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Sharp Health News

6 ways to maximize your gym membership

June 21, 2018

Getting the most from your gym membership

Brian Lehner, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise instructor at the Sewall Healthy Living Center, helps his clients reach their fitness goals.

Joining a gym is easy, keeping it up is harder. There are work deadlines, kiddie carpools and — let’s face it — those machines can seem downright daunting.  

In the U.S., 67 percent of gym memberships go unused. And while busy schedules are often to blame, too many skip it for fear of feeling lost. “Lots of people sign up for gym memberships but aren’t sure what to do with them,” says  Brian Lehner, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise instructor with the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital. “It can feel overwhelming. But don’t forget — everyone at the gym started somewhere.”  

While Lehner can’t move your work deadline or cart your kid to school, he can offer expert tips on sticking to your commitment. Here’s how:

  1. Just show up
    It may seem simple, but it’s the biggest thing you can do. The more you go, the stronger and more comfortable you’ll feel. Start out at 30-60 minutes for 2-3 days a week. As you generate momentum you can build up the amount of time that focuses on your workout goals.  

  2. Work with a trainer
    Trainers are not just for bodybuilders. They work with a cross section of gym members, all at various skill levels. They’ll give you an inside scoop on the facility, from how to use machines to how to choose a class. And they cater their advice to you. Many gyms offer free sessions for new members, so sign up if that’s offered.  

  3. Cash in on classes
    Compare your gym’s class schedule to your own, and get into a weekly routine. Striving for set times each week will make it easier to manage your time and get yourself out the door. Plus, choose a variety of class styles. It will keep your week exciting and help avoid ruts. 

  4. Investigate amenities
    From pools to smoothie bars, many gyms have unique features that go beyond your workout. For example, the Sewall Healthy Living Center offers many health-centered programs and therapies, like massage, acupuncture and nutrition counseling. 

  5. Keep it social
    Buddy up whenever possible, or better yet, organize a workout team. When friends know your exercise goals, they can help keep you accountable. As an added bonus, spending gym time with friends makes the workout more fun.  

  6. Time it right
    Plan your gym time for right before or right after work. You’re more likely to fit your workout in when you’re already out. Pack your bag in advance to both save time and serve as motivation if you find it waning.  
“There are plenty of reasons why people join gyms,” says Lehner, “from hitting weight-loss goals to socializing at their favorite fitness class. Set yourself up for success by knowing exactly what you want, and making gym time a priority.”  

The Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital offers monthly and annual memberships, group fitness classes and personal training. Learn more about Fitness Center offerings.

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