Invest in a gym wisely

Hitting the gym is more a trend today than it has ever been. It is important to make an informed decision on how and where you work out

Exercising in gymIt is perhaps the fastest growing trend in town. Whether it is about feeling flabby or simply aspiring for that model-cum-socialite’s body, people seem to be attracted to gyms like bees to honey. But there is always a catch: while people like to boast about their new fitness hangout, few feel the genuine inclination to actually hit the gym. Besides being predisposed towards a lethargic lifestyle, there is also a certain amount of apprehension and naivete about gyms. Here’s what you need to know and look for when you decide to go all out for that “fab bod”!

A gym that’s nearby

One of the biggest factors to determine your motivational levels to work out is the location of your gym. Ideally, you would want to choose a well-equipped gym closer to home. What this essentially does is eliminate travel time, which in a bustling metropolitan city, could mean being stuck in traffic snarls that kill the initial motivation with which you stepped out in the first place. Also, the closer the gym is to your home, there is a greater opportunity to walk your way to it, adding to your fitness regime.

A gym that suits your pocket

Before jumping in to join your local gym, find out what fits your wallet and what doesn’t. Fitness involves initial pains. But there are those you certainly want to avoid, for example, those caused by making a hole in your pocket. Setting the goal to join the gym was painstaking enough. But once that decision is made [which is kudos to you], it is important not to make a blind leap but rather to find out if the cost of joining one fits into your budget.

Often, people join a fitness program with gusto only to quickly lose steam. Additional financial burdens would deprive you of the pleasure of the endorphins released, thereby debilitating your motivation. A more prudent approach would be to find a gym that does not make a financial crunch, but one that motivates you to save up a little to afford the process of looking good. There’s nothing like fiscal fitness that goes with the physical one!

Make an informed choice

Don’t just stand at the counter, ask for the price list and dish out your credit card. Most gyms would be compliant with offering the potential customer a tour of their floor space. Keep in mind not be blinded by the fancy equipment and instead also take a peek at the locker rooms, the showers and the like. Feel free to find out what their customer services are, including towel provisions and refreshments.

Another important aspect when touring the gym is to find out the various practices they specialise in, be it aerobics, yoga or pilates, and what is included in your basic plan and what’s not. Find out the special offers and whether they offer free introductory classes to the various disciplines before you zero in on any. Better yet, look for the combo offer.

A gym that is well-maintained

The thing to look out for before emptying your bank account is the maintenance of machines. This would not mean only following the lead to checking out their flashy, new ones, but the basic hygiene and regime followed after each workout. You would not want germs to populate where you are essentially working out to get healthy. These are small important things to look for, because the last thing you need is to be stuck in a smelly, putrid area infested with bacteria. Find out how often they service the machines, the help at hand in regularly maintaining the hygiene in the well-ventilated rooms.

Watch what you drink

While most gyms offer the perfunctory drinking water, it would not be unwise to check the source of the water. The more high-end gyms also indulge in self-prescription and provide vitamins and supplementary tablets. On the side of caution, it is better to consult one’s family physician before consuming anything that is laid across the counter.

Larger gyms also cater to people who are easily indulgent to gulping down refreshments. Don’t be fooled on two grounds. Firstly, check the “real” nutritive value of the drinks offered. More often than not, the refreshments offered are either caffeinated or contain sugars that can have quite the contradictory effect. Secondly, find out if it is coming out of your tab of overall package, even if you decide to indulge in their wares.

Ensure a good instructor

In deciding your work-out plan, find out the viable scheme that allows for a hands-on personal trainer. Learn to appreciate his/her knowledge. But their goal should be to help you find the most useful techniques for your body, someone who is just as eager as you to comprehend your body sense and trying to fit it to what your body should really be doing. Be wary of dictator types and ask for a swap if the situation warrants that you are avoiding the gym altogether.

Schedule time properly

It is really important to set time aside for your work-out so you have less room for excuses. But it should be aligned in such a way that you are not rushing to get through your work-out or stuck in rush hour. The last thing you want to do is to either rush people or wait endlessly for a machine to be available. Give yourself the space to breathe; this is after all rejuvenation time.

Some basic pointers

Wear appropriate clothes while hitting the gym. This does not mean an expensive splurge, but comfortable clothing, not so loose as to get entangled with the equipment. Similarly, foot wear can make or break your soles. Keep an open mind. Heed your instincts and listen to your body through experience. The revelations could be insightful. Make new friends; they share similar goals for being there. But remember to not let friendship get in the way of the real purpose of getting to the gym. Respect those who share the space with you and maintain decorum for a harmonious workout for all concerned.

Most importantly, have fun. This should not be a chore. It is your lifestyle choice; revel in it!

Sreelata Yellamrazu
Sreelata S Yellamrazu, a management graduate, is a sports columnist. She hopes her writing proves liberating for her, and also provides a voice for important life issues - especially young minds.


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