Three steps to start your fitness journey before you ever step foot in a gym

You are excited, motivated, and ready to start your new fitness routine. The first thing that you may be tempted to do is go and purchase a new (expensive) gym membership with a contract for a one-year commitment. Resist that temptation! For most people everything will go great for the first couple of weeks. They will go to the gym almost every day. The second month they may slow down in how often they are going, maybe 2-3 times a week. By the third month, they are going to the gym once a week and by the fourth month they are not going at all. They will have wasted the money they spent on the gym membership and will be continuing to lose money because of their one-year contract.

There are three steps you can take to increase your physical activity BEFORE you purchase a gym membership. After completing the three steps, you will have increased your physical activity, established your exercise schedule, and then be better able to decide which gym membership is the best investment for you.

1)Start small with no money involved.

Look for ways to increase your daily activity. Park your car in the back of the lot when you go to the grocery store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you have an errand in your neighborhood, walk and not drive. After you have consistently increased your daily physical activity for several weeks, then proceed to Step 2.

2)Look at your weekly schedule and set aside dedicated time to exercise.

Initially it does not have to be a huge time commitment, consistency is key. At first try to set aside 30 minutes twice a week. After you are able to do that for several weeks, you can increase the frequency to 30 minutes three times a week and later 4- 5 times a week. Look for ways that you can exercise that do not cost any money. You could try going outside for a walk or run. You could ride your bike. If you live or work in a building with a free gym, you could take advantage of whatever equipment is available. Once your exercise schedule is set and you are able to consistently do it each week move to Step 3.

3)Research gyms in your area and sign-up for their free trial period.

In order to encourage people to sign-up for memberships, most gyms will offer a free trial period. For some gyms it will be several days, one week, or several weeks. Remember to only sign up for one trial period at a time. Once the trial period expires, sign-up for the trial period at the next gym. During the trial period, there are several things to consider to determine if the gym is right for you. What is the cost of membership? What perks are included? Is the location convenient to your job or home? Are the hours convenient for the workout schedule that you have already established in Step 2? Are the facilities clean? Is the staff friendly and accessible? Is personal training offered? What group fitness classes are offered? Different things are important to different people. Make sure that the gym you choose meets your needs.

After completing all three steps you are now ready to purchase a gym membership. You can be confident that this will be a good investment, because increased physical activity and exercise is now part of your weekly schedule. Your schedule has been tested and you know that it will work for you. Congrats to you! You are taking action and making your lifestyle healthier.

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Be Fit. Be Fierce. Be Feminine.

As a fitness expert and nationally recognized physician, Dr. Nina Watson is a Board-certified Diagnostic Radiologist with expertise in Women’s Imaging.

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