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Forget the Gym and Think Options

Posted Oct 31 2009 11:01pm

Yesterday I participated in a wellness fair and listened as one of the fitness professionals at the booth addressed the weight concerns of a gentleman who stopped by.  The trainer suggested, “…Hitting the gym 3 to 4 times per week, about an hour each time in order to shed extra pounds and body fat. Do you belong to a gym?”  The man responded, “I belong to a gym, I just never go.” The trainer persisted – you have to get there 3 to 4 times a week to shed body fat.

Sensing this man’s resistance to the gym, I asked, “Do you like going to the gym?”  He crinkled his nose and said, “Well, I used to but not so much anymore. I don’t know what to do when I get there. Plus I have young children and it’s hard to take the time.”

People need options.

“Have you heard of Exercise TV?” I asked him.  He hadn’t.  I explained that Exercise TV ( or available On Demand if you have cable) is a great fitness and wellness resource for busy people. With videos ranging from 2 to 60 minutes, you can get your strength training, yoga, cardio or ab workout in the comfort of your own home at a time that works for you.  Many videos are available free while others are available for a small fee.

His eyes lit up, “I’ll check that out, that sounds good.”

Contrary to some beliefs, the gym is NOT the only (or necessarily the best) way to shed weight and firm up.  If you like the gym by all means go for it! If you are paying for an unused membership, you may want to consider other options.

Fitting in exercise has become complicated, time consuming and expensive.  Yet exercise is a key component to healthy living – for stress management, weight management and overall health and well-being.

If you struggle with fitting in or sticking with an exercise program consider the following:

  • Your readiness to commit. You have to want it – no one else can do it for you.  You may consider finding an accountability partner or group.
  • Your options. The gym is one, but not the only one.  Think about online resources, local parks and recreational facilities, or how you can set something up at home.
  • Your lifestyle. Choose activities you enjoy and that fit your current lifestyle (ie, time, money, family) and you’ll be more likely to stick with whatever you choose.
  • Small steps count. Avoid focusing on the big goal (losing XXlbs) and take small steps towards a healthier you.  Patience is key.  Remember, you’ll never get there if you never start.

I quit the gym about 6 years ago to save time and money. I purchased some free weights and set up a space in my home. I also use local parks and recreational facilities for hiking, biking and jogging.  My activities vary daily and I engage in exercises I enjoy and that fit my schedule and my budget. As a result, I’m more likely to stick with them.

What about you? How do you maintain a regular exercise routine?  Do you struggle with finding time and activities that fit your lifestyle?

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