I am not one of those people who have ever been very good about exercising at home. The idea of getting up an extra 1/2 hour to run (ahem walk fast-ish) when all I have to do is hit snooze has never appealed to me. I was successful at one point, when I lived alone, in college. Add 3 kids, a 45 commute (on a good day), day care drop off/pick up, homework, and dinner and when 4:30 rolls around, Im just too tired. So, I had to come up with another solution.
I work for a great company. During a health fair about October or November of 2012, they highlighted several local gyms, organic eateries, fitness gear and healthy eating options. So, I looked at the local gyms being showcased. There wer no less than 5. That is a pretty nice selection, and they all offered a token discount for my companys employees. (SCORE!) I got jazzed.
I toured and tried several gyms for free. I really enjoyed the experience and the workout at one gym, but ended up at another. Why? Because of these 5 things:
- Like all things: location, location, location: find a gym that is in a convenient location. Don’t kid yourself, you won’t drive or walk the extra 20min out of your way to go. There is always a ready excuse, you are too busy. Don’t fall victim to the same trap you’ve been in.
- Price: The first gym I simply couldn’t afford, even with the discount offered to the employees of my company. It was a pay by session class, and if I went 3times a week like I wanted to: total cost would have been about $300 per month.
- Amenities: I don’t necessarily need towel service, but if your gym time is during lunch or before work, you definitely want showers. One gym I toured routinely had classes of about 20 people, but only offered 2 single-occupancy shower rooms.
- Classes/Instructors: Quality instructors and a variety of classes is key! For each gym I toured, I tried different times and different classes and different instructors of the same classes. It was a great way to get a feel for what they had to offer. But, it also let me know how jazzed (or not) I would be to go to that class. If Im not jazzed about the music, the quality of the instructor, or the class itself – Im not going to continue to go.
- Time: This and Location are the MOST important items on the list. You can have the best gym in the best location, but if you don’t use it, the membership does you no good but drain your checking account. I have learned this about my life, I have more time to workout during my workday than after I am home. Especially now that my husband is travelling, my time at home is not my own. My time at work, I can control what appointments I accept when, to a certain extent. Try early morning, lunchtime or after work. I have learned the 3pm hour is perfect for me. It’s in between the lunch and after work crowd, so no one around. This means I’m not embarrassed, I have my pic of machines and I don’t have to shower since I leave at 4:30 anyway. I spend an hour at the gym, by the time I cool down and walk back, I have just enough time to answer critical emails, plan my next day, clean my desk and leave.
For those of you in the Seattle area: I recommend Fly Wheel. It was a great experience, the staff was amazing and the workout vibe was off the charts. My only drawbacks were the location, I just couldn’t see how I could get there and back during lunch. (I was a 15min walk away, but add that to workout time, shower time etc. and I was gone too long) and the lack of shower facilities. If you are in the Bellevue or SLU area of Seattle I would definitely try them out. I ache to go back and can’t wait till my office moves buildings. I will be closer and hopefully flying soon! I ended up at Seattle Executive Fitness. It is pretty inexpensive, but the classes are not always great and the people in management can be kind of rude. Its a typical gym in that regard. But its closer, I get more workout time that way and they have more showers for when I do need them.
Ive found what works for me. Have you found what works for you? Im interested in trying other ideas, so comment below about how you fit exercise into your daily routine as you juggle work and parenthood.