I had a gym membership when I was in college and really liked it! I enjoyed taking the classes, having access to all the machines and equipment and having that motivation of seeing people working out. Well….then I graduated, started my career and had kids and all my free time left like the wind (along with my motivation and metabolism). I knew I always wanted to get back in there, but it hand’t really been in our budget or time schedule. This year, my kids are finally in school longer so we thought it was the time to make that commitment to get back in there.
Here’s why I wanted to join:
** To get fit: If you follow my blog, you know I have had issues with my metabolism. It happens with age and also with not working out the correct muscles. Trying to work out at home with the kids is CHALLENGING. Impossible, no, but hard to say the least. I like incorporating my kids into my workouts, but to really lose some weight and get toned, I knew I needed that time away to focus on it.
** Speaking of time away…TIME AWAY! I am so busy as it is, but this hour a day is such a great time for me to refresh and reboot to be a better mom and wife.
** Access to the equipment and classes that I didn’t have at home. I love to run, but the last year or so I have been kinda burnt out from it. I wanted to expand my repertoire and use some new machines to spice up my cardio routine, if you will.
Is is easy to add in one more thing into my already crazy schedule?? No, definitely not. But I am making a commitment and sticking with it. We joined three weeks ago and have been pretty good about making it apart of our daily routine. I have put together some tips for moms to use to help make a gym routine work, when you have so much already going on.
1. Research the right facility for you. There are all sorts of gyms: big, small and some in-between. Do some research and check out the different facilities. Not all gyms have classes, for example, and if you are interested in taking those, you want to find the right one for you. Also, do you need child care? How much is it? What’s the facility like? We chose to get child care for only one child so I will go when the older two are in school. My husband will go after work, so it works for us.
2. Get Organized. Now that you have found the right gym for you and your family, get yourself organized before you go. Get yourself a cute bag that can carry what you need. Pack your tech equipment, towel, water bottle and showering materials if you decided to shower there. If you find yourself having only a limited amount of time to go to the gym, don’t waste part of it searching for your junk everywhere, be ready to go!
3. Plan your time. Like I said above, if you have only one hour to workout 3 0r 4 times a week, you don’t want to be wasting your time walking around not knowing what to do. Most gyms will offer you a one time fitness assessment. Usually they want you to sigh up for fitness training with a personal trainer, but if you have a small budget like me, that may not be an option. Instead, use this one time meeting to ask about some tips on what you should be doing: how many days of cardio? How many days with weights? How many reps/cycles of workouts should you do? Ask some questions to help get you started and then do some additional research at home. Check out these sites for some places to get started: Women’s Health Magazine, Body Building (don’t be intimidated by this site, scroll down and it shows you how to use certain machines and which to do on which day!), or check out this Pinterest board from Workout Labs, which has some awesome printable workouts for you to do!
4. Work it into your schedule. This is the hardest part of going to the gym. If you and your spouse decide to join together, sit down and figure out how to make it work for your family. If you have little ones and want to avoid paying for child care, perhaps you can swap and go on different days or even swap babysitting with another mom? If you decided to pay for a child, try and go as early as you can before you lose your motivation to go. What we have been doing is when my older two go to school, I’ll take my youngest and head over. I’ll usually go around 8:30 and take a class a few days a week and then add in an additional bit for weights. I feel bad leaving her in there too long, so I am a big planner (see above!) on my time so I am not wasting my precious time.
5. Use tech to help you. One of the best ways to get motivated is to see results. I love, love, love my Polar FT4 watch (which you can buy on Amazon pretty cheap) and how it tells me how many calories I am burning. Seeing this number climb keeps me wanting to work hard and go back the next day!
6. Set some goals, and be realistic about them. You should be setting some goals for yourself and also your time commitment. Currently my goal is to go to the gym 4 days a week. Last week I went 5 but this week I will probably only be able to go 4, and that’s ok. Even 3 days is ok because things happen, but if I can get there 4 days a week, I know I will see the best results. I also have a weight goal in mind. I would love to lose around 15 pounds but know that won’t happen over night. On my fitness assessment I also had my body fat % read and am in the “fair” range but really want to lessen that. I know it will take time and that consistency is key, both at the gym and at home with my eating. So set your goals and maybe even get a gym notebook to record what you do and when. This is something I plan on doing and will bring it with me so I can record which workouts/machines I did and on which days.
7. Motivation is key. Motivation is SO important! You need to decide what’s going to motivate you- is it just going? Is is seeing your results? Or perhaps you want more? Maybe set a goal for yourself to go at least 3 days each week for a month and if you meet that, buy a cute new workout outfit as a prize. Next month, try for 4 days a week with a new prize. I LOVE treating myself to something new, and doing this helps to keep us excited to go!
I hope these tips help you if you have been considering joining a gym (or getting back to going if you already have a membership! I have been loving that hour to myself and yes, it is sometimes hard to make that choice to go, especially on those days when you have SO much other stuff going on, but making that commitment will soon be one you will look forward to.
What’s your fitness routine at home? Do you go to the gym? What tips help you get up and get going?