For years, many of us ‘belonged’ to a gym which meant we signed up and paid for a year-long membership. For some people like me, it was convenient and the membership applied a certain amount of motivation to go. Because as someone who hates spending money, I was not about to pay for something I wasn’t using.
On the other hand though, some people did not consider the gym membership year-long contract as encouragement. Instead, they left ‘their’ fitness facility, membership and money behind after the typical New Year’s resolution motivation wore off.
This wasteful, ‘let’s get fit’ cycle has continued for years. But after a while, people started realizing that wasting money like this was neither helpful nor making them healthy. Likewise, fitness centers starting losing memberships because people didn’t want to be tied down for an entire year to one place.
A New Kind of Membership
Fortunately, many gyms and fitness centers have recently changed their process and offerings for memberships. Today, these facilities are providing month to month member options as well as daily or weekly passes. This is a great choice for someone who has never attended a fitness facility before or for the person who needs greater control over their money and schedule.
You may have even noticed or tried the newer boutique-style fitness centers or studios popping up all over the place. Usually, these facilities provide individual or small group services related to barre, Pilates, TRX and yoga. In addition to the member options mentioned above, these boutique facilities also offer limited or unlimited packages. Meaning, you can purchase a package of 5-10-15 classes and then use them within a very generous set amount of time (3 months – a year). This makes attending classes based on YOUR needs and schedule a lot easier to manage. In fact, this is my favorite way to attend multiple Lowcountry studios based on class times and the type of exercise I’m in the mood for that day.
Before You Sign Up
· Do Your Research
If a friend is encouraging you to attend the newest, fitness craze hot spot, then you need to check out their website first. Learn about their classes, instructors, cost and schedule. Do they offer the types of classes you are interested in? Do they offer special assistance for beginners? Be sure to read their FAQs page, too. This way you can avoid showing up to class in the wrong fitness wear or without a personal yoga mat.
· Take Advantage of Free Trials
Many fitness facilities are now offering free trials or passes. Sometimes passes are provided for only a 1 day use; however I’ve seen others offered for up to 30 days, minus a ‘facility’ fee. Either way, taking advantage of a free trial is a great way to find out if the type of exercise, the instructors or the vibe of the facility will be a good fit for your wellness goals.
· Consider the Location
This should be a no brainer, but sometimes we get sucked into a ‘discounted’ deal or the desire to participate in the hottest new fitness trend. But if the location of the gym or studio isn’t convenient for you, then guess what? You won’t be consistent in going. If traffic is crazy or the weather is bad, it’s a lot easier to ‘skip the gym’ when the location is clearly out of your way. Finding a facility that is close to home or work makes stopping by a lot easier. One more thing to consider – parking! God knows we all love the Lowcountry, but parking sometimes can be a challenge. Again, if this is something that will cause you problems, then consider if that gym or studio is the right place for you.
· Check Out Class Times
If your fitness routine mainly involves group or individual classes, then the class schedule should be the first thing you check out. Again, if the class times don’t fit your schedule, then making the effort to get fit is going to be a lot harder. In fact, this is what I struggle with the most. There are lots of classes I would LOVE to attend, but my work schedule and commute don’t always jive with the studio schedule. This is why location is so important!
As you can see, the days of wasting money and unused time on a gym or fitness membership are over. Now, you have endless options and possibilities to get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle. In fact, maybe these various options will finally encourage you to try some of the new exercises you’ve been secretly considering.
Remember, exercise is not a chore. It should be fun, motivating, challenging and leave you with a feeling that you’ve accomplished something.
Have a favorite studio or gym you like to attend? Share with me why you like it.
All pics by Pixabay