Getting the most from your gym experience

Gregory Whyte performs a modified chin-up exercise.

Joining a gym is a step toward improving your fitness and/or health.

It is also possible to attend a gym for a long time, yet fail to reach an established goal or even see significant results.

The truth is, attending a gym — even when much effort and time are contributed — is no guarantee to success. Getting the most from ones gym experience requires proper planning, adequate preparation and an attitude that fosters success.

What follows are a number of tips that have proved helpful to many in the past. Use them as you plan (or re-plan) and prepare to get the greatest benefit from your gym efforts.

As a first step, determine your purpose for joining a gym. Is it to get in shape, lose weight, forge a more attractive body or is it something else?

Next, discuss your decision to improve your fitness or health with your physician. Guidance and help can be had when this is done.

With your purpose in mind, visit a number of gyms to determine the best one for you. The one you select should be favorable to your schedule, should be affordable and should provide the equipment and other services required to help you reach your goal.

Your first few days at the gym are important ones. Normally, you will be given a tour of the facility and be introduced to the various pieces of equipment. Also, a training program will be established for you. This program is vital to your success and should not be taken lightly. Some gyms will create a program for you that is based on a standard template. Such a program often lacks the personal touch that can help to make it an effective one.

To improve your chances for success, it is important that you secure a “personalized” training program.

Some gyms will assign you a temporary personal trainer. He/she will work with you until you are comfortable using the equipment. From that point on, you are on your own. It would be to your advantage to secure the services of a certified personal trainer who is capable of creating the correct program for you and guiding you towards success. In many cases, a few paid sessions are all you would really need. Once you become familiar with the program you can continue training on your own.

As you strive to reach your goal, keep the following in mind: train three or more times each week, each session should be 45 minutes or longer and should include a variety of activities, be patient, train to acquire results progressively and consider safety.

The truth is, success at the gym will depend, primarily, on you. The time and effort you contribute to the experience, plus your general attitude, are the elements that will help to ensure your success. Good Luck! A third article will be available next week.

For additional information, visit the Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s Fitness Center at 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte or call 941-625-4175. ext. 263.

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