Find Your Fitness Milieu: The Best Place For You to Workout

A very appealing outdoor workout.

The New York Times reported a few weeks ago that only about 15% of the U.S. population has a health club membership at any given time.  It suggested that health clubs are failing Americans as a good choice for exercise; something about them just doesn't click with us. This left me pondering: where is the best place to workout? There are a plethora of choices; yoga and Pilates studios, the great outdoors, your local track or pool, a kayak or crew shell, I could go on.  So what's the best place for you?  Here are some things to consider ... Your motivation level There are a small percentage of people who bounce out of bed in the morning, throw on the running togs, and sprint happily down the street.  For the vast majority of the rest of us, you really have to consider how motivated you are to work out.  If watching a "Seinfeld" rerun for the 4th time is more appealing than exercise, I suggest one of two strategies. First, workout at home so you don't have to find the motivation to leave your home.  Try a fitness DVD or take up running around your neighborhood.  Keep it simple and it's more likely to get done. Second, consider signing up for a class or personal training session with a 24-hour cancellation policy.  If you don't go just because you're lazy, you have to pay for it anyway.  I can't tell you the number of clients who show up in my studio because they "had" to.  Works like a charm. Level of Expertise Taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood doesn't take any special skills, but what if you're really into something a little more complicated like ballroom dancing?  Do you have the skills you need to workout without supervision or do you need help from an instructor of some sort to keep progressing and to avoid injury?  If you need help to do the activity you enjoy, make sure you're going to the gym or a training facility to get it. Getting There Is One Thing, Doing It Is Another I see this often in the gym.  Someone comes regularly but they don't really do anything.  It's more of a social hour with a few crunches thrown in.   This means you need structure to do the work.  Consider working with a personal trainer to keep you on your toes or join a group exercise class (could be a yoga studio, could be a gym, wherever) so that the instructor sets the pace and you have to keep up.  This would even work in your own home with a fitness DVD but you have to commit to doing the whole DVD and if you know the routine, you can't pause! So what's your best fitness milieu?  Do you find yourself shifting back and forth from gym workouts to home-based workouts?  How do you stay motivated?  Please share your stories! Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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10 Responses to Find Your Fitness Milieu: The Best Place For You to Workout

  1. Pip March 8, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    Now that my trainer has left the gym I go to and has set up a business on her own I find I’m in there less and less. I have a small group training session with her in a local park once a week, a personal training session in the same park once a week, and she also holds a running squad two nights a week and every second weekend. I also ride with a few different cycle packs. Really, I only go to the gym for the occasional top-up weights workout, weekly spin classes, and a bit of yoga. Even in the middle of winter it’s far better working out outdoors and the gym seems really limited to me now in terms of what I can accomplish there. I have a wind trainer and a yoga routine I do at home so in theory I could quit my membership all together but I’ve been a member so long the fees are really cheap so it’s worth holding on. I still like the community at the gym, but I get around that by having a community outside of the gym as well.

  2. Ang March 8, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    I try to workout twice a day. I do a home workout in the mornings, and then a gym workout in the evening. I prefer the gym because I workout harder. I like walking by the muscled-up men and thinking, “yeah, I can sweat as much as you do.” :-) There are too many distractions at home, but most people at my gym are there for one thing… To exercise.

  3. Amy March 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    The gym motivates me. However, I think it’s very important for people to pick a gym/studio/workout based on your personality. I attend classes (bodypump, spinning and yoga) that challenge me mentally and physically. I am very fortunate to attend a gym that has many classes that challenge me daily. I do run on a treadmill and outside to mix things up a little bit, however I am not the type that enjoys running everyday. If I attempted to do that, I would be miserable and I think it’s best to stick with exercises that you enjoy doing.

    I often work out with the same 2-3 people and in addition to the instructors at the gym, my friends also motivate me to do better and more. In addition, it is great attending a gym that you are able to get to know the instructors and if you don’t show up to their class, they hold you accountable by asking where you were last night.

    With that being said, I am quite envious of those people who can stick in a dvd and just motivate themselves to finish through it and want to do that over and over.

  4. Tracy @ Commit To Fit March 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Great post, Lisa! I like to run outdoors, swim and do the rest of my workout at home.

    You have to figure out what motivates you. Do you need someone else to be relying on you as a workout buddy or a trainer waiting for you at the gym? Hopefully as you are more active, fitness becomes part of your routine and you are more self-motivated.

  5. Lisa Johnson March 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Amy, I’m not much of a DVD person either and I’ve got tons and tons of them. (I get them for free as a fit blogger.) I like that you’ve adapted your schedule to your friends, fave trainers and some gym time though, it sounds smart, doable and fun.

    Tracy, Thanks for dropping by! good to see you here and excellent point on motivation. :-)


  6. Sock Runner March 23, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    It’s been a while since my last run. I’ve been quite busy the past few days and some travels were thrown in in my monthly calendar. I’ve contemplated on working out at home but it doesn’t really strike my fancy. I like the outdoors more. As of now, I’m losing track of my motivation to workout because I’ve been having less sleep and rests. But of course, I will never forget the energized state my body is is whenever I run. I really hope one of these days I’ll get a chance to run again.

  7. Lisa Johnson March 24, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Sock Runner, sounds like you need to join a running club. :-) L–

  8. women's yoga clothing April 9, 2011 at 5:27 am #

    Its fitness everywhere and each one of us are sure to stay fit some way or the other. Sadly, the problem starts when we want choose a good Fitness boot Camp, gym or any other weight loss getaways where they will teach you effective workout that will reduce your body fat.

  9. Jacqueline April 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I loved running until my knees went. Loved swimming until I started dying my hair. Love yoga – sucky instructors at my gym. Best I can manage these days is walking, which I love. Used to do the NordicTrack every day 20 minutes. You can see the excuses are endless. “Just do it” doesn’t work as a motivator when your knees are my age. I’d love to run or walk on the coast as in the photo but it’s not where I live. …

    Do you have any DVDs you recommend? Maybe a good yoga one? Or others?

  10. Lisa Johnson April 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I am not as strong at Yoga recommendations as I am at Pilates ;-) … I’ve used the Rodney Yee ones and I like them because his style is pretty mellow. I’ve always thought GAIAM had a well selected group of Yoga videos too. Stott Pilates, believe it or not, have a few yoga DVDs in their arsenal and they’re pretty good. They cue form from an anatomy POV so they definitely keep you safe. Hope that helps a bit Jacqueline. :-)


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