Saturday, May 31, 2008

How To Choose A Gym

The main things to consider when choosing a gym are:


Make location your #1 consideration in choosing a gym. If your gym is more than a 20 minutes from your home or office, studies show that you probably won't go. It has to be convenient.


Membership fees vary widely, from $35 - $100/month. Some gyms charge an initial sign up fee as well. (this is called an enrollment fee). Many gyms will allow you a free trial period to test-drive the facility.


Make sure the hours of operation fit your needs. Most gyms offer early morning as well as weekend and evening hours. Most staffed gyms have instructors and staff that are certified in CPR and first aid. Some gyms have 24-hour access - these gyms have no supervision, no instructional staff and no classes.


A variety of equipment is preferred for a complete workout. Free weights, selectorized equipment, cardio (treadmills, lifecycles, arc trainers) and even a place to stretch are important. Make sure there is enough equipment so you don’t have to wait in line to use a popular piece of equipment. Some gyms have amenities like workout towels to use while you exercise, bath towels, shampoo, cold drinks and a lounge for post exercise.


A variety of classes should be available. Your gym should offer classes for different levels of exercisers. Classes should range from the beginner to advanced and have options in the morning, evenings and weekends. Most gyms now offer indoor cycling/spin as a group class too.

Trained Staff

If you're new to the gym scene, you'll want a friendly and helpful staff. When you tour the club, ask if certified trainers are available for members. Trainers should be certified by a nationally ranked group and experienced in the industry. Midtown fitness has weekly free orientation classes for new members. Even if you're a gym veteran, you might need a nationally certified trainer at some point, especially to show you the ropes of the new equipment or to supercharge your routine. Besides having a helpful attitude, the staff at a gym should be trained in both first aid and CPR and have an AED on site.


You should feel comfortable at your gym--with the people and the place. If you don't feel welcome, you won't go. Before purchasing a club membership, take a tour during the time you think you'll be working out. That will allow you to see how crowded the gym will be when you're there. Most gyms will have peak and off-peak times

Some gyms cater to different groups -- bodybuilders, power lifters, women’s only, and even a gym like ours that caters to both genders and all ages just doing their best to stay healthy and in shape (that’s why I call midtown the friendly neighborhood gym)

Your First Week Is FREE

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Kids Nutrition?

Ask A Trainer, from Scott Fushi, trainer at Midtown Fitness Center, Putnam CT.

Question: My children; one 10 and the other 15 really don’t exercise at all, except for their scaled down gym classes at school (which they dread). They both are starting to gain a little extra weight and I want to try to help them avoid any problems in the future.

Answer: The number one thing any parent can do for their kids to keep them healthy and minimize weight problems, is to lead by example. Set a foundation through example… our children learn healthy habits through us. Yes it’s true “kids will be kids” and that they need to learn by their own mistakes, but weight problems and inactivity are areas where the stakes are very high. Don’t leave a legacy of lethargy and poor nutrition for them!
Why should they eat properly, play a sport or exercise if you don’t!

Small, subtle changes at home are a great start to big improvements in health and weight control. It can begin with less soda in the house. The 2 liter bottles may be convenient but it is too easy for 1 glass at supper to become 3. The same can be said about large bags of chips and snacks. What you save in economy you loose in portion control. It becomes too easy for kids and adults alike to get into a “grazing mode” while sitting in front of the TV or computer. Before you know it the bag is empty and you wonder where it all went.

By placing more emphasis on fruits and vegetables as available snacks or mainstays at mealtime, your children will get used to eating them… maybe even liking them.

There is a real economic factor to be considered here as well. The food companies have made good tasting, low nutrition value food easy to store (packed with preservatives) and affordable (chemicals are cheaper than real food). There is a long term factor to consider though. All the money saved by buying these items is lost 4 – 10 times over when poor health factors are put into the equation. Problems like asthma, diabetes, orthodontic, orthopedic and even cancerous preconditioning all present or worsen through poor nutrition. The medical costs associated with these conditions can have huge impacts on families emotionally as well as economically.

The same can be said for exercise. We cannot afford not to promote healthy recreation, sports and activities to our kids. It is also a great way to do something together as a whole family or even build a one on one relationship with your child. Take them fishing, out for a walk or bike ride. It is an opportunity to communicate while building good habits.

Please submit your ask a trainer question to Scott at