Ambition and determination are two key components to reaching fitness goals and achieving healthy weight loss. For some people these goals can best be reached in a group setting – a fitness culture that exists in the gym, pushing a person to work harder to achieve maximum results. For other people, like myself, these environments are not appealing places to visit. The resulting avoidance of these places does little to help out with fitness goals.
Then there is the issue of workout environment burnout. Some days I enjoy tennis, other days I feel like swimming. Then there are the weeks when I can’t imagine not taking my after work bike ride. Arguably any of these things could be performed in a gym setting, but I particularly like doing these activities outdoors. The idea of being cooped up in a building, sweating with a crowd of people, is not an appealing thought to me.
I speak from experience – I belonged to a 24 hour fitness location for one year. Using an advertised special to sign up for a year contract, I gave it my best shot and attempted to take advantage of everything that the fitness location had to offer. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out, no pun intended.So why didn’t it work for me?
Cycling after work involves me changing into my riding gear, grabbing my bike out of the garage, and heading out for a sunset ride. Total time to get ready and be on my way towards my next fitness goal: about 5 minutes. Swimming entails heading to the nearby pool, and tennis is just a matter of walking 2 blocks away to the local courts. Bonus: I get even more exercise from the walk to the workout location. Traveling to my “local” gym, on the other hand, involved driving 7 miles away (about 15 minutes in Southern-California-traffic-time), finding a parking space in the always overcrowded lot, waiting for machines, and scheduling my workout around available aerobic classes. Definitely not as convenient and much more frustrating. Even though the gym may be open 24 hours, it is an even easier option to get a quick workout right here at home. Dancing, walking, aerobics, weight lifting, and strength training are all activities that are quiet enough to be done even at the latest hour from the comfort of my own home.
Those people who enjoy gyms know that there are a variety of machines and activities to enjoy at fitness clubs. For me, though, the variety I enjoy comes not only from the activities, but also from the related sights and experiences. For example, I like checking out new places as I ride through the neighborhood. I enjoy the feeling of the breeze against my skin, the scent from the neighborhood flowers, and the sound of leaves crackling under my tires. Not to mention the fact that I can also multitask and pick up groceries from the local market on the way home. Then, the next day, I can stroll over to the tennis court to meet a friend and my sensory experience begins anew. If I don’t have that kind of variety I get bored and would undoubtedly stop exercising all together.
I am the first to admit it – I’m one frugal lady; a fitness cheapskate. The idea of spending nearly $30 a month for something I could get for a fraction of the price elsewhere does not appeal to me. After purchasing the necessary gear, I can do a variety of exercises at home and around the neighborhood at essentially no additional cost. Add to that the great variety of aerobic and dance exercise DVD’s out there, many available on Netflix, and the low-cost fitness possibilities are endless.
I have a number of friends who swear by fitness centers, particularly those open 24 hours. They cannot imagine working out at home without the group support of other fitness minded people. For me, however, there are a lot of options that exist outside of the gym setting, and I enjoy the variety of trying something new each week. In other words, what may work perfectly for one person may not work for another. Exploring what works best for you is the optimal way to eventually reach your personal goals. After all, motivation works best when you are in an environment that fosters a positive attitude and feelings of ambitious enthusiasm. If you find that outside a fitness club, then go for it!