We’ve all heard the advice to follow your passions. When it comes to exercise, that suggestion also rings true.
The most important thing about an exercise or fitness routine is that you do something, but you have to find something you enjoy doing. Is that running or yoga or CrossFit? How do you find the regimen that fits you and your life?
I recently came across a fitness passport program that allowed purchasers to take one class at each of 10 different studios or gyms, so people could get a sense of some different places, teachers, and classes in their area. This format is great for discovering what works for you.
You can also put together a passport program for yourself. Many gyms will give out a free one-day trial membership— you just have to ask. Several yoga studios give you a free first class. And if you have a friend who loves his or her gym, ask them to drag you along and get you a guest pass.
What sticks for you, what works for you, what keeps you going back to the gym or gets you to put on your workout clothes isn’t necessarily going to be what motivates any of your friends or family members or band mates. Figure out what works for you and stick with it. Here are a few things to consider before signing on the dotted line for your next membership.
Do you love going for a run, but hate pounding the pavement? Try a treadmill or elliptical machine in your favorite gym. If you don’t need anything fancy, like a steam room, you can get a decently priced membership at places like Planet Fitness and Crunch. Be sure to ask about student discounts.
Is something a bit more structured your thing? Do you have really tight hamstrings that you need to stretch out on a regular basis? Try yoga. Check out your local yoga studios and read about the teachers. See which style of teaching and class would work best for how you learn and the current state of your body.
Boot camps, Soul Cycle, and CrossFit have been getting a lot of press recently. Boot camps are great if you need a really set schedule and someone to lead your program.
SoulCycle is pricey, but that’s part of what gets people coming back—the thinking is, “I’ve already paid for class, I might as well use it.” It can also be a really fun and energizing workout.
CrossFit has definitely built up a community that thrives on a competitive spirit. This workout is intense, so if you really want to turn up the heat, it might be just what you need. I highly recommend looking into various CrossFit gyms in your area if this is the track you are considering. Each CrossFit gym has its own way of working, so it’s best to do your research before committing your dollars.
This advice goes for any discipline. Make sure your teachers are certified and trained, so they can teach you proper technique, which will lead to less injuries and more progress. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.
About the Author
After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.
She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts).
Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.