Although location is one important consideration in choosing a fitness center, service, monitoring, professionals, equipment (especially diversity of equipment) crowding, cleanliness, facilities and atmosphere are all variables important to your lasting enjoyment and ongoing results. According to annual statistics, up to 60 percent of everyone in America who joins fitness centers drops out within the first year. National chains and women’s-only clubs usually have the highest drop out rate. Find a club with an annual dropout rate of less than 20 percent.
We all have limited discipline
If we don’t continually see improvement, exercise quickly loses its appeal. With 656 muscle groups in the body and thousands of muscle fibers (cells) in each group, we need to change exercises every 4-6 weeks to maximize muscle hardening and increase fat burning (basal metabolism) or we will plateau, leading to boredom and discontinuance.
Variety is essential to maximize results
Look for a club with at least eight different lines of equipment. Any slight change in angle of movement will work new muscle fiber, raising basal metabolism, improving coordination, and increasing the hardness of the muscle group being worked. When we continually work the same muscle fiber by doing the same movements over and over, the body adapts and progress ceases (an all too familiar syndrome). Change is essential for visible results (fat loss and toning).
We all need help
Find a club with nationally certified personal trainers to change your program and carefully walk you through a new program every 4-6 weeks. Try to find a club with qualified trainers that will train you free for an hour every month. If you have to pay $30 to $70 per hour, you may not use them; if they are free, you will use them and you will get results, continue to progress, and stay excited about exercise.
Progress checks are essential for motivation
Nurses should be on staff to regularly and systematically record your progress on computer printouts. Your awareness of your own progress is essential in goal setting and for sustained motivation. Heart, blood pressure, lungs, strength, percentage of body fat, basal metabolic rate, weight, measurements, and flexibility are variables that change month to month, provided you are exercising properly.
The most efficient way to improve your heart and lung strength is with ellipticals, treadmills, bicycles, climbers, recumbent steppers and incline walkers. But some people find machines boring. Be sure all machines have private cable televisions. If you can, find a club with the newest technology in cardio entertainment; treadmills that connect with the internet and google maps, so the treadmill changes it’s elevation to the actual topography of any address in the world that you enter into the computer! All televisions should have a channel that shows the club’s child care, live!!
Look for classes galore
The more classes offered, the better— and you are more likely to find something you love. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Piloxing, Tabatacise, Cardio Fusion, TRX, swimming pool classes, Tai Chi, step, dance, boxing, kickboxing, Bosu, toning, abs, boot camp, spinning and the ALL NEW Pound Fit…to name a few.
What about the crowds?
If the club is crowded, if you have to wait for equipment, if there are time limits on the equipment, if you have to sign up for classes, your results will suffer. Most clubs overcrowd and their guest policies are too liberal. The only thing worse than filling your club with too many members is filling it with too many non-members.
What extras are there?
Swimming pools are important to some people. Child care, especially televised child care throughout the club, is of value to parents of younger children. And who couldn’t use free nutritional guidance? Cleanliness to most people is not an extra; it’s essential. Most people like a club with strict rules that are enforced by the staff, i.e. no dropping of weights, returning weights, towels must be used on all equipment, and no loud noise of any kind while exercising.
Things to consider when joining
Most people prefer memberships that are renewed month to month instead of long-term contracts. Having the opportunity to put your membership on hold (freezing) can be of value. Choosing a club with facilities that you can use while traveling or vacationing may fit your lifestyle.