How Healthy Is Your Health Club?

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Ok, so it’s a New Year, a New Start right? You have over indulged at Christmas and because of all the media pressure to join a gym, get fit, start a new diet, buy a new sofa (ok so the last one’s maybe not why you joined) you have for one reason or another decided to join a health club. I’m going to guess as well that you’re probably not quite sure what to expect or indeed what you actually expect to achieve. You see it all comes down to goal setting, and I mean more than just wanting to ‘lose weight and tone up’, but its ok because even if you haven’t quite thought it through yet, there will be someone there at the gym who can solve all your problems? Well maybe not….let’s have a look.

Firstly you turn up at your local gym and immediately get pointed in the direction of a sales assistant, or if there is not one available ANY employee who can show you around the gym. Tour over; you decide to sign away what will probably have to be the next 12 months of your life to a direct debit that will continue to drain your bank account unless you get your cancellation in at the precise time specified.

At this point you might be asked if you want an induction. Alarm bells should start ringing already, why are you being given the choice? It should be compulsory, firstly from a safety aspect but also to ensure you clearly set out your goals, work out how best to get there and feel instantly motivated and inspired by the trainer talking to you! In reality however, in an induction you might be dished out a generic “personal programme” by a mediocre trainer that is probably being paid the national minimum wage and has taken as much time over your programme as they did over the previous 5 or 6 programmes they have already written that day. You have to ask yourself is your health and fitness their number one priority?

Have a look at your trainer also, are they well dressed, clean, neat and tidy? Do they take obvious care of their own bodies? Believe me when I say I have seen trainers carrying fast food takeaways into the gym for their lunch! Do they practice what they preach? Are they genuinely interested in YOU or are they more concerned at the hot bit of stuff training behind you, after all you have paid up for your membership now so what does it matter.

Let’s move on a couple of months, where you have now been following religiously the multiple sets/reps/rest routine you have been set on virtually every piece of machinery in the gym, but are you seeing results? Does the trainer that first saw you ever come and interact with you again, in fact does anyone, other than to try and sell you one to one sessions? Did anyone ever tell you when you joined that no matter what you do in the gym, no matter how many hours of hard work and effort you put in you will never be able to out-train what you are consuming? Probably not, and it kind of makes the last few months seem pointless doesn’t it. Even if you decided to use a personal trainer, did you take the time to find out anything about them, or did you assume that as they are working here and charging you a pretty penny that they must know it all. If I told you that it only takes a matter of weeks to become qualified as a personal trainer you should realise that trainers are going to vary MASSIVELY in terms of their knowledge. Ask some questions, shock them! Where did they train, how long ago, what is their passion, what other courses have they been on, what workshops have they attended, what do they eat, how do they train, what was the last research book they read…DO IT, make sure they are the right person to be able to advise you not only on how to exercise but how to live your life outside of the gym! Your success lies in this, not in how much you pay them.

If you’ve joined one of the larger health clubs you will probably also find attached to it some sort of café. Surely if there is one place outside of the comfort of your own home that you can find healthy food that you should be eating this is it. Think again, I have seen some menus from a few gyms in my area and the food being served is far from healthy. Consisting of mainly wheat products, dairy products, processed and microwaved foods this garbage is not only bad for you if you are trying to lose weight but bad if you want to maintain any sort of reasonable health. Not to mention the array of different supplements available in shakes, bars and powders all promising to make you lose a few pounds, tone you up or make you look like the next arnie. Do you know the first thing about any of these and more importantly do the staff serving them to you. Again, you must have just assumed that because they are being promoted by the health club they must be ok.

You might think up until this point that I am just slating all gyms and health clubs, I am not, in fact I started my career in one however I think you should realise that simply joining a gym is not enough to get you fit or lose weight. If you really want to you already have the power to do that at home so don’t think that by spending money your gym will do the work for you. They won’t, all they will do for you is take money from your bank account each month. Don’t get me wrong, know what you want, train hard and eat well and gyms can be great places, but walk in unprepared expecting your health to be their number one priority and get ready for a shock. Your wallet is the main priority!



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