The weather is changing, which means less daylight, colder temperatures, and snow, ice, and all of the other wonderful tricks Mother Nature comes up with during fall and winter (sleet, anyone?). If you’re like me, you’re not a huge fan of exercising outdoors in the frigid, dark, cold while you try to avoid the elements, such as black ice.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being outdoors, and I’m a fan of every season – it can just be much harder to will myself to step out into the darkness at 6 a.m. to go for a run. When the weather turns, I turn to the gym. While it may not always be my favorite, having a gym membership from about October to March can go a long way to maintaining my fitness and exercise routine.
If you’re contemplating joining a gym or getting a membership somewhere, here are a few ways you can make it something to look forward to:
Find a gym that serves your interests. Is there a particular way you like to work out? Are you seeking out certain classes? Personally, one of my favorite ways to break a serious sweat is kickboxing – punching a bag and sparring with other people. There are a plethora of gyms that offer amazing classes and equipment, but if they don’t offer boxing or kickboxing, it’s a deal-breaker for me. Also, don’t be afraid to try a new class or way to workout – see what jumps out at you as you’re doing your research.
Get a locker. I HATE having to haul all of my workout paraphernalia with me everywhere. Shelling out the extra $10 a month for a locker can be a time-saver and a stress-reliever. I don’t have to worry if I left my headphones on the kitchen counter, or if I really did pack two socks this time instead of one.
Two’s company. If you have a friend that raves about their gym or fitness center, try it out for a week (most places will let you try a complimentary week or a few visits at least). See if it really is the latest kettle bell oasis that they claim it to be. If everything works out, now you have someone to go to the gym with to keep you accountable, as well! If you decide to go with somewhere else, don’t be afraid to try and make a friend – you never know the connections you’ll make, and going to a place where you know you’ll recognize a friendly face makes it easier to lace up those shoes.
Reap the benefits. Does your insurance company have breaks or benefits for having a gym membership and going a certain number of times per year? Does your employer offer a benefit for exercising? Not sure? Look into it! Many companies and insurance companies offer some sort of reward for maintaining your health by exercising. That’s definitely a way to sweeten the deal.
Treat yourself. After a really hard workout, I look forward to unwinding in the sauna. Take advantage of the gym amenities, whether it’s the sauna, steam room, whirlpool, or a discounted massage. Give yourself a reward for hitting a goal, or just for killing that Body Pump class.
Find something worth working for. Whether it’s a work party, birthday party, girls’ weekend, etc., find something worth working for and make some reasonable fitness goals. This will keep you motivated and driven to achieve those results.
Get some new gear. Buy yourself a cute new top or leggings to wear as you dominate a core class or jump on the elliptical. It might be just the push you need, and can let you show off what you’ve worked so hard to accomplish.
Make it yours. Going to the gym shouldn’t be a chore. Make it a sanctuary where you kick a** and have fun doing it. With positive elements in place, like a workout buddy/gym friends, classes or equipment that fits your interests, and amenities worth taking advantage of, your gym should be a place where you want to go as a reprieve. Not to mention you’ll stay warm and dry and slush-free.