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!