Finding, sticking with the right health club or gym

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

MT. LAUREL, N.J. (WPVI) -- It's midway through January, and many of those who filled the gyms a few weeks ago with bright, shiny resolutions to get fit in 2016 aren't coming as often.

Cold weather and busy schedules are just a few of the excuses members cite for dropping from workouts 4 times a week to 3, then 2, and so on.

But the general manager of a South Jersey health club has another theory: that the once-enthusiastic exercisers are getting bored.

Frank Quartararo, of Life Time Athletic Mount Laurel, says few people ask themselves what activity they really like before they join a club or gym.

Instead, they try to force themselves into an activity.

The novelty keeps them going for a while, but eventually, their zest wanes, and going to the gym becomes a obligation, not a welcome escape from the daily grind.

Quartararo says doing some homework ahead of time can help keeping that fitness resolution going from January to December.

First, set your goals, and be as specific as possible.

Do you want to run races? build strength? relive work day stress? lose weight?

Next, determine what activities you like best - running, swimming, cycling, yoga, zumba - or a combination of activities?

Quartararo says most people need variety to keep them interested, so they shouldn't choose a club with only a few offerings.

Look for ones with a range of programs and amenities, and ask, will your membership entitle you to all of those?

Be sure to visit the clubs, to see if you feel comfortable there.

That's also a key to staying committed to what Quartararo says isn't just exercise, but a healthy way of life.

On your visits, talk to members. How long have they belonged? What do they take part in? What do they like most?

If it's what you like, you've found a potential match.

But, don't stop there, says Quartararo.

Go at the times you would work out.

Most clubs are very busy early in the morning or late at night.

If you can't get into the classes or use the equipment when you want to, consider another facility.

Quartararo says working out with a friend helps, but don't force yourself to go somewhere that isn't right.

And switch up your workout often - it benefits your body, and your brain.