Happy New Year

cycle

I was a student of indoor cycling for years. A little more than a year ago I was certified to teach and have been teaching regularly since February/March.

I joined a gym in June 2007 and have been a regular since.

When I joined Weight Watchers in October 2006 it was advised that exercise didn’t start immediately. First reduce the food portions, make healthier and more filling choices, drink more water, etc.

I can’t remember how long it was recommended that you first work on losing weight with food and then introduce exercise.

I know I took that advisement for longer than was given.

I started exercising in the mini-gym at work in March 2007. And eventually I joined a gym in June 2007. I quickly figured out that classes were better for me to keep me motivated and help me exercise harder and better than on my own.

As a teacher of yoga and cycling in gyms and at a studio I have joked with my students about New Year’s Resolutioners. There may be someone on your bike, in your yoga spot or in your spot at any other class you may take.

I’ve told my students to smile, wave and maybe make new friends with this person. Maybe they will only be around a few months. Maybe they are here for years. But we should make them feel welcome and embrace this change.

I’ve never really been into New Year’s Resolutions … because, at least for me, they don’t work.

And I believe regular exercise, eating healthy, drinking enough water is a lifestyle choice. Every day I have to make the decision to have healthy meals, drink my daily water intake, reduce my alcohol and junk food, practice yoga (at home and occasionally taking a class). Since I teach indoor cycling five times a week that exercise choice is basically made for me–but really, it’s still a choice.

I had my normal numbers in my cycle class this morning. Though many regulars weren’t there and a lot of new faces were. I think those who had the day off from work were in class.

I wasn’t sure if my numbers would be low today as many would likely be sleeping in or if the New Year’s Resolutioners would already be flocking the gym.

I don’t think the Resolutioners were flocking quite yet. The gym was pretty quiet.

So when do those who decide to add exercise into their resolution actually add it? Day 1? The weekend after New Year’s Day? The Monday after New Year’s Day?

From a fitness coach on Quroa, the second week of January (at the gym) is almost always the busiest of the year.

From an article titled, Is the new year the best time to sign up for a gym membership?, Tim Keightley, executive vice president of operations for fitness chain Gold’s Gym, said the two best bargain times for a consumer to make a decision to join a fitness club are the summer and the new year.

One day when I was at the gym over the summer I overheard some of the staff talking about how “today and tomorrow” are the biggest days for people to cancel their memberships. It was July 30.

I’ve searched the World Wide Web to see if I can find anything to back this up. I can’t find anything specific.

From an article, Why your New Year’s Resolutions don’t work, 50 percent of all new health club members quit within the first six months of signing up according to the International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association. By March new member attendance has diminished “considerably.”

Gym statistics: members, equipment and cancellations says these are the top three reasons people cancel their gym memberships:

  • It’s too expensive.
  • They could exercise somewhere else for free.
  • They weren’t using their membership.

Here’s my advice for joining a gym, yoga studio, etc.:

  • If you want to join the gym or a yoga studio (or barre, pilates studio, etc.) in January then you should.
  • If you know you don’t have time to really get to the gym until February or March, wait to sign up then.
  • Make sure to set up realistic expectations.
  • Make sure the membership price fits in your budget.
  • Review your own fitness goals.
  • Check the class schedule and/or check out the gym equipment and see if your needs will be met.
  • Check with work and see if your company has a wellness program. You may get all or part of your membership paid.
  • Many times a membership is cheaper if you sign up for a full year in advance. (One year I signed up for a membership. If I paid for two years upfront the third was free. It was a good deal if I actually went to the gym regularly. But I really didn’t at the time.) Sign up for what you think is reasonable for you. Month-to-month or class pass might be the best option for you.
  • Don’t feel pressured to include a personal trainer or private sessions if that’s not something you really want or can afford.
  • If you sign up and you aren’t getting your money’s worth then cancel the membership. You can always rejoin when you are ready. (When you sign up for a membership make sure to read the fine print on canceling the membership.)

Happy New Year! Happy exercise! Happy yogaing! Happy hydrating! Happy moderation! Happy whatever you decide this year should be for you!

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