Let’s face it, we all work harder and get more done when under some kind of pressure.
When we think of stress we tend to associate it with supposed negative implications such as:
– elevated heart rate
– snap decision-making; no time to think
Hang on! Don’t all of these also apply to big workouts?!
Exercise and particularly HIIT style training or a heavy resistance workout is stressful but the good news is that this is good stress. The elevated heart rate will help improve our cardiovascular health and make use fitter, the lack of time to think frees up our mind to focus purely on the job at hand rather than be distracted by the white noise we usually carry around in our heads.
The sweat means we are working hard and that our body is responding precisely as it should to cool us down. Adrenaline is a hormone released into the body to prepare us for fight or flight, ie it creates energy enabling us to push more, work out harder and therefore get results more quickly.
So once we have the right mindset we need to decide where to exercise.
When it comes to choosing where to work out here is the lowdown to help you find the right environment for you. First up, here are the main options:
GYM OR FITNESS CENTRE
- Group exercise timetable provides a variety of classes that cater for all tastes and fitness levels.
- In-house personal trainers can provide personalized programs and training sessions according to your goals.
- Flexible – you can train any time you want.
- Social – train with friends, a partner or solo and you will meet like-minded people.
- Membership allows you freedom to attend most classes (sometimes specialist ones such as Pilates require an additional fee), to train when you want & a welcome gift (often a backpack, towel, water bottle etc). It also encourages commitment to your fitness by signing up for a fixed period.
- If you are going away for a few weeks or longer you can suspend your membership for that period.
- Big chain gyms mean you have access to more than one location giving you more options if classes at one site don’t suit or you need a gym closer to home for weekend workouts.
- Female only gym chains are a great option for anyone maybe feeling self-conscious about going or not wanting to share the floor with grunting, sweaty men.
- You may be locked into a contract that can be costly to get out of so be sure to look through the fine print before committing.
- Ask about any services offered that will incur a fee over and above your membership e.g. personal training, massage, special classes and access to other gyms in a chain.
- Large gym chains can feel somewhat impersonal.
- You may need to adapt or change your workout during busy times when there may be queues for certain equipment.
- Be clear about what you are paying for – it may be the poshest gym with the best equipment in the world but if you are only going to a couple of spin classes a week, is it really worth the extra cost?
24 HOUR GYM
- Work out any time of the day or night.
- Lower membership fees due to less overheads.
- Great for shift workers or experienced self-motivators.
- No staff means no help if you’re unsure what you are doing.
- No staff means potentially less equipment maintenance.
- Potential for injury if members don’t know how to use a piece of equipment.
PERSONAL TRAINING STUDIO
- Personalized sessions created specifically for you according to your goals and fitness level.
- Small group sessions are often offered as well which are social and fun.
- No membership fee so no hidden costs.
- “Personal” is the operative word – no danger of just being a number or a face.
- No danger of being left to your own devices, which could lead to poor technique or worse, injury.
- Potentially quicker results due to individualized service.
- No queuing for equipment.
- You cannot access the studio for your own workouts.
- No class timetable.
Once you have decided whether to go for a gym or a studio, you will want to consider the following when narrowing down your choices:
- Location will be everything. According to the Statistic Brain Institute, 67% of people with gym memberships never use them. Be part of the 33% that do use theirs and find a gym or studio that is either near your work so that you can go before or after to train or, near your home. Avoid picking the cheapest or the snazziest if it is going to take you out of your way because you simply won’t get there regularly.
- Ask for a week’s trial so that you can get a feel for the place at different times to see if it is a good fit. Try some classes and also use the gym floor ideally both when it is busy (Saturday mornings, Monday evenings) to see the volume of traffic and also, quieter times (middle of the day, Sundays).
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Every new gym member will be given an induction to show them around and give a general guide to the equipment and classes on offer. It can be intimidating and seem like a lot of information to take in initially so make sure to ask to be shown how to work things if you are unsure. After all, you’re paying for it! Also, usually you also receive a complimentary Personal Training offer as a new member so be sure to use this to get a personalized program to work on.
Parking. A small but key issue. The last thing you want is to schlep to the gym and then miss your class because you can’t park.
I hope this makes the decision making a bit easier.
Now it’s over to you…..get stuck in!
Photo credits: Geralt, East Georgia State College, Bastiaan, Vook, Peggy Marco
Let us know your own experiences and feedback at www.aussie-fit.com!