Joining a fitness center is a fun way to get healthy, be social and sculpt your body. With the increasing popularity of exercise, there are a variety of workout facilities to choose from. No matter what your exercise interest or fitness level a new athletic center will have something for you.

What to Expect

Gyms have a variety of weight machines, cardio equipment, free-weights and personal trainers to help members reach their goals. You may also find numerous fitness classes such as Zumba, Pilates, yoga, or spinning led by knowledgeable instructors. Some gyms even have pools which may include water aerobics. Another feature of many athletic centers are the outdoor tracks and indoor gymnasiums with team sports equipment. Luxurious athletic clubs include spas, tanning beds, racquetball and dining. Before choosing a new fitness center, it is important to be prepared with the gym essentials.

Exercise Attire

– Wear proper footwear to prevent injury.
– Exercise attire should be breathable, comfortable and appropriate.
– Most gyms have locker rooms and a shower for your convenience.
– Be courteous of others in the spa area, by wearing your swimsuit in the sauna, steam room and hot-tub.

Mixed race runner drinking water outdoors


– According to the American Council of Exercise you should drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before exercise.
– During your exercise routine drink 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes.
– Within 30 minutes after your work out ends, drink at least 8 ounces of water.

Cross Training

– Classes are a fun way to get motivated, interact and get fit.
– Try something new! Getting out of your comfort zone will challenge you in more than one way.
-Prevent boredom, fatigue, and injury by cross-training with various strength moves, cardio routines and classes each week.

woman-exercising-in-gym-with-trainer Athletic Trainers

– Hire an athletic trainer if you are a new to exercise, have a physical disability, or have plateaued.
– Trainers can teach beginners and experienced athletes how to safely strengthen and tone their muscles.

Fitness Elements

– Cardio gets you slightly breathless should be done 150 minutes a week.
– Strength train your major muscle groups with body weight, free-weights or machines at least two days a week.
– Warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes preceding a workout to increase oxygen in your major muscles groups.
– Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes after a workout for your comfort and safety.
– Stretch at least twice a week to increase your mobility.

Start Light, Be Consistent and Have Fun!

Don’t let a new workout facility be an intimidating experience. Most fitness clubs include a free day-pass before becoming a member. Use the day to ask questions or schedule an appointment with a personal trainer. Being honest about your health and exercise history will help you and your fitness professionals design the perfect routine. The key to success is being moderate, consistent and having fun along the way.