Friday, January 27, 2012

Debating a Gym Membership

At work, I am co-lead (lucky for me, with one of my best friends) on a committee for something called Connection's Cafe. We plan and host "Cafe Sessions" every 1-2 months in which staff come and spend an hour learning about a specific topic surrounding professional development, health, or personal wellness. On Wednesday, we hosted the first one of 2012 and our guest speakers were the general manager and fitness manager from the Gold's Gym across the street from our office.

For the past year and a half, our organization has had a partnership with Gold's Gym, allowing employees to become members for $30/mo through payroll deduction with no start-up fees. In conjunction with this session, we were offering an open enrollment for people to join the gym through work. My one concern was that the presentation during Connections Cafe would be more of a sales pitch than an educational and enriching experience.

It ended up being awesome, though. Here are the scattered notes I took:
  • One's heart rate doesn't kick in until 20 minutes into cardio exercise. So 40 minutes of exercise only amounts to 20 minutes of fat burn.
  • According to the American Heart Association,  not exercising 3x per week is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. I'm not sure whether or not I believe this.
  • Eat from the perimeter of the grocery store. I heard this wise advice years ago from my friend Michael Pollan. 
  • It would take 3,500-4,000 calories a day to get all the right nutrients our bodies need. So eat much variety from day to day.
  • If you spend 80% of your diet eating the right (healthy) things, then it's OK to spend the other 20% eating ice cream and tortilla chips. This isn't exactly what they said but it confirms my belief in everything in moderation. Believe me, I have lived a life where I deprived myself of too many good, fatty foods and I lost 15 lbs and then gained twice that much back less than two years later. Weight loss will be ineffective if it is not done smartly.
  • Don't be afraid of weight training.
  • If you're working out and trying to lose weight, don't get on a scale for the first 8 weeks.
  • Constantly switch up your routine to keep things interesting.
  • Foam roll for only 30 seconds on each muscle. Then stretch that muscle for as long as you'd like.
I spend plenty of my time working out, though I consider it "living life" more than I do "working out", and you all know how much I love to do it out of doors, under the sun. But recently I have been into taking classes for cross-training and, therefore, I am seriously considering becoming a member of Gold's Gym.

Now, let me explain that I have never ever been a gym person. The gym makes me feel like I'm in a fishtank. I hate treadmills with a passion. I feel awkward and uncoordinated in classes. It has always felt very unnatural to me, while sweating under a big blue sky feels like exactly what my body was designed to do. But I am changing. I am opening my eyes to new ways of exercising, I am understanding the importance of cross-training (and maybe even weight training), and I am losing my cynicism for yoga. So I can either keep buying $39 living socials for yoga and fitness classes around the city or I can join gold's gym and take all of the classes I want. I can get Josh the deal too and he is interested in joining with me.

I am also very excited about the possibility of trying unlimited spin classes. While I love working out on the trainer in my bedroom, while watching friends on the highest volume, and worrying the whole time that the downstairs neighbors may knock on my door any minute to complain about what sounds like a lawnmower on their ceiling, I think that it would be really fun to do some good bike training in the company of others, with a rocking playlist and a teacher motivating us the entire time.

Bedroom is a disaster. Please excuse.

More than ever, I need advice! Do you belong to a gym? Do you love it? If you are a runner, how often do you spend at the gym during a training cycle? Is $30/mo truly a great deal?


  1. I like going to gyms if they are new and nice. I like doing strength training and sometimes group classes there. Luckily for me I get to use my college's gym for free. That is still a really good deal so I would probably take that offer if you are serious about hitting they gym

  2. Seriously, the time commitment just sucks for me. It takes time to get into the car, find a parking spot, drive to the gym, wait for the proper machine, exercise, drive back home and then shower. I know the exercise + shower are there regardless, but most of the time running doesnt require me to wait...and why pay some place to wait!