Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join a Gym This New Year

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join a Gym This New Year

Starting January 1st, formerly empty gyms all over the country will suddenly become overflowing with people set on making this year the year they finally get in shape.

And whether their reason is to lose weight, gain muscle, improve overall health or something else entirely, New Years resolutions are the number one reason people of all fitness levels pony up the cash and decide to finally join their nearby gym.

But as a former personal trainer and gym-addict, I’d urge you to save your money and take a different—and more successful—approach and not get a gym membership this year.

Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t join a gym this New Year:

Advertising

You probably won’t even use it

When I used to work at a gym, I’d see a flood of people join in January. They’d act really enthusiastic about getting in shape, and often make it in two or three times a week, diligently doing their treadmill workout or trying a new class or two. But after about a few weeks, they’d start coming in less and less until finally after a month or two, they’d stop showing up altogether.

In fact, nearly 4 out of 5 Americans don’t even use their gym membership—except maybe at the beginning of the year.

And whether it’s because you’re intimidated by the (unnecessary) machines in the gym, you hate the commute or you just don’t know what workouts to do, save your money and work out at home or outside instead.

The equipment sucks anyway

I’m always shocked when I go into a gym I’ve never been in before and there’s not even a basic pull up bar, a jump rope or a few kettlebells for people to use.

Advertising

In fact, most standard gyms (not including CrossFit gyms) are overflowing with fancy machines and may only offer a few piddly free weights. You’re better off buying a few basic pieces of equipment for your own home, and focusing mostly on bodyweight exercises instead.

It costs too much money

Depending on where you live (gyms in cities are more expensive), a gym membership can cost anywhere from $30 a month to $200 a month, and that’s not even counting the initiation fees. That means you’re spending $360 to $2,400 on a membership to something you might only use once or twice a month (or, not at all if you’re like most gym members).

Want a better way to use your money? Get a few trusty pieces of home workout equipment like a doorway pull up bar, jump rope, even some parallettes or a kettlebell or two. Not only will these be one time expenses that will more likely than not last through a lifetime of workouts, you’re also more likely to actually use them since they’ll never be too far away.

It takes too much time

For most people, a trip to the gym consists of the time it takes to drive there, changing in the locker room, a 45 minute or so slow paced workout or a class, a shower and maybe a trip to the smoothie bar—altogether taking anywhere from an hour or two every single time they go.

Advertising

So it’s no wonder many people have trouble finding the time to work out—an hour or two of your day is a lot to commit to 3-6 days a week!

Working out at home will not only save you money, it’ll also cut the time you spend getting to and from exercise by more than half—especially if you do more efficient forms of exercise like HIIT.

Bodyweight training is better anyway

You’ve probably noticed that most gyms don’t prioritize bodyweight training, focusing instead on shiny equipment to lure in members. But most machines are mimicking bodyweight exercises anyway—just in less efficient, less beneficial way.

For example, when you sit at a biceps curl machine to bust out a few sets of curls, you end up only using your biceps muscles. On the other hand, if you were to stand up straight and do biceps curls using a pair of dumbbells—or better yet, just do some pull ups—you’ll not only work your biceps, but also your core muscles as well.

Advertising

And since bodyweight training helps our body work like it’s supposed to work, you’re better off skipping the gym altogether and just doing your workout at home instead.

Skip the gym this New Year

So this year, rather than forking over the initiation fee and monthly membership costs, consider skipping the gym altogether.

You’ll not only save money and time, you’ll also be more efficient and more likely to keep up a consistent workout schedule throughout the entire year rather than just the first few weeks.

Image credit: deanetr

More by this author

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join a Gym This New Year 9 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks 10 Full Body Exercises That Get You the Most Bang For Your Buck 5 Effortless Tricks To Make Healthy Eating Easy 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Spending Less Time Working Out

Trending in Fitness

1 How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle to See Results Fast 2 How to Start Exercising Right Now (And Stick to It) 3 7 Interval Training Exercises Best for Beginners 4 7 Strategies on How to Motivate Yourself to Work out 5 11 Resistance Band Exercises for Legs

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

Advertising

If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

Advertising

Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

Advertising

Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

    Advertising

    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next