Exercise And Fitness; Where Do I Start?

Exercise and fitness can be very intimidating as choices range from Pilates classes and cardio machines to personal trainers – that it’s hard to know what to sign up for. Here are some suggestions.

The first time you walk into a fitness gym it can be very intimidating. So many decisions to make, and the choices are many. There is a full slate of fitness classes to choose from, and there is a well stocked gym with trainers at your disposal. It’s hard to know what to do to meet your needs.

Let’s look at what most gyms offer and what is best for you. Most gyms offer group exercise classes under a variety of categories. There’s fitness in a boot camp style, dance classes like aerobics, there’s mind/body (yoga, Pilates) and muscular conditioning where weights are used with the exercises.

Usually the classes are 30 to 90 minutes long and offered two or three times a week and included in the price of your membership.

Intensity varies depending on the instructor who demonstrates the exercises giving cues on proper execution. Exercisers follow along and monitor their own intensity.

The plus about this is that a group setting can be a motivating factor as can the instructor. This is also good for beginners who might not know the difference between certain exercises and how to perform them properly.

There’s usually a wide variety of classes to choose from, so the experienced exerciser can always find a new and fresh workout.

The negative is that these group sessions are made up of mostly women and so men might be a bit intimidated or feel out of place. These classes are designed for many and so individual needs might not be met.

A new format is small groups of three to six people working out. This is similar to the large group in that there is an instructor, but here the instructor will also spend some one-on-one time coaching during the actual session.

Classes are usually 60 to 90 minutes long, two or three times a week and offer specialized exercise equipment like barbells and even treadmills. You might have to pay an extra fee to take this type of class.

The positive about this group can be motivation from being pushed by those around you without getting lost in the crowd. There is more interaction with the instructor and so more control and probably better results as far as reaching your goals.

The negatives are that it costs extra and there are fewer options as far as the type of class you take. Because the group is small you need to get along with the others in the group.

There is personal training which means one-on-one training with a personal trainer who sets up and individual routine for you based on your fitness level and goals. Working with a trainer lets you use more equipment and sessions are usually 60 minutes long.

The positives of this type of training are that you are held accountable and your program is especially made to suit your fitness needs and goals. You will get to know your trainer personally and this can help you to achieve greater results faster.

The negatives are that it can be costly ($50 to $100 per hour). There is also the risk that your trainer might not be as knowledgeable as they should be leaving exercisers feeling they did not get what they paid for.

You could workout by yourself using the endless supply of cardio machines, weight training machines and free weights. You are left on your own to reach your fitness goals any way you want to.

The positive here is that you can workout whenever you want and for as long as you want to.

Use your own routine on your timetable. Hook up your MP3 player and play your tunes to get you motivated.

The negatives are that you need to be disciplined. There is no supervision and so poor technique is not usually corrected and can result in poor performance or injury. There are times when the gym is busy and so you might have to wait for that special piece of equipment you want to use.