do a lot with bodyweight exercises and minimal equipment, but there are limits. For example, it is difficult to safely bench press heavy barbells without a spotter or weight rack, which many people do not have at home.
Make the most of your membership by getting to know the equipment at your gym and identifying the best tools to reach your goals. Watching videos on equipment and exercises can give you the confidence and clarity to navigate the gym floor. If you have more questions, a gym employee will usually be happy to help you.
Get Professional Guidance
You can use the internet or apps to find workouts at home, but without an informed observer to gauge your form, it can be difficult to know if you’re performing an exercise correctly. Not only will your workouts likely be less effective if done with poor form, but you’ll also be more prone to injury. If you're concerned about your form or feel that your workouts lack focus, you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer. They can teach you proper form and devise a workout plan to help you reach your unique goals.
Trainers can also offer guidance by using specialized tools to measure your level of body fat, determine your body mass index (BMI), and help gauge your overall fitness level so you can set informed goals.
Make the most of your membership by taking advantage of the professional presence at your gym. Ask a trainer if you’re using proper form, especially if you’re lifting weights or trying a new piece of equipment, or sign up for personal training if you need more structured guidance.
Make the Gym Your Stress-Free Space
There can be a psychological benefit to working out at the gym versus your home, where the rest of your life is waiting to distract you. You can help get yourself in the workout mindset at the gym by silencing your phone and listening to energizing music. Remind yourself that you’re there to sweat, and everything else can wait for an hour or two.
Many people find that exercising helps them unwind, but the stress-reducing benefits of the gym can often extend beyond a workout. Some fitness clubs have amenities such as saunas and juice bars, as well as relaxing classes like yoga and Pilates to help you rejuvenate physically and mentally.
Make the most of your membership by giving yourself permission to let go of your worries while you’re at the gym. Soon you’ll find that it becomes your stress-free sanctuary where you can focus your efforts and make every second of your workout count.
Find Strength in Numbers
Group classes aren’t only a ton of fun: being surrounded by other exercisers can be a powerful motivator. The exercise routines, which are constantly being refreshed and updated, will keep your workouts interesting and challenging. Unlike online routines that may have murky origins, group classes are developed by experts in the fitness field.
Classes span a range of intensity levels and feature exercises such as cycling, high-intensity interval training, yoga, core strength and more. Spinning®, a fast-paced indoor cycling class; Les Mills BODYPUMP™, a strength class that uses barbells and weight-room exercises; and Zumba®, a high-energy dance class that combines music and rhythm to burn major calories, are all popular choices!
Make the most of your membership by trying each class at least once – you might be surprised by which exercise styles appeal to you.
Stay Accountable and Consistent
Consistently attending your fitness club is key to making your membership worth it. If you break down your membership fee by the number of hours you spend in the club each week, it’s clear to see that you get more “bang for your buck” the more you go to the gym. Not only will attending the club more often make your membership more financially worth it, but you will also be much more likely to achieve the results you want.
Once you settle into a consistent gym routine, you will likely start to recognize other exercisers who work out on the same days and at the same times as you. You may even become gym buddies, especially with people who are in your favorite classes. Buddies can provide a strong support network on days when your determination ebbs and can help keep you motivated. However, try to be mindful of others’ reactions if you start a conversation: some people prefer not to be social at the gym.
If you don’t feel like getting chatty, tell your friends and family about your workout goals, or join an online fitness community. If you feel accountable to someone other than yourself, you’ll be more likely to stick to your fitness plan.
Make the most of your membership by showing up early to your next class and introducing yourself to other regular participants (if they seem open to chatting!) and the instructor.
A gym membership can be an invaluable tool in your fitness journey if you use it right, and a costly missed opportunity if you don’t. However, if you follow these suggestions and commit to regularly attending your gym, your membership will likely pay for itself in amazing results.