An image of a row of treadmills all in use demonstrates the crowd problem you'll find at many big gyms.

Why the “Big Gym” might not be your best fitness choice

New Year’s resolutions will lead many people to the “Big Gyms” — those 30,000-60,000 square foot studios that seem to have everything. As a trainer who has spent over a dozen years in those types of fitness centers, I have seen a predictable pattern of limited to eventually no use by new members.

Why do fitness goals fizzle out at big gyms?

Normally a new member will try a free training session, often with an inexperienced trainer. After that free session, most male members will refer to old high school exercises, like bench press and others, while most female members will start going to group exercise classes, like step or spinning.

Rarely do new members get tailored fitness routines or experienced professionals to help guide them. Even if they find an instructor or class they like, either can be changed. Instructors come and go and classes can be cancelled without any advance notice. Typically a simple note on the aerobic room door is all the notice you’ll get.

Both of the above groups usually end up in the cardio area, which often has broken or limited equipment. Members stand behind other members waiting for equipment so they can get their 20-30 minutes of cardio (depending on the club’s time limit).

It’s no wonder the enthusiasm and motivation fades away. So what do you do?

Stay small to stay on track

The answer is to go “small” and get results in 2014! Make modest investments in equipment for your home, like an exercise ball or tubing. Then use the many free online videos or phone apps for instruction. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel for great exercises you can do at home and in less than 10 minutes.

If you’re looking at home cardio equipment, don’t let the price scare you. Most home cardio units can be financed at a cost far below what you’ll spend at the “big” gym for what amounts to a 20-30 minute equipment “rental.”

If you’re worried about maintaining your motivation on your own, you can also look into smaller, personal training gyms that offer quality focused training. You may pay a bit more, but you’ll get experienced trainers guiding you along the way and, more importantly, you won’t get lost in the crowd, left to fend for yourself.

So go small, and get smaller in 2014!

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