The reason why so many of us have or once had a gym membership, or know someone with a membership, is because it has been successfully marketed as the gateway to weight loss.
With the population of overweight people growing faster than ever before, this is no surprise. In fact, it is not unheard of for UK doctors to prescribe gym memberships for patients suffering from obesity, depression or high blood pressure, at a rate subsidised by the NHS. Clearly gyms are playing an increasing role in the health of our society, or so it seems.
The truth about gym memberships:
According to TGI statistics, there are at least 4.5 million UK adult gym members and a third of them are under 25; also those aged over 65 have risen by at least 70% since 2000. Interestingly, only 27% of gym members go to the gym regularly. As a matter of fact, a BMBR study revealed that 67% of gym members in England don’t use it at all.
An investigation conducted at the University of California found out that most of us don’t use our gym memberships because we start out over-confident. We think we’ll attend the gym more often than not and then congratulate ourselves when we buy an expensive gym membership that financially rewards regular attendees. If this research is anywhere near accurate, then it certainly doesn’t say much for our sense judgement.
In essence, the reason why we have so much trouble visiting our gym is not due to the rising cost of membership or rising unemployment, but more to do with a loss of confidence, unmet expectations and perhaps over familiarity.
How to make the gym workout for you
Maintaining good health and a great shape requires healthy eating and exercise. But how exactly can we make the most of the gym, without losing confidence and handing over our hard-earned money recklessly to gym owners. Here are a few fun tips to help make the gym work out for you:
(1) Under commit- when signing up don’t make any assumptions that you’ll be at the gym 3-4 days a week. This is simply not true for at least 90% of the population. Commit yourself to something you feel is way too easy; let’s say 1-2 days a fortnight. You will probably attend more often (over deliver) and this will boost your confidence levels
(2) Pick your gym wisely- most great gyms have a feel good factor about them. They have a vibrant ambience, great customer service, personal trainers or coaches on hand to assist and help hold you to account. They also offer a variety of equipment and activities to keep members interested, committed, challenged and entertained.
(3) Make friends- if you don’t have friends to accompany you to the gym, you better make some new friends at the gym. Sometimes the gym workout might not excite you, but the thought of catching up with a friend or potential other (who’s usually at the gym on certain days) certainly will. The gym can be the perfect excuse to hangout and have fun with mates.
(4) Get affordable price plans – it may sound impressive to your work colleagues that you are a member of an exclusive gym, but you’ve still got to remember it’s you paying for this membership- not your impressed colleagues. If you choose an affordable price plan, you won’t have to shy away after the first 3 months.
(5) Dress with confidence -when sweating it out on the treadmill or in your fitness class, there is nothing that gives you greater self-confidence when you feel comfortable and look good in your gym wear. It can sometimes be daunting to be amongst other gym users when you don’t feel good in your own skin, or clothing for that matter.
(6) Try something different- it’s pretty tempting to stick to what you know, especially when you have no clue how 90% the gym equipment works. The only problem is that it will only be a few weeks before you get bored and decide to quit on the gym. In a good gym, you will usually have staff around who can spare a moment or two to show you how to use some of the other gym facilities.
(7) Learn to do it right – we so easily to get frustrated and start blaming ourselves or the gym for all sorts of inadequacies, when really all we need to do is to learn to use the gym equipment the right way; and learn the correct techniques for working out. So save yourself the pain and misery of injuries, embarrassment and frustration; and get an expert to teach you how to do it right.
(8) Entertain yourself- it’s no use complaining that the music in the gym is too quiet or obnoxious, or even that the TV screens are too small. It’s pretty handy to have on you your favourite workout music that will definitely get you in the mood. So, bring along your iPod or iPhone; and there’s no reason why you can’t read your favourite magazine in the sauna.