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Worried About Fitting In? Relax…

By WLR Staff, by Pat Wilson

Reservations and fears kick in – the bewildering array of machines and fit individuals leave you feeling scared. You don’t know what to do or where to begin and you don’t know a soul in the building! You picture yourself out of breath and red in the face surrounded by fit and healthy club members all making it look so easy.

The truth is that this scenario is rare. Most Health and Fitness Clubs see a broad range of ages, shapes and sizes walk through their doors everyday. These Centres are fitted out with the latest gym equipment, classes and trained professionals who want to help you to be fit and follow an exercise routine which suits you.

Which Health & Fitness Club? Things to Consider

  • Size of Club – Do you want to socialise whilst exercising? A larger club will have a wider group of people to meet. Conversely a small club may offer a little more privacy and quiet areas.
  • Attention – Can the staff give enough individual time to members if needed.
  • Hours – Do the opening times suit you and fit in with convenient times for you to use the facilities.
  • Peak times – Does the club become busy during certain times and how many members can use the facilities with ease.
  • Your Fitness Goals – What are your personal goals? If you want to concentrate on losing weight you want to see a large selection of aerobic equipment? If you want to increase muscle strength you will need fixed weight machines and free weights.
  • Club Location– How close is the club to your home or work? Is there local transport to it? Does it have a convenient car park?
  • Staff – Are the staff qualified through an accredited organisation? It is important that the club has trained and knowledgeable staff who can guide you through the correct use of equipment and motivate and encourage you. Is it easy to talk to personal trainers and how often are they available?
  • Does the club offer a free induction when you can visit, see what the club has to offer, get a feel for the place and weigh up the pros and cons?

Using a Health & Fitness Club

Clubs now offer many different facilities – try as much as possible to find what is most enjoyable and worthwhile for you.

Equipment at the club may include:

  • Treadmills - Walking or running are familiar movements which come naturally making the treadmill a fairly easy exercise to learn. Treadmills provide good aerobic fitness, burn calories and tone the leg muscles. Most treadmills have side and front rails to help balance you whilst using and can be programmed for a variety of intensities.
  • Cross Country Ski Machines - These machines provide excellent aerobic conditioning and some muscle strength. They use most of the muscles of the body causing high calorie use. Additionally ski machines are low impact placing little strain on specific joints. Great for all-round fitness.
  • Rowing Machines - Condition the entire body particularly the abdomen and back. If used correctly there is little strain on the joints of the body.
  • Step/Stepper - Based on the action of climbing stairs, steps can be hard but worthwhile increasing both aerobic capacity and strength of the legs and buttocks.
  • Exercise Bikes - Cycling is a low-impact exercise that puts less strain on the joints and back than running or jogging. The beauty of using a bike in the Gym is that you beat the weather!
  • Cross Trainers - Provide a good low-impact aerobic workout that target many different muscles. As they work all the muscles fairly evenly there is no risk of any one muscle group becoming more developed than another.
  • Resistance Exercise - This means working with Weights - Free Weights, the Weights on a machine or your own Body Weight. Performing simple, repetitive movements works on a particular muscle or group of muscles. This can build muscle size and strength and tone and define your body.

You could try a class at the Club to vary your routine. There are often many different classes running which offer something for everyone – Aerobic, Dance, Spinning, Step, etc. Most clubs have classes for people starting at different levels of fitness.

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