So we’re officially well into the new year. And by now, you’re probably regretting the three million wines you had over Christmas, and seriously considering a gym membership so you can achieve some of those fitness goals you set yourself for 2014.
But please don’t do what I once did and let yourself be coerced into an expensive membership by one of those overly enthusiastic people who hang out on the street, throwing pamphlets at people. Think about it carefully. To help you do just that, I’ve put together some of the pros and cons of joining a gym…
Seven reasons to join.
1. There’s a huge range of equipment
This is the obvious one. Walk into a gym and you’ll be overwhelmed by the possibilities – unless it’s a really terrible gym, they’ll have a whole lot of different cardio machines, as well as weight machines and free weights. Some gyms might even have a pool. And everything’s included in the cost of your membership, so you can mix it up as much as you want and work different muscles every day – important to make sure you get the most out of your training.
Sure, home gyms are convenient, but you’re also probably limited to just a few pieces of equipment and one treadmill or spin bike. And if you’re the kind of person that gets bored easily (like meeeee) you might enjoy changing up your exercise session every night, rather than just doing the same old thing every day.
2. You’ll have a built-in support network
Most gyms will offer some kind of introductory PT session that will get you started on the machines and work out a program for you to follow. From there, if you’re ever struggling with something, there’s always staff around to help you out – which doesn’t exactly happen when you’re just out running in the park.
3. It’s good to get away
Escaping to the gym is a brilliant way of getting some all-important me-time. You can hop on a treadmill, pop your headphones in, and it’s very unlikely that anyone will bother you (unless you’ve been using it for, like, four hours, which officially moves into treadmill-hogging mode). I know a mum who takes herself to the gym every night after her kids are in bed, and watches TV while working out on the elliptical or step machine. It’s her way of maintaining some sanity while also looking after her health.
4. Group fitness classes are awesome
If the treadmill isn’t quite your thing? There’s probably an entire timetable full of fitness classes you can take part in. You’ll be guided through everything by an instructor, and you’ll absolutely have to work out for an entire hour, because nobody wants to be that person who leaves halfway through a class.
5. It’s motivating
It’s easy to skip out on a run in the park. It’s not so easy to skip out on the gym when you think about just how much money you’re wasting by not attending. Also, plenty of gyms are now organising challenges and incentives for their members to get fit – Fernwood, for example, has year-round challenges with epic prizes. Car, anyone?