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to gym or not to gym

Hello PTs. All weekend I have been debating with myself about joining a gym. I thought I would ask for some input from all of you.

I have lost 22 pounds here at PT, though I still have plenty more to lose (I weigh 228 pounds and I'm 5' 6"). So far, I have gotten myself more active in my daily life and have used walking and an exercise bike and rowing machine. I have DVD workouts that I could use (but haven't lately), and dumbells ranging from 2 to 10 pounds. So I can make the argument that I could just use the resources I already have on hand to become stronger and more fit. It would cost me nothing.

On the other hand, there is a gym down the street from me. It would be easy to get to. They have a lot of machines and free weights and trainers. Since I would like to build some muscle, using the machines sounds really attractive. And a trainer could presumably help me to develop my physical capacity but not hurt myself (I have some issues with a formerly broken ankle and foot). And there is something to be said for the fact that joining a gym would feel like a declaration to the world that I am invested in my health.

But the gym will cost a monthly fee, plus I will need to get some workout clothes (at home when I work out, I wear things that I would never wear in public). And joining a gym is scary because I have never belonged to one.

So I keep going back and forth about whether it would be worthwhile to join this gym.

So what do you all think? Do you love your gym? Or are you just as happy working out in your den with some hand weights?

Sat. Jul 15, 2:58pm

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I didn't start exercising seriously until about 5 years ago. I was a size 24 (now a 12/14). Yoga DVDs at home, then at a studio, then spinning at a gym, then a new gym, then an even better gym. I LOVE IT! I go to the gym 5-6x per week. This is MY time and I don't (often) let friends, family or work interfere. Being at the gym is motivating, watching athletes train, seeing older people maintain their active lifestyle. You're exposed to so many more activities--a great opportunity to find a new "love" (yoga, pilates, body pump, spinning, dance, etc.) And we all know that unless daily activity/exercise becomes a life-long habit, the likelihood of maintaining our weight loss is diminished.

If you hate it, you quit. Can you do a month-to-month membership at first to try it out? Most places will give you a pass for a few days to try it.

I have an office job that doesn't pay much and so it means that much more that I pay a premium for a GREAT gym and to work with a trainer sometimes. I'm stronger, slimmer and most of all, happier. You cannot put a price on that!

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 4:16 PM

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One more thing...

Shop the clearance rack at Target for workout clothes. Inexpensive and you'll fit in no problem!

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 4:17 PM

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Shortest possible time if you do to find out if you like it. Consider other options like a personal trainer that you meet in your home or their place of business that may or may not be the gym down the street. If you do sign up at gym many times a personal trainer session will be included with membership. One other option have a work out "buddy" let you come as their guest a couple times.

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 7:41 PM

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Join. I never though that I would but I had to sign up to get my son to go so he could get gym credit and graduate high school! He wouldn't go alone. Now I go all by myself twice a week and the results are great. I just do the weight machines and do my cardio outdoors.

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 8:28 PM

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I never go to the gym

I hate the gym, but I run daily and weight train at home, so I think you should try it out for a month or so. I've wasted more money by signing up for a work out facility and never going, give it a try on a trial basis.

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 8:31 PM

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If you're not using what you have at home, it may be in your best interests to join. I was running at the gym. Bought myself a treadmill. I was always able to tell myself- oh, just another hour of TV, or another email, or another load of laundry before I would get on it- half the time I never did it. However, I never miss my scheduled time at the pool, and when I schedule gym time, I don't miss it, cuz I know if I don't do it when scheduled I won't be able to. I'm the kinda that takes advantage of too much flexibility- I need somewhere I have to GO to, to work out....

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 9:08 PM

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I find I'm so much more motivated when I'm in a gym environment as opposed to working out at home. I live with my husband and his Father and I've lost count of how many times I've had to break my workout to go and help them out with something, then have to go back to my workout and try and get back into the right frame of mind again.

But when I go to the gym, I'm there to work out without interruption, it's my time to improve my fitness, there's no distractions. I still work out at home as well, but I love my gym time. And I never thought before I started this regime that I would find myself saying that!

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 6:02 AM

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If you're thinking about it, I'd say join. I love my gym, and I find it very motivating to be surrounded by so many fitness minded people!

One thing about starting with a new gym... Give it a few weeks before you form an opinion. I've found the first week or 2 can be kind of awkward, you're getting used to things & learning your way around. After 2 weeks, you'll feel like a pro. And get the personal trainer - he/she can help set you up with a healthy routine, and can also push you to try new things. And. if you're not sure whether you will use the gym consistent, that trainer appointment can be a very good motivator!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 7:55 AM

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If you're tight on money, joining might be motivation to work out. For example, if I DONT go for a few days, I realize I'm paying anyway and wasting all that money. For me, that commitment keeps me going. Also, I dont know if you work or what your schedule is, but if you can get to the gym at off-times (or even weekend days) it tends to be fairly empty and less intimidating.

Let us know what you decide to do! :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 10:58 AM

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i, too, though that i would feel more motivated by joining a gym-even though i, too, had many pieces of equipment sitting dormant in my home. i was active in the gym for a little while, but the "thrill" of starting something new soon wore off. i continued to try to convince myself that if i had to pay for it, i would go work out. in the end, it just didn't happen that way. now, i do motivate myself to work out with what i have at home-eliptical machine, weights, dvd's, body-bar, etc. i contribute "gym fees" to a money jar (though considerably less than a standard gym fee), and reward myself for taking the time to exercise by going to a concert, play, museum, whatever-and pay for it with my saved up "gym fees". good luck!

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 1:02 PM

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I'm with the 'just try it' crowd. I joined a gym - paid a decent amount of money to work out there once and never really could find the time or motivation to go. I now have an exercise studio in my home that I use nearly every night and on the days I don't - I go walking around our neighborhood. I've lost 23 pounds so far and have another 10 to go. My home equipment costs far more than the gym would have, but I love the peace and serenity I get from working out in 'my space'. However I would never have known that if I hadn't tried a gym. So go for it I say! If it's for you - you'll find something you love to do and if it's not then you'll learn something about yourself :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 1:25 PM

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We don't have space for a lot of equipment at our home. Despite many people that have successful walking stories, I found that that isn't enough for me. Neither are videos etc, etc, etc. For me, the gym is a great place to go where my daughter can play with other little people while I exercise, shower, read a little. I work SOOOOOO much harder at the gym, that makes it worth the investment!

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 4:15 PM

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1:25 poster here in response to the comment about walking

^^-- I think most people that don't have success walking don't take 'walking' very seriously as exercise. According to my treadmill my normal pace is 4.5 mph and my husband has to lightly jog to keep up with me. I can keep this pace for a good 4 miles before I start to flag. My injured back simply can't take the impact of something like running, but I can make walking plenty intense. However each person needs to find that thing that works well for them and to bring the thread back on track, a gym is a great place to try a variety of different things :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 4:48 PM

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I work out exclusively at home/outside and lost 35 pounds doing so. I have worked out at gyms before and find that the main thing I like about them is the classes (pilates, aerobics, weight training, or whatever). But, if I am going to walk or run, why do it in the stuffy gym when I could be outside? Also, I have a dog, and why would I walk or run on the treadmill while he has to be cooped up in the house?

My cardio consists of outdoor running and walking, biking, and horseback riding. I have weights (5, 8, 10, 12 and 20 pounds, though I could use more). I do the FIRM weight videos 3x a week. If it rains, I usually go out anyway, otherwise I do TaeBo, dance aerobics or FIRM cardio videos.

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 9:43 PM

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4:15 poster about walking.

Actually, I gave walking a definite shot. For years. Over many pounds of gained weight. I walked briskly, with purpose, at a good pace, for an average of an hour a day. My calves looked great but nothing moved on the scale for me. It was so discouraging I gave up on losing weight for a year or so, until I got over being scared of working out in public and went to the gym for the first time. Now I'm over 100 pounds down and have much more self-confidence to be physical in public, sweat where people can see me, take a shower in a locker room (didn't like that one even in high school!), approach other people who are also working on their fitness goals. The gym can be so much more than just equipment!

Am I saying that walking doesn't work for a lot of people? NO! It does for many. For ME, my body, my mind, my spirit needed more. More amenities, more access to help, more of a competitive slant, more of a chance to become physically confident and comfortable in my own skin.

Sunday, July 16, 2006, 11:16 PM

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i would

I hate excersise!! but, my theory is...if i have to pay for definitly doing it. I got a memebership to a nice gym that has free daycare and a pool. I wanted something that had all the ammenities for those days when I knew I had to go, but only wanted a light work out.

Monday, July 17, 2006, 12:53 AM

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most gyms have a free trial day or week

see if you like it.
i say, no

you have two exercise machines, and you can walk and run

until you want to lift weights, it is a waste of money

if you aren't using your video tapes, you won't use the gym

i don't belong to a gym anymore, and it saves me money. i get all my workouts in the park

Monday, July 17, 2006, 8:26 AM

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A lot of gyms will do 5-day free passes. Sometimes it will be a "enter to win a free lifetime membership" form, but most people who enter the sweepstakes get a free 5 day pass to lure them in. If you do that, be prepared to get the hard sell - the membership people sometimes get paid on commission. The best thing to do is probably to go in with a list of what you want from a gym, and how much you're willing to pay for it.

Monday, July 17, 2006, 9:09 AM

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I joined the gym at a nearby university (graduates are eligible for memberships) for the summer semester just because the air quality, unpredictable weather, heat and humidity in the city right now make outdoor workouts difficult to schedule, not to mention dangerous. I may stick with it through the fall, or I may go back to my outdoor workouts once the weather gets nicer. Or I may do both - there are certainly plenty of options at the gym that I wouldn't necessarily have at home.

Monday, July 17, 2006, 9:58 AM

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working out makes you feel good

and is very good for you healthwise but it does not make you lose weight
it well help maintain the weight loss

during the summer when the weather is nice why not do more walking for example if you take public transporation to work try getting off a few stops and walk the rest of the way

Monday, July 17, 2006, 11:47 AM

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"working out makes you feel good and is very good for you healthwise but it does not make you lose weight"

I beg to differ. If you create a caloric deficit when you exercise, it will help you lose weight. The jury is still out on whether you really continue to burn calories after you're done exercising, but there's no question that exercise is a major part of a good weight loss strategy.

Monday, July 17, 2006, 12:32 PM

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highly agree with the above poster-exercise made all the difference with my weight-loss.

Monday, July 17, 2006, 12:39 PM

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Also, exercise and weight training will build muscle, which DOES burn calories all day, even when you are not working out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 9:01 AM

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Pretty much all gyms give out free trial memberships if you just ask for one. It'll be 5 to 10 days. Give it a try. I guarantee you own a t-shirt that you could wear to the gym, so maybe it'll cost you a $10 pair of shorts or pants if you don't own a pair of sports shorts already. Really, the outfits that people wear to the gym in commercials - leotards, leggings, etc. - does not happen in real life.

Try the gym for the trial period, and then take a week or so off to think about it. Go in knowing that you will not join that day (b/c the salespeople are VERY persuasive!). If you're still not sure, go to another gym and get another trial membership. This is also good if you're debating between a few gyms.

Also, look at your schedule. Some gyms will give you a discount for a non-peak-hour membership (i.e. you're not allowed to come between 4pm and 6:30pm on weekdays). This could save as much as $30 a month - a pretty big savings - if you can give up these times. Also, you can negotiate initiation costs. Tell them you absolutely cannot swing the fee, and appear as though you're prepared to walk out. You'll be surprised how quickly the fee will be reduced, or spread over multiple months, interest-free, or both.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 3:25 PM

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It sounds to me like the bottom line is: are you really going to commit to working out or not? I run at home on my treadmill at least 4X per week and I do not stop for "interruptions". It's habit and I learned to LOVE it. I don't want to skip it so I don't! It's a priority in my life.

If you are serious about working out you will. If you aren't, you won't. So really it's not about the gym it's about whether or not you are ready to make that commitment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 6:37 PM

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what the above poster says is true.. are you truly commited to working out... I have had a gym membership for 8 years I hardly go... and I have bought countless machines at home to work out with but its the consistency that counts when working out are you going to stick with it... yeah there is alot of investment with money when you workout.. I feel the best thing is what works for you.. If you are busy then buy a treadmill and work out at home or go out in the neighborhood and walk around.... if you want to spend money on gas and membership to work on different machines and take classes then you can or if you want you can purchase videos... the choice is yours.. but go with something you like.. not because someone told you too.. everyone's preference is different.. good luck

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 2:29 AM

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