New Year, new you? If you’ve been meaning to get fit, really giving it some serious thought during December while overindulging in mince pies, January must be the perfect time to get started. And don’t worry, you won’t be the only newbie at the gym.
Many health clubs and country clubs have special offers around this time of year to entice you into joining up. Take a look at what’s available to you locally and choose a fitness venue that you like the look of. After all, you’ll be spending an awful lot of time there over the next months, so you may as well enjoy any additional facilities – spa, restaurant, events – that appeal to you as a reward for all that hard work you’ll be putting in.
So, what should you be looking out for?
As a staple fitness routine, you’ll be wanting to use the gym, so make sure you get the guided tour from a qualified trainer before you commit, and ask him to explain everything you don’t understand.
You can expect to see a range of up-to-date fitness equipment including cardio and weight machines as well as a reasonably large free weights area. Bear in mind that peak times may get very busy if there aren’t enough of the popular machines to go round.
Find out about personalised fitness programmes, so you can track and measure your progress. Whether you’re hoping to lose weight or add biceps width, nothing is more motivating than seeing real results!
Most gyms also offer personal training – perfect if you’re prepared to put in a bit extra and want to be pushed that bit harder. See if you can meet one of their personal trainer while you’re visiting. Do they seem likeable, capable, and professional?
A good health club will have a wide range of exercise classes on offer, so you’re bound to find something that you’ll enjoy doing. The most popular classes include:
This is an aerobics based class set to music that conditions every muscle group using hand weights, resistance bands and floor work.
A mixture of boxing moves and circuit style aerobics gives you a high intensity workout that burns fat and tones muscle.
A tried and tested format with different intense aerobic and resistance exercises performed across the several training stations that make up a ‘circuit’.
A class that focuses on building core stability using a range of exercise equipment such as kettlebells and Swiss balls.
A high-octane cycling class that helps you burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time while giving your body a full workout. Fast, furious and fun!
Low-impact exercises designed to stretch and strengthen your body. It’s not aerobic, instead focusing on restoring your body’s muscular and skeletal function to optimum levels.
Pump & Tone, Bodypump
A fun, all-over body workout that uses barbell weights routines set to dance tunes, this high repetition weight training can change your body shape.
Swiss Ball, Fit Ball
Using a large inflatable gym ball, these sessions focus on core stability to improve posture, balance and strength.
A great way to bring your body and mind together, providing both physical and mental benefits. If you want to tone up, improve your balance, coordination and flexibility without putting undue strain on your body, yoga could be perfect for you.
Easy-to-follow dance moves combined with up-tempo Latin-inspired music to create an effective cardio workout that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Look past the winter months and you may find the thought of exercising outside is just the thing to keep you motivated. Many health clubs have extensive outdoor facilities, including
Whether you’re a seasoned tennis pro or you’ve always wanted to learn, tennis is a wonderful game and all-round body conditioner that is open to anyone. Look for a reasonable number of floodlit all-weather courts and check for playing opportunities in your age and ability range. Many clubs have covered courts that are playable during the winter season too.
Imagine cooling off in a relaxing outdoor pool after a hard workout… OK, so the UK weather may be a tad unreliable, even during the summer months, but it’s nice to have all the same.
Once you’ve seen all the fitness facilities your local health club has to offer, do stay and have a coffee in the bar or even lunch in the restaurant to take it all in and cement your impression.
Also, don’t forget to ask about free gym days or trial memberships to help you make up your mind. Your decision to become a health club member may be the most important decision you make for your well-being in 2016.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the health & fitness industry – working together with a selection of companies including Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel & Spa, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.