To gym or not to gym?
With the plethora of information now available to us, a common question we hear is “What workout should I be doing?”. Gyms are no longer just the behemoth bland places run by your local council in the 80s. Boutique gyms are popping up on nearly every high street, attractively trendy but with sometimes eye-watering prices. There’s also the boom in different online classes due to the pandemic. So, to gym or not to gym?
The answer to this question is probably not as straight forward as you would like it to be! There are so many varying factors to take into consideration. Age, ability, interests, current fitness levels, personality type, medical history, injury history, salary. We highlight some points below about the different offerings to help you make an informed decision on what to choose for you.
By standard gym, we don’t necessarily mean average. We’re talking about gyms such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd, Virgin Active, GymBox etc. These types of gyms usually have a variety of group fitness classes, all of your weights machines and cardio equipment, maybe a swimming pool. You’ll pay a monthly subscription to use whatever you like, whenever you like.
These types of gyms are really functional, and great if you are a self-motivated individual who can get on with their routine. Some of the classes are superb, some really aren’t. It depends on your instructor, their expertise and motivation levels. These gyms aren’t running specifically to supply classes, so they’re not always monitored for their standards. If you’re aiming just to use the gym equipment, you’ll need some knowledge behind you to get the maximum benefit and to avoid injury. Otherwise, you will be best off hiring a personal trainer, which will cost extra on top of your monthly subscription charge.
The popularity in boutique gyms has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. Think Barry’s, Trib3, and F45. Training is class-focused, and pretty intense. You usually pay per class or block of classes rather than a monthly fee. If you like to be pushed, these types of gyms can be great – instructors are “on it”. You will sweat, you will burn calories, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve had a full-on workout.
The downside? It is all group classes, so if you’re doing something “wrong”, it might not be corrected. You won’t have time to think about the best weights to use for you, or to do something again if you couldn’t feel it where you were supposed to feel it. It’s all fairly HIIT intensive. Great if you’re in your 20s, but once you start pushing up the years from there, you really need to balance these types of classes out with some slower strength training.
Online Fitness Apps
Peloton, FIIT, Apple Fitness+…the list is endless, and we can’t even begin to name them all. These are great for those who need the convenience of working out at home. For those who are looking for a more reasonably priced training option. They’re also good for those who may not yet have the confidence to workout in front of others. Instructors can be top notch, and the group competitions seriously motivational. However, without their eyes actually being on you in the room, it can be more difficult to benefit from the training if you don’t understand what they’re really talking about.
Online classes are a great starting point for improving overall fitness levels and building overall strength, and they’ll help maintain you at a certain level if you’re already a fairly fit person. You might want to consider adding in a personal training session in your home every week or fortnight so you can get some tailored supervision to help you maximise the benefits.
Fitness is about finding what works for you, trying different options, and coming up with a routine that is varied and fun. This way you’ll be working all aspects of your fitness and you’ll keep going back for more. You don’t necessarily need to pumping iron at the gym every day to achieve this, but there are definite positive reasons for working out in a gym environment.
Written by Becky Barrett.
Becky Barrett is an international talent manager and personal fitness coach with over 15 years’ professional experience and a 1st class Honours degree in Business & Law.
Driven by her unique values of compassion and a holistic approach to talent management, Becky has devised an innovative solution to take on the fitness industry with a brand-new personal fitness concept that aims to inspire and boost ‘new normal’ approaches to exercise routines.
Features include: Health & Wellbeing, Natural Health, Arden University, The Telegraph, BBC, Time & Leisure, Bdaily News, The Stage.