What makes for a good gym?

Although I might describe myself as a hardcore spinning addict, this is not my only form of excercise. As I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to get bored easily. So variety in my workouts is key!

I am lucky enough to have the most amazing gym right around the corner. In the past years, I have attended quite a few gyms due to my moing around the country so much, and I can honestly say that this gym is by far the best one I attended sofar.

What makes for a good gym in my opinion? What do I like about my gym?

– It does not belong to a chain. Which, in my experience, means it is more personal and is not held back by chain policy.

– It employs some of the best and most motivating instructors and trainers.

– Next to the basic offerings of cardio machines and weight rooms, it offers a wide variety of group excercise classes each week: from spinning and bodypump, to kickfun, steps, aerobics, zumba, yoga and even ballet.

– They try to get and keep people motivated by always introducing new classes and thinking up challenges and programmes. For instance, once a year there will be a “sixpack challenge”, during which members are encouraged to try new forms of excercise (in and outside of the gym), take a good look at their eating habits and will receive lots of info on these topics.

– Their goal is to have members who actually come to the gym, to encourage a healthy life style and to make excercise feel like fun instead of a chore. Unlike other clubs where the policy tends to be to have as many members as possible that DON’T come.

– Next to the excercise facilities, they offer great extra services like personal training, physiotherapy, weight loss assistance programmes, a welness center with several saunas, free dvd rentals, etcetera.

– The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.

– And, also not unimportant, their prices, compared to their offerings, are very reasonable.

Because my gym offers such a wide variety of classes, and because I am always on the look-out for something new, I have tried many different ones in the past years. I can honestly say that I have tried all classes at my gym at least twice (most classes, as with about any sport, you need try for at least 3-5 times before you get the hang of it).

Some I love, some I don’t, obviously (Ballet? Sorry, not for me, way too clumsy for this. But it was fun trying!). Many classes I do like, but due to my busy schedule (fulltime job, long-distance relationship, friends, etcetera), I just don’t have the time to incorparate them into my workouts.

Workout schedule

Right now, I have managed to incorporate 3 classes into my schedule which I attend on a regular basis. I think they are a good combination and together they provide a good allround training plan for me, without me getting bored. And next to these, I try to do sit-ups, planks and some back stretches each day, mostly in front of the tv 😉

Spinning – 3-5 times a week

Obviously! No further explanation needed. If you do want one, please refer to this previous post: Sweaty addiction

Bodypump -1-2 times a week

Bodypump is a weight-based group-fitness program developed by Les Mills (http://www.lesmills.com/).  The excercises are performed to music using free weights and barbells. During each track one major muscle group is trained. The weights used are lower than those used when training with free weights, but each muscle group is trained for a longer period of time (5-6 minutes each).

I must admit, I had a few false starts with this one. When I first started it, I hated it! After the first class, I was so sore, I could hardly move or turn! Since I did not like it right away, I would take one class, be sore and not go for weeks. Then, I would be sore again and so on. But at some point, something clicked and I started to like it. I noticed I got stronger, my muscles got used to the excercises and wouldn’t be so sore anymore and it improved my posture.

Bodybalance – once a week

This is a 60-minute class which combines Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates. You work on improving your flexibility and strength while focussing on your breathing. Like Bodypump, Bodybalance is also developed by Les Mills.

First off, I am a girl who needs to feel like she has been working out after a workout. No sweat – no real workout (I sweat easily…). So, the first few times I tried bodybalance, I did not like it and did not feel good or happy afterwards.

However, I did want to start incorporating some stretch and balancing classes into my workouts, to counteract the effects of spinning, pump and a desk job. That is when I changed my mindset towards bodybalance: I tried not seeing it as a workout in itself, but as a part of my workout. I started taking a class after a bodypump or spinning class and noticed how good it felt then and how my muscles got a decent stretch. I now try to take a bodybalance class after pump or spinning once a week.

Sometimes you need to think outside of the gym!

I believe that with excercise it is key to pick a sport that you like and enjoy doing.  If you do not like what you are doing, you will not stick with it. Many people join a gym because they “need” to start excercising. But repetitive cardio training is not for everyone. I hardly ever use the cardio machines at my gym because I find this form of excercise BORING. There is many other sports you can try, inside and outside the gym! So if you want to take up excercise, go and see what is out there! Don’t stick to what you know or what “everyone” does. Try some new stuff, you might find the one sport you truly love doing  🙂

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