January has just past and February is almost over. And I, like many other folks, have once again taken stock of myself and the Special K grab that I can easily do with both hands to my midsection. I decided that it’s time to attend to this protruding abdomen and extra weight I’ve been carrying, set my fitness goals and get my butt back in shape.
I own so many pieces of equipment but they don’t pack into the car easily. I was also tired of carrying this extra tub of lard, not wearing the type of clothes I like and not participating in the type of physical activities that I’m used to.
Or at least that I used to be used to.
So I decided I was ready to change it…really ready this time. If I was going to SUCCEED, I wanted to STACK the deck and the odds heavily in my favor. So, knowing me, and my propensity to start and never finish things, I knew that I needed 3 things to be guaranteed success in this endeavor.
The first was a short range activity/event I really wanted to do that REQUIRED that I be back in shape to do. There were two that came to mind. One of these is hiking to the base of the Grand Canyon doing a shoot. Another was a shoot I wanted to do in August that required hiking up a mountain to an indian ruin. NEITHER of these activites could be attempted successfully at my current fitness level.
So, I had my activity slated. Now I needed a place to get in shape (the SECOND need). I decided to join a gym. But not ANY gym.
I must have bought memberships to at least 10 or 15 different clubs over the past 25 years. I knew what caused me to go and, more importantly, what caused me to stop going. So, I knew exactly what I was looking for.
I’m currently working in an area that has a club that is ranked in the top 5 in the United States and boasts an array of amenities that offers essentially something for everyone.
Well, ranking or not, I needed to make sure that it had a couple of things that would help me actually show up once I signed on the dotted line…and that it didn’t have a couple of things that would make me never sign in the first place.
First hurdle – when does it open? Well, I got this handled well before I walked through the door. I know that clubs are the busiest after the normal 8-5 grind. And, I’m usually spent by the time the end of the day runs around. So, I needed an early open – somewhere between 5am and 6am, so I could get the torture done before my normal day started. They met this criteria with a 5AM opening 5 days a week, and 7AM on weekends. So on to the next one.
Second hurdle – is it QUIET? I cannot tell you how NOISE can ruin a mood – especially after a hectic day OR before starting one. I wanted a quiet club. I don’t want to hear your hip hop, rap or LOUD anything when I go. I’m an endorphin rusher – and I need PEACE when I work out.
Well this club has loads of quiet. Everything is on earphones. And even when walking by classes, the music was not disturbing. So, criteria #2 was met.
Third criteria – REWARD! What is my reward for doing a day’s worth of potentially grueling exercise? Well, this club offers massage therapists, both chair and full body. They offer jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms that are genderized – that means that I don’t have to be concerned about the opposite sex gawkin’ at my 2 tons of lard. Nope! I can happily hit the jacuzzi and sauna with only girls as my voyeurs – and who cares about a woman seeing my womanly flab? I surely don’t.
There is also wireless internet access in the cafe and a pro shop with swimsuits, workout clothes, rackets and shoes. Nice touch!
And for those of us that hate signing on the dotted line, there are no contracts – you don’t feel BOUND by any legalease. They make it easy to get in, easy to get out. They even offer a way to PARK your membership if you have to be away for an extended time. Cool!
And very smart.
My fourth criteria – Diversity! What keeps a person like me going if I’m looking for an excuse to not go is diversity and diversion. If you can TRICK me into exercising without it really feeling like I’m exercising, then I’m well on my way to winning the battle. Also, if I don’t have to SCHEDULE going somewhere else for the amenities, it makes it more likely that I just might do something extra.
Remember what Richard Simmons said: Movement is the answer!
Well…this place scored very high on diversity and diversion. From tennis, racketball and basketball courts, to pilates, dance and martial arts classes, to 4 (yep FOUR!) swimming pools (heated of course) including one with a waterslide, there was a whole bunch to distract me from THINKING about the pain of exercise. There are even water aerobics and movement in water classes.
Now IF that wasn’t enough, the amount of Precour, Cybex, StairMaster and other assorted treadmills, next generation elipticals and bikes will make your head spin.
And we haven’t even talked about the weight rooms yet. Suffice it to say that I was elated!
Well, I had STEP TWO completed – I found someplace to work out – a place where I could potentially TRICK myself into getting back into shape. There STILL was a problem – how to make myself go. Having access to the best club in the world does nothing if you don’t show up.
Let me explain…
You see this place is on my route HOME – I pass it every day.
yet I still haven’t gone in.
Well the fine people who market this place KNOW that that is one of the biggest hurdles for many people – getting them to take advantage of (consume) what they just paid for. So…they did something that really is brilliant…
They fashioned a program called QUICK START. And they GIVE you a personal trainer FREE for a month. So…even if you did nothing with the membership right after you got it, someone would call you and set up 4 weeks of personal training, which gets you into the club at least 4 times in a month and starts you on a HABIT of fitness…making you accountable 4 times a month to someone else.
Now this wasn’t just “come in and workout with the trainer.” Nope! It was a custom designed program of WELLNESS that centered around your goals, your strengths and your weaknesses. It includes an assessment of posture, nutrition, diet, lifestyle, fitness level and instruction in kinesiology.
My trainer is so much FUN that I’m actually planning to go into the gym TWICE this week. He even sends me an email once a week with homework for the next session, and even thanks me for our time together and tells me how he thinks I did. This really adds to the motivation factor, making me want to AT LEAST show up for our training session, even if I never set foot in a gym for the rest of the week.
Hey I live about a mile away from the gym. The first week after I paid for my membership, I did NUTHIN’. The second week: I met my trainer for our initial session (no exercise), got a chair massage and essentially did nuthin’. The third week (session #2 with my trainer), we worked on a few things including body alignment, warm up and some weight training (I LOVE weights). On my own, I did about 25 minutes of aerobics between 3 pieces of equipment, then headed off to the jacuzzi and sauna.
I’ve had the GYM on my mind for the past few days and one piece of aerobic equipment in particular (the new Cybex machine – the Arc Trainer) and will head over sometime today to get on it.
By Monday, I should have started the HABIT of hanging out at the gym at least twice a week – and I am looking for when I can do a third day! I’ve already decided to extend my contract in the area JUST BECAUSE the club is so good (of course, work is wonderfully fine too!).
I’ve even started working on a plan of how to remain in the area IF the contract ends before summer JUST so I can keep on this track to getting in shape.
So, there you have the MAGIC of a 3 pronged approach. Getting in shape FOR something (not someone) I really wanted to do that has a deadline attached was what I anchored this entire program on. The deadline was significantly in the near future, but not too close, being about 7 months away. If I didn’t make it for August, then it couldn’t be done this year.
I wanted to do it THIS year.
The second was finding someplace I liked to workout – someplace that had the bait, diversity, diversion and rewards I needed to lure me into going.
The third was having someone to make me accountable – someone who knew my ultimate goals – someone who could make the process FUN.
I’ve got it all.
Do I think that I will reach my goal? Yes, I already SEE it as a done deal, with me on the mountain shooting the ruins.
What goals have you set for yourself physically this year? What other goals have you set? Isn’t it time to get someone to hold you accountable?