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Motivation in the Gym

May 21, 2008

Well, I did it.  After almost 2 months of working out on my BowFlex, I felt I was growing out of it and I found a great place near my home.  The basic BowFlex model I’m using, like the majority, comes with 200 lbs. of Power Rod resistance, with the option of adding another 100 lbs. in Power Rods for $100.  The BowFlex is a nice piece of equipment with a moderate variation of exercises at your disposal.  But NOTHING replaces the good old gym, at least to me.

The location I selected, BodyWorks, is close to home – about 2 miles away.  It’s a pretty new facility, part of a mini-franchise the owner has put together in 5 other small towns close to mine.  I was fairly impressed with the sales pitch and set up of the facility.  There is plenty of space, no crowd of notice and I was able to get my morning routine in today with no problems.  Except a small one.

While BowFlex and any other home gym serve their purpose, they lack one item…accountability.  As I used some of the gym equipment today, I discovered some newfound resistance to these machines that was not noticeable to me on the BowFlex.  I exerted extra efforts today, especially when doing my Leg Extensions.  I HAD TO WORK!  But it felt good knowing I was being pushed a bit more than normal and I look forward to having a mental challenge against the equipment I used.

Most people who are uncomfortable with the gym are either unknowledgeable of the equipment or they are uncomfortable with how they look.  Let’s dispel a few myths here.  Many TRAINERS are not knowledgable of the equipment, so please don’t let that stop you.  Take a tour of a facility, making mental note of what they have – and then research how to use the pieces online.  EXRX.NET has many examples of how to lift properly or use equipment.  The next myth, being uncomfortable with how you look, needs to go away as well.  Most gym users either are or were overweight.  I find great motivation in newcomers who aren’t the Hulk or She-Hulk.  That’s OK!  That is why you are at the gym – you are TAKING ACTION to be your best, so take pride in that factor and ignore everyone else.  They say that less than 2% of the population does a marathon.  Does that mean I can’t try?  Hell no!  I took that as a challenge and I am now part of that 2% – and you can do it, too.

Being in a gym has motivating factors.  You’re around others who want to improve their health.  You have access to thousands upon thousands of dollars in equipment – for YOU to use!  Plus you just might make a few friends, as I intend on doing.  And I also expect to find some fellow runners, fellow weight losers and others who have similar goals.  

Helpful tips:  If you’re on the fence, at least visit some gyms close to you to see what works best for you.  Visit the gyms at the time you expect to work out so you can see how busy they are.  Look at the aging of the equipment or the upkeep to gauge how service oriented they are.  At least one trainer should be certified.  Ask a few how long they have been at the gym to uncover how please people are with the staff.  Inquire about any complementary training sessions they may have as well as any hidden joining fees.  And when you join, see if they offer any circuit classes for beginners.  These classes are great ways to meet others like you and make lasting friends.

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