We are all realising health and fitness isn’t just a passing craze (yay). Taking care of your body is a long-term relationship.
Commitment is key to making any relationship work and that includes the one you have with your body. Staying committed is far easier when you are in love with the way you move your body, confident in the space you move your body, and surrounded by people who support you. That’s why joining a new gym, taking part in a new fitness class or hiring a new trainer is more important than ever.
Make sure you find the relationship for you:
Read reviews about the gym. If there are any hidden nasties i.e. filthy change rooms or foul smells, you will be sure to find them online with a simple search of reviews.
Make sure you are choosing the right gym for you. You need your gym to be conducive to your goals. If you are a post-natal woman looking to ease back in to gentle exercise, you want to ensure you don’t unwittingly sign yourself up to a male dominant weightlifting cross-fit gym. Pay the gym a quick visit before heading in there for a session, the staff will be more than happy to give you a quick tour.
Likewise, find out about your trainer. Make sure they’re experienced and qualified in the area of your goals and that they’re a good fit for your personality. Read testimonials or ask them to put you in touch with any current clients, a good trainer won’t mind doing this.
Find out exactly what class you are heading in to. If you are totally un-co, you don’t want to innocently wander in to a super complicated dance class. And similarly if you enjoy busting out complicated moves, you don’t want to find yourself bored to tears in a zen style yoga. Any decent studio will have a descriptive class guide available.
Ask questions but don’t feel pressured. Gyms often pay a very low base salary and reception staff / advisors / trainers are reliant on commission to earn a living. This can lead to gym goers feeling pressured in to signing up for memberships to the wrong gym for them. If you aren’t feeling it, politely advise that you aren’t ready to sign up yet but appreciate their help. They will know what this means.
So, what are the signs it’s all heading in the right direction?
On your first visit to a gym you should be offered a one off intro offer. This could be a free session in the gym, a discounted rate for the visit or a special price for a certain number of days. The industry is so competitive that if a gym is proud of what they offer, they won’t be worried about losing out on a few $$’s to offer you this. They should be confident that you would sign up immediately as a result of your trial.
You should be shown around and given safety and emergency procedures. Either a receptionist, trainer or sales rep should give you a full guide of the gym to include location of emergency exits, first aid equipment and fire extinguishers. They should also include the change rooms, toilets and any other facilities such as saunas / steam rooms. And of course they should give you a comprehensive tour of the gym equipment and class studios are.
And how can you help yourself to have a harmonious experience?
Introduce yourself to everyone! It pays to be friendly. You can guarantee if you are friends with all of the staff you will have a far more pleasant experience on the gym floor. This also pays off if you ever need/want a trainer, you will already know who you like and who is going to be able to help you best.
Ask good questions…
How many members does the gym have? You want to choose a gym that has a mid size clientele. You don’t want to spend most of your time at the gym standing around waiting for machines because the gym is too full. And likewise, it is probably a bad sign if the gym has very few members; there must be a reason for this and it’s usually not a good one.
Find out if they cap class numbers. Good studios will cap the number of participants per class to allow the trainer to focus adequately on all participants and their technique. This keeps members safe and helps to accelerate your progression.
What level of qualification does your chosen trainer have? You need to know any trainer you choose, and the trainers within the gym you train at, are qualified to the correct level. This level will vary depending on what you want to achieve. Generally to instruct a class, the qualification needs to be at least fitness instructor (certificate 3 in fitness), a personal trainer requires a certificate 3 and 4 in fitness and for any specific disciplines extra certification in that specialization is required.
When do you know ‘this is the one’?
If it feels like a good fit, it probably is. If you feel comfortable in the gym and are looking forward to your next visit before you even leave the first – go for it. The same applies for your trainer. You will have a gut instinct – go with it.
If you are choosing a new personal trainer, make sure they show a genuine interest in you and your goals. They should make you feel empowered, confident and as if achieving your goals is within near reach.
You should have fun. Whether it was a gym session, a class or a training session you should walk away on a high. Making exercise enjoyable means you will remain consistent with it. This applies to all involved in your experience.
If the list of classes on offer has you excited to go back – go back! A good gym will offer a great range of class options for you to try, at times that suit you.