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Getting The Most Out of Your Gym Membership
Episode 512th April 2023 • What The Health: News & Information To Live Well & Feel Good • John Salak
00:00:00 00:11:59

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Looking to lead a healthier life? In this episode, we discuss how a gym membership can help you achieve your fitness goals. We share tips for selecting the right gym, overcoming gym intimidation, and avoiding common gym dangers like overtraining and gym germs. We also provide health hacks for making the most of your gym visits, including setting up a plan, tracking progress, and staying hydrated. Plus, members of the WellWell-Being community can enjoy a special deal from Revgear! Don't let gym intimidation or gym germs hold you back - it's never too late to start working towards a healthier lifestyle.

Chapter Summaries

[0:00:30]: Jumpstart Your Health and Fitness Goals: Tips for Starting in April

[0:01:09]: Maximizing Your Gym Membership: Tips for Choosing the Right Gym and Overcoming Gym Intimidation

[0:04:17]: Navigating Gym Intimidation, Trainers, Overtraining, and Germs: A Comprehensive Guide for Fitness Enthusiasts

[0:09:04]: Post-Workout Recovery Tips and Health Hacks for Gym-Goers

[0:10:57]: Health Hacks for Going to the Gym: Tips and Strategies for Success

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John Salak: It's April, so it's well past the time to enact any New Year's resolutions. They usually come in the form of losing weight, getting fit, and embracing a healthier lifestyle. They're all notable aims, but is April too late to start? Nope. It's a great time. Opening day has arrived, the weather is getting better and in a couple of months, beach season will be at hand from coast to coast.

But where to start? There are lots of ways. Certainly eating right and getting enough rest are important, but so is getting exercise. Whether that means working out at home, outsider in a gym, And it doesn't matter what age or shape you're in, there are always programs and workouts that fit. Right now, however, we're going to focus on what it takes to get the most out of a gym membership, whether you're a regular or a newbie to health clubs.

First off, there are two things to realize. There are plenty of gym options to choose from, and you're not alone. An estimated 65 million Americans hold gym memberships at any one time. That's about 20% of the population. Most of these people go to their gyms about three times a week. Oh yeah. There are a lot of gyms and health clubs to choose from over 40,000 in the US alone.

They come in all shapes and sizes, include a variety of equipment and classes, and have lots of different price points charging anywhere from 10 to a hundred dollars a month on average. Picking the right gym means taking a few things into consideration. Convenience is paramount. If it's not convenient, you're not gonna use it.

If you don't use it, you're not gonna get any benefits. Aesthetics also count because you want to like your gym, the looks, the setup, the cleanliness, et cetera. A friendly staff is also important, and this makes sense. You're gonna be dealing with these people. Equipment that's integral, but this is gonna come down to personal choice and names.

Are you into weightlifting, aerobics, swimming, specialty equipment, or something else? Some gyms have a range of gear, while others may focus on a particular fitness area. So you want to take this into account. You also want to make sure there's enough of the equipment you want so that you're not waiting around to say, use a treadmill or some other particular piece of.

Services and amenities are also key. This covers everything from towels to lockers, showers, saunas, massage tables, classes, even snack bars. Realize of course, that the more amenities, the higher the monthly membership fees are likely to be. What about members? Are these your type of people? Now, you might not be going to the gym to meet people and make friends, but chances are you'll be more comfortable with like-minded people who approach workouts in the same manner.

This could come down to age intensity type of workouts or other factors, and then there is cost and fine print. You need to be clear on both before you. What is a monthly cost? What's included? What's extras? Are you committed to a membership for a certain length of time? Are fees raised annually and automatically?

Okay, so you've picked a gym, it's convenient, staff seems nice, and it has what you're looking for. What's next? Well, for many people it means getting over what's known as gym intimidation. We've written about this at WellWell U S A, and you may have already guessed what it means. Fear of the gym, fear of working out in front of other people, fear of looking outta place among a lot of buffed men and women.

Well, if you have this fear, congrats. You're not alone. About 50% of Americans are anxious about working out in front of others. 17% are scared to work out in front of the opposite sex, and 15% are simply intimidated while performing their exercises. And this fear isn't limited to newbies. About half of those regularly attending gyms report they are still uncomfortable about working out in front of others, even though they do it regularly.

For what it's worth, women suffer a bit more from this than men. What are the causes? What are the problems? There are several reasons people feel judged while working out in front of others because they feel they're not using the equipment properly. Some feel their bodies are not up to snuff. Many people are also constantly comparing themselves to others at the gym, regardless of the circumstances.

Ultimately, you shouldn't worry. Sure. You can get a few jerks at any gym, but for the most part, people are focused on their own workouts and not yours. You should do the same. You should also take personal pride in being at the gym in the first place. Results, whatever they may be, will come in time if you keep at it.

Now, if you want to ease yourself into a gym, consider taking a class. Most clubs have them. It's a great way to get comfortable with the facilities, and if you have a question about a piece of equip. Ask a staff member or sign up with a trainer even in for a limited time cuz they can help you build a program and help you get familiar with various pieces of equipment.

Bottom line, don't let gym intimidation stop you. What about trainers? They're great and can help you start and set up programs. Depending on your needs and budgets, you can work with them for a few sessions or indefinitely. But like gyms, not all trainers are the same. So there are some things to consider when hiring one.

Trainers are not licensed; they are certified. These certifications can come from various associations and can even focus on different aspects. So it's important to ask a trainer if they are certified and in what? Don't be afraid to ask about their experience or even for references; it's essential to know the technical and practical background of any trainer you're working with.

Compatibility is another element. Does a trainer understand your goals? Is your aim to lose weight, increase strength, or improve general fitness, and how are you motivated? Do you need tough love or humor? Can a trainer adjust? Ultimately, is a trainer engaged due to respect your time and understand your goals?

If you have medical issues, you should be able to communicate them clearly to a trainer, who needs to consider them when developing a workout plan for you. These conditions can be anything from a recent injury or surgery to something like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, neuromuscular disorders, heart and lung disease, arthritis, or orthopedics.

Then there are money matters. Trainers can get anywhere from 50 to $150 per hour, depending on their accreditations and experience levels. So you need to be clear ahead of time as to what are the general costs are and what the extra fees.

Okay. You've got the gym you like, and maybe you've signed up for a great trainer, or you're just killing it, working out by yourself. Is there anything else to think about? How about over-training something else we've covered at WellWell USA? Sure. Most of us probably don't have to worry about over-training.

It usually impacts lead athletes, but anyone can overextend themselves. Run too far or too fast, work out too long, push too many weights, or don't take a break between sets, and you could face dangers to the body and brain, not to mention a risk of increased stress and anxiety. What's worse?

Your general fitness will decline. Now, trainers should be able to spot this easily, but if you're working out on your own, signs of overtraining include an extended period of high heart rates and muscle soreness that lasts 72 hours or longer if you think you've done too. Rest will help, and then recalibrate your workout load.

Gym germs are another issue. You've gotta face facts gyms or germ factories. Even with the diligent staff, germs and bacteria are everywhere in gyms because people forget to wipe down equipment after they use it, or maybe they don't wipe it off carefully enough. Yes, that's amazing in the post-pandemic world, but it's true.

One study underscored the problem when it identified 63 different species of bacteria. Unhealthily used gym equipment, the most common of which caused staph infection. Fungi are another common problem because they thrive in the moist and warm conditions that most gyms maintain. Germs, bacteria, and fungi not only thrive in gyms but they are also easily spread to people because anyone can pick these up simply by touching equipment that hasn't been cleaned off properly.

Now, this threat should not stop you from using gyms, but wise, take precautions and make some suggestions. Look for large gyms where equipment is spread out. Gauge how often the equipment is cleaned by staff and how accessible sanitizing wipes are for members using the equipment. It's also wise to wash your hands regularly while at the gym to help stop the spread of infection.

Okay, your workout is over, and you're tired and hungry. Are beer and a slice of sausage pizza in order? Nope. You need a better post-workout program. Instead, you've got to hydrate first and foremost. Drinking water, green tea, coconut water, even chocolate milk are all good options because they will relieve soreness and help muscles.

Forget immediately going for wine, beer, or martini right after a workout. Sugary drinks are a no-no, as well. Another essential post-workout practice is stretching. It's a boon for muscle recovery, increasing flexibility, relieving tension, and allowing the body to cool down. A healthy snacker meal should also be consumed within 45 minutes of a workout to kickstart recovery.

But avoid gobbling foods high in sugar and fats. No matter how many calories you burn during the workout, focusing on foods high in carbs and proteins is better. If possible, take a polar plunge. This involves getting into a tub of water that is 50 to 59 degrees fire and high and staying there for 10 to 15 minutes.

These dips reduce inflammation and enhance blood and oxygen flow throughout the. Okay. Before getting into some health hacks, we want to flag you to a special deal from one of our affiliates. Rev Gear is offering members of our Well-Well Being community 10% off all their gear, including martial arts, MMA, and boxing equipment.

Joining the community is easy and free. It also opens up members to hundreds of other exclusive discounts. To join, go to WellWell USA. The Milton's discount tab on the pull-down menu will bring up the link to help you sign in. It's a snap. It's easy. Enjoy. So how about some health hacks for going to the gym?

You need to set up a plan and track your progress every time you go to the gym. But this isn't difficult. It's as easy as writing it down in a notebook. Start slow and build up, whether it's weights, aerobics, class, or intensity levels. This way, you'll build progress and not get discouraged. Have a gym bag ready to go with clean odor and free clothes so you can hit the gym immediately.

Monitor weight loss. But don't get obsessed with daily fluctuations cuz they're bound to happen. And leave your phone in the locker room or in your gym bag. Need a distraction. Watch tv. There are private screens on virtually all pieces of equipment. Okay, you're ready to start. Don't wait. Pick a gym, pick a plan, and get going.

You'll thank yourselves, and I thank you for listening.