How to Get the Most from Your Gym Membership & Avoid Burning Out

My buddy Mr. Credit Card called me up recently and I learned he joined a gym. In fact, he even started taking Yoga lessons and can now, miraculously, touch his toes! So I asked him if he would like to write a post and share a few pointers on how anyone can make their gym membership as successful he’s made his. Be sure to join Mr. Credit Card on Facebook and Google+.

Last year, Mrs. Credit Card and I joined the Philadelphia Sports Club. It’s been a year since we joined and we have absolutely no regrets about it.

I recently wrote a post about how Amex Platinum cardholders can get Equinox gym discounts; now I want to share my thoughts on how we get the most from our gym membership.

While it’s true you can get fit for little or no money, the reason we decided to join the gym and hire personal trainers was because Mrs. Credit Card tore up her knee while we were skiing in Colorado.

One of the first “perks” of joining our gym was that we got a free evaluation and four free training sessions.

The first workout was brutal to say the least; but it made me want to get more “personal training.” So I made appointments with my trainer once a week. Mrs. Credit Card decided to do the same and we coordinated our schedules.

Before long, we were attending the gym two additional days per week on our own.

The Benefits of Having a Personal Trainer

I used to lift weights when I was much younger, and I used to play soccer, so I appreciate being fit and strong.

One of the great things about having my trainer work out with me is that he has introduced me to the latest training techniques. They also push you harder. Previously, my solo workouts usually consisted of only simple stretching and a light jog. Not any more.

When I had my first session with the personal trainer, he had me do something called “dynamic warm ups.” And although it was supposed to be just a warm up, it sure felt like a workout to me! He also had me do other techniques and exercises I never knew about and, as a result, I got fit very quickly.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Credit Card was also improving her fitness very quickly. Her trainer focused her on leg presses to improve her quad strength, and her overall tone was improving as well.

Pardon the Interruptions

Inevitably, we would run into periods where we could not work out. For example, during summer, we stopped working out for a month or so because we were away. During Christmas, we also took a week-long break.

There were other interruptions. During the year, Mrs. Credit Card developed mild headaches every day, which kept her from working out for a few months. So we had part of our membership refunded. Yes, the better gyms will give you a refund due to lack of use for medical reasons.

Don’t Forget the Yoga and Pilates!

I’ve now started taking Yoga classes. I just wanted to check it out, but it turns out that I really like it. The best part is it’s less strenuous than working out with my trainer! And I get to work on flexibility, which is my weakness.

I also started Pilates lessons and I love that as well. Pilates forces me to work on my abs, which I never work on my own because it’s really boring.

So right now, my workout routine consists of three Yoga classes and one Pilates lesson a week.

Mrs. Credit Card and I still have a few more personal training sessions to go and once we complete them, we’ll probably stop. But we’ll both continue to work out in the gym.

How to Get the Most from Your Gym Membership

Here are the main reasons why joining the gym worked out for us:

1. We had a real reason to go. The reason we joined the gym was not to fulfill a resolution. We recognized there was a real need to do so; Mrs. Credit Card’s knee was hurting when she walked up the stairs and she really needed to strengthen her legs. And since she was going, I figured I’d join in and workout myself.

2. Having a personal trainer pushed us on. Yes, it was very costly. But we deflected some of the impacts by buying a 24-session training pack that helped get us to the gym regularly the first few months — and that kept our momentum going. If not for the personal training, I’m not sure we’d still be regular members. In fact, while working out on my own, I always pushed myself harder because I wanted to be ready for the next session with my trainer!

3. Attending classes kept our enthusiasm up. Attending Yoga classes was a great motivation for me. Now, I really look forward to them and, if anything, this will be my sole reason for signing up again.

4. It helped to have a gym partner. You’re more likely to quit working out if you’re doing it alone. So get a buddy. Work out with your spouse.

5. We didn’t set goals. It may seem counter-intuitive, but many folks fail to follow up and go to the gym because they set goals. For most people, setting targets like wanting to have a six-pack by summer is a recipe that will have them calling it quits within a few months. If you want your gym experience to be successful, don’t bother setting unrealistic goals for yourself. Instead, make it all about lifestyle change.

Photo Credit: lululemon athletica

4 comments to How to Get the Most from Your Gym Membership & Avoid Burning Out

  • I think staying healthy and in shape is really important and if that requires a gym membership than so be it. I have a membership which I use at lunch time at work. In addition to that my hubby and I work out at home in the morning. We try to diversify what we do so that we prevent injuries and improve our fitness in all sorts of ways.
    I like how you pointed out yoga and pilates. These two are very important for balance and core strength. I have been doing it for years and am grateful I have. A strong core and good balance are key for when you get older.

  • Miss T

    Kudos to you and your hubby for having the discipline to work out in the morning. Speaking about balance, when the warrior 1 pose last 30 seconds, the balance and legs start to go!

    Mr CC

  • I actually work out at home now. It leads to less money out of my pocket but I’m still getting a decent work out in. I use Tony Horton’s P90X and it’s amazing and totally leads to results. When my insurance gave me a break on my premium for going to a gym, I went. But, with my new job I don’t have that option. I’m just fine with that.

  • [...] How to Get the Most from Your Gym Membership & Avoid Burning Out I usually have two things that keep me from really hitting a home run at a gym. The first is the soreness that comes from a period of not exercising. It goes away in a few weeks, but it’s hard to get through. The second is injury and convincing myself to return to the routine after recovering from a minor injury. (@ len penzo) Related Posts The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Dealing With Stress EditionThe Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: How I Round Up EditionThe Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Hierarchy of Pants EditionThe Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Post-Super Bowl EditionThe Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Places to Follow Me Edition Did you like this article? You can get the complete text of all the latest articles at The Simple Dollar in your email inbox each morning by entering your email address below. Your address will only be used for mailing you the articles, and each one will include a link so you can unsubscribe at any time. No comments yet. Be the first. Leave a reply [...]

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