Picture this: You decide to join the gym.
You spend hours online researching the available options in the area, on the phone polling friends about their experiences at different locations and in person touring the facilities to find just the right fit. You’ve donned your favorite exercise clothing, laced up your sneakers and plugged your headphones in, ready to attack your fitness goals. You sign on the dotted line and are all set with your very own year-long gym membership. As you walk out of the office and onto the fitness floor you have every cardio, strength training, aquatics, and fitness class option available to you.
The first thought that pops into your head is…”now what?”
Unfortunately this is the case for many well-intentioned gym members. Most of them will gravitate toward the cardio equipment initially as those machines seem easier to operate, have less room for error or embarrassment, and hey, they even have TVs attached! While this may be great at first, doing the same cardio routine for weeks at a time can get old very fast and eventually results will start to diminish. At that point, many will lose interest and very quickly join the staggering percentage of people who pay for a gym membership that they do not use.
Don’t fall into this trap. Whether you are just joining a gym, or have a membership that you currently aren’t using, the tips below will help you get on track and create exercise habits that will last!
1. Start Off Strong
Research has shown that members who visit the gym more regularly in their first few months have a much higher likelihood of continuing to do so. The 90-day mark seems to be the key for most members. Establish a frequent attendance habit during the first 3-months and you can expect it to continue. If you have been a member for a long time but aren’t currently attending – start!
2. Get Plugged In
Most healthclubs have a large offering of classes and programs that cater to wide varieties of fitness levels and interests. Talk to the staff and other members and find the best program for you. If you join a class or participate in a program, meet the other members there. The more involved you feel, the more likely you will be to return.
3. Find a Buddy
A recent study at the University of Aberdeen linked working out with an exercise companion to increased frequency of attendance. In addition, the more emotionally supportive this partner was, the more this increase was found. So, find your most supportive friend and enlist them in your fitness journey. You won’t be disappointed.
4. Make It Fun
Exercise does not have to be dull or grueling to be effective. If you like to play basketball, join a league. If you love dancing, take a Zumba class. If you like boxing, find your gym’s heavy bag and go at it. Get your heart rate up, get moving and have fun with it!
Remember, your gym membership is only good if you use it. Get started today! Not a member of a gym? Download a free pass to American Family Fitness. We’d love to have you as part of our family.