Health + Fitness

New years resolutions: Gym membership for a day.

By: Editor-in-chief Lenush Lebedeva

9 times out of 10, fitness resolutions are broken. This is strongly linked to the fact that most people have no idea where to begin. By begin I mean they have not found a suitable fitness routine for them, which results in joining a local gym by purchasing a membership and on the first day having trainers approach them for personal training sessions. Now, I am not going to put down fitness trainers as I hold them in high regard, but… when a newbie joins a gym it is pretty clear it is a person with a desire to get fit or lose weight or they have been instructed to start a fitness regime by a doctor for health purposes, these individuals need to be carefully guided through the realities and possibilities the world of fitness has to offer.

 When a personal trainer approaches a new client more often than not it is an opportunity for them to make money rather than out of the sincere care for a total stranger – let’s be honest it is their bread and butter, you cannot blame them. A personal trainer is someone that should train a person with long-term experience in fitness and a good understanding of what they want. I for one always train with a PT, but I am a fitness heavy weight and I embarked on an active lifestyle in 2008. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to establish a healthy lifestyle and workout plan is to find what you not only enjoy but what fits into your schedule perfectly.

 Here are five suggestions on how to keep your New Year’s fitness resolutions.

  The first mistake I see people making over and over is: “I have started training now so I can’t make it to lunch… or I have to wake up earlier” well buddy… You are not an athlete. Building your entire schedule around your workouts will result in getting bored and dropping it faster than you have started it. In most cases it lasts less than two weeks. Initially you of course believe you are going to follow through your new workout plan, however, the reality is that after the 2nd or 3rd session, cancelling your social plans or waking up earlier than normal in order to make it to your session will no longer seem like a priority, and this is when you will drop your goals of ‘New Year, New Me’. In practice the likeliness of a newcomer to fitness keeping their fitness plan is to fix it into your daily routine, which will not require you to go out of your way in order to practice it. Building your schedule around training works only for professional athletes, even individuals who have been working out religiously for decades do not build their schedule around their training – they work their sessions into their schedule not the other way around. 

  The above-mentioned schedule is often established with a personal trainer from a new gym, which brings me to my second suggestion. Now, once you have joined this gym and arranged your sessions, you will come to realize that the explanation these trainers give you about how your muscles work and how you need to train different groups of muscle on different days is their passion so they can pretty much talk about it all day, as they are fitness persons doing this for a living. You on the other hand are a person with a life of your own and a job of your own and this program is just a part of your life not the entire meaning of it. This is where you become bored. Every passing session you become less and less interested in becoming healthier, leaner or whatever your goals were become diminished out of the sheer boredom. This refers to my point about PT’s being much better suited to experienced, long-term fitness-poppers as they know what they are there for, and rarely give up or become no-shows and change gyms out of embarrassment of cancelling their sessions. I work out with a PT because it works with my schedule and my trainers, and I establish a plan together that I will enjoy and as a result we both have fun. 

Having said that, I do think that a personal trainer can be a very helpful addition to a fitness routine. Which brings me to my third suggestion – if you start a fitness program with a PT you need to be honest and unafraid to discuss what you like and don’t like with him or her, and what you prefer to do. If you like hopping skipping and dancing, it will be incredibly boring for you to sit on a bench doing bicep curls. A professional trainer will find a way to incorporate your preferences in such a way that you work all the right muscle groups while also enjoying the way he or she implement these exercises for you. If a PT is not responsive to your wishes and tries to push you into what he or she wants, ignoring your wishes – change your PT. Personal training is called personal because it is individual and while it may be easier for your PT to push you into a routine that they prefer, it will make you give up on it that much faster. If your sessions seem boring to you, communicate that to your PT instead of just giving up. 

 Now that I have gotten that off my chest (and won’t be dropped by my trainers for giving them a bad rep), here is my fourth suggestion in order to stay active in the New Year and settle into a routine. This is related to the previous point about your preferences and what you enjoy. There is one ‘but’, most newbies are not aware of what they like per say. Most of the time it’s men and women who just want to get fit, but they have no idea what type of exercise will bring them most joy and with good reason they don’t have the experience. When embarking on your fitness journey, start by doing some research. Before jumping at a membership or buying bulk sessions with a trainer, get out there and sample a few different classes. I can assure you the fitness outcome will be just the same if you try 2-3 different classes every week for a month at different gyms and different studios, by the end of January you will be able to reflect on all of those classes and sessions and choose the ones you liked or at least identify the ’type’ of physical exertion you enjoy. In addition, 2 classes a week for a month even different ones will have already embarked you on a routine, all that would be needed in this case is to select one or two that your heart desired or why not just continue juggling. 

Oh boy, I said it. Juggle people! Once you find the right class or exercise regime for you and settle into it, remember everything new becomes old at some point. I kept this one for last as in order to get to this point you will have already selected a few classes or routines with a trainer or other. Maybe even at different gyms and studios. Most likely you will have already had an established schedule and incorporated into your life, and it all works perfectly. But as with anything in life, be careful not to fall into a rut. You can avoid this by juggling. Now that you are no longer a novice try throwing in a few different forms of exercise in between. Or for one week or two focusing on a different class. This is best implemented when your usual session or class gets cancelled, instead of going back home, see what else is available at that time. If you have an established 2-month routine of yoga and spinning, try a step class or kangoo jumps. Go for a Zumba class. Add it to your routine, do a week of spinning and yoga, then a week of Zumba and Pilates reformer, and rotate back. Once again, juggle. This isn’t marriage.