Joining a Gym
We finally joined a gym! It was a big decision for our family, but I think we made the right one.
I am currently at the weight I was before I was pregnant with my first son. Heck, I’m almost at the weight I say I am on my Driver’s License. My Healthy Eating and Exercise Plan is working!
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’ve had some challenges, but I’ve been working hard since May to lose weight and get healthy. I’ve been counting my calories, and eating 5 times a day. I’ve been trying to be more active, and have been walking, doing exercise/yoga DVDs, and have even went jogging a few times. I am not (and have never been) a runner, so this was a pretty big step for me.
The best part about the whole thing, is that I’m feeling better about myself. My clothes fit again, and I’ve even had to buy some smaller sizes. My blood pressure is back to normal, even at doctor visits, which is HUGE (I’m a bit of a worrier, in case you didn’t realize it.) Most days I have more energy, and the “starving all the time” feeling has gone away too (unless I get off my schedule, and I am really starving.) I’ve got some great momentum going, and I don’t want to lose it.
With the seasons about to change, I knew I had to figure something else out for my workouts. In Wisconsin, you can count on the weather to be pretty darn cold in the Fall and Winter, so the jogging idea goes right out the window. I really don’t mind doing workout tapes, but I am getting a little sick of the same old jokes from Jillian and Bob. With my oldest son off to kindergarten, I was also trying to find an activity for the twins. Preschool times two is just out of our price range right now, so after doing some research, we decided to join a gym.
How to decide on a Gym
How did we make our decision? How can you figure out if a gym is right for you? Well, here are some tips to help you figure it out.
Tip #1 Define your needs
As I mentioned, not only was I looking for a place I could workout, but I needed a place that had childcare. We needed to stay within our budget, plus have a location that would work for both me and my husband. I also wanted a place that offered Group Exercise Classes with no additional cost, while my husband wanted a good weight room. He also wanted to make sure they had extended hours so he could workout before or after work.
Tip #2 Do your research
Before signing up at any gym, I did a lot of research. I looked online, read websites, read reviews, and emailed a couple of places for prices. Once I found a place within our price range, I went and took a tour of both the gym and the childcare facility. I also asked about contracts (this gym didn’t have one, but they require a 30 day written notice to end your membership,) looked at the group exercise schedule, hours, and found out if we could use other locations (yes!)
Tip #3 See how the gym fits into your life
Look at your calendar, talk to your spouse, and/or look at your kids’ school schedule. Do you have time to go to the gym enough to make it worth your membership fee? For me and my husband, we also had to discuss when we each would go. He usually spends time with the kids in the morning, and knows I need a break when he gets home. Since I will be able to go to the gym during the day with the kids, I needed to be able to sacrifice some of my kid free morning or after work times, so he’ll be able to use it too.
Tip #4 See if you can try it out
A lot of gyms offer a free week trial or at least a couple free classes. The gym we decided on didn’t, but they also don’t have a big contract commitment, so we just went for it and joined (after lots and lots of discussion.)
Tip #5 Ask all your questions before signing up and paying
What type of membership will you be getting? Family, couple, single? Is childcare included or separate? What are the rules of the childcare? Do you feel safe about where you child is and who is watching them? What methods of payment are acceptable? What other benefits are there to your membership?
We went with a family membership, and signed the twins up for a month of unlimited childcare. I met and talked with the staff of the childcare, found out about how secure they are (very!) and what they do about diaper changes and snack time. I also found out that most of the Group Exercise Classes are free, but there are a few with a premium charge. There are also classes for the kids that we can get a discount on, since we are members. And…
We already tried it out TODAY!
After sending my big boy off to his first day of kindergarten, I packed the twins up, labeled their snacks and water bottles, packed their diapers, and headed to the gym. We talked about how much fun they were going to have playing, and once we got there, they didn’t even look back to say goodbye.
They’ve only had one babysitter besides my parents, so this was pretty huge for me to leave them. But, I did it! I went on the Elliptical for 20 minutes, then took a group exercise class for 45 minutes. I then raced down to get the twins.
Unfortunately, they did have an incident. My bigger guy bit my little guy when he wouldn’t share a car. They made him apologize, then just got rid of the car. After that, they were fine. I’m just so thankful they didn’t bite another child.
My bigger guy kept saying he had fun, and I had to carry my little guy out crying because he didn’t want to leave. I promised we’d be back, and we will be. Maybe even tomorrow!
Before I leave you, I have to share one school picture (the rest of the scoop will be on Friday.)
This was him getting on the bus on his 1st day of kindergarten!