ARTICLES

Picking the Best Training Facility for Your Fitness Needs

Want to get fit? Don’t know where to go? Try out these fitness facilities and see what corresponds to your desires:

1. Gym

As the most prevalent training facility, there are over 36,000 gyms in the United States alone. These spaces vary from hardcore iron gyms that bodybuilders and hardcore fitness enthusiasts frequent, to boutique-esque gyms offering soft lighting and gentle melodies. There are private gyms that offer a limited amount of equipment, and corporate gyms that are stocked with nearly every machine a patron can use. Gym choices are as varied as people. Depending on your personality, you have many options in gyms alone: Do you want to be in a competitive hardcore environment where everybody is pushing and motivating one another? Do you want to go to a gym with shiny equipment, art hanging on the wall, and a DJ spinning out tunes for your workout? Would you prefer a gym that has ample space and offers fitness classes? Gyms come in all shapes and sizes, but all generally have some type of weightlifting section in conjunction with cardio machines. Once you have chosen to use a gym to fulfill your fitness needs, the real tasks begins in selecting which type of gym is best for you. Take your time and follow the path that will allow you to reach your fitness goals.

2. Yoga Studio

Yoga comes in many forms: Bikram, vinyasa, prenatal, hatha, kundalini, etc. Yoga studios specialize on the practice of this ancient form of fitness and healing. By emphasizing flexibility of broad muscle groups, yoga utilizes balance, endurance, strength, and spirituality combined with physical movement. Some yoga studios only offer a specific type of yoga, while other studios offer varieties. Yoga is a very low impact activity, and the studios promote an environment of peace and introspection. Do not worry if you cannot hold the poses the teacher shows; most poses have a modification for all levels and abilities. So if you want to get bendy, breathe, and get your “namaste” on, yoga may be a perfect option for you.

3. Pilates Studio

Developed in the early twentieth century by Joseph Pilates, Pilates emphasizes alignment and breathing, with the development of core strength, coordination, and balance. Equipment is not a requirement to practice Pilates, however, many studios do use equipment, called “apparatus”, in order to help practitioners reach greater levels of strength, flexibility, and body alignment. Pilates instructors give a very structured, and form–emphasizing workout without the use of cardio equipment. While little empirical evidence exists to verify Pilates’ medical benefits, many practitioners praise its effectiveness in healing numerous ailments including back pain, digestive problems, and high blood pressure to name a few. It is encouraged that Pilates be performed on a regular basis to get the optimal benefits, and with numerous studios popping up all over the country, starting a Pilates regime is now more convenient than ever.

4. Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling, or spinning, is a multi-faceted workout that incorporates the use of a stationary exercise bike with a weighted flywheel. Benefits of spinning include development of cardiovascular endurance, strengthening and toning of legs, and training your abs and core. There is debate as to how beneficial spinning is for overall weight loss. You can burn 400 – 600 calories in a spin class, but many fitness professionals believe spinning needs to be combined with some form of biweekly resistance training for a person to really shed pounds. However, what cannot be debated is that spinning is a low impact and low risk way to exercise that has measurable results.

5. Crossfit Box

Loved and hated by many, Crossfit has developed into a powerhouse within the fitness industry. Crossfit was invented by former gymnast Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenal in 2001. Crossfit jumbles multiple exercises into one package in order to keep the body guessing, and thus, adapting and improving. Weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, and calisthenics are a few of the exercise techniques Crossfit employs. With its popularity growing over the past decade, there are about thirteen thousand affiliated Crossfit gyms across the world. While there is no doubt that people have been motivated to live a healthier more active lifestyle with Crossfit, controversy has arisen in the form of injury, unprepared instructors who put their patrons at risk, and criticism of a culture that emphasizes pushing the body to dangerous levels. Nonetheless, Crossfit continues to have a big following. If you wish to join the movement there are numerous Crossfit gyms throughout the land. But start slow, and pay attention to what your body tells you.

6. Combat Gyms

Once strictly the domain of the blue collar and hardcore, combat gyms have become branded fitness options that are popping up all over the world. Combat exercise is not new to the fitness industry. Billy Blanks popularized this form of fitness in the 90s, and it has continued to expand since then. With the growth of mixed martial arts, and the emergence of boxing-esque cardio workouts, combat gyms have gained a foothold in the fitness industry. It is now common to see doctors, lawyers, and architects lacing up boxing gloves, fitting themselves with shin guards for a Muay Thai session, or stretching in preparation for a lesson in Brazilian jujitsu. These spaces allow patrons to punch and kick the day away under the guidance of a trainer. And if the need should ever arise, you may indeed have the tools to whoop some ass too.

7. Sports Performance Facility

Ever wonder where your favorite athlete works out? A sports performance facility is where athletes go to train for their respective sports. These training facilities usually have a lot of equipment you will not find in regular gyms, and the general public is not exposed to such bizarre machinery. In the sports performance facility you’ll find professional athletes, Olympians, or those on the border of stardom receiving state of the art training to elevate themselves in their given sports. Many sports performance facilities also have a sports medicine section that rehabs athletes coming back from injuries. Most of these facilities are closed to the general public, but there are exceptions that allow the every day person to use the facility when it is not in use by the athlete clientele. If it is an option, and you want to get into world-class athlete shape, a sports performance facility is a great option. Back in my ball playing days, I was once part of a training group that consisted of NFL, MLB, MLS, pro volleyball players, and Olympic combat fighters all training together. The environment brought out the best in all of us, and we all pushed and encouraged one another. For somebody who has trained vigorously throughout the years, it was the best shape I have ever been in. Members of the general public were also welcomed to come in for one-on-one training. If you can step into that environment, you will definitely have positive results.

8. Recreational Clubs

Tennis clubs, beach clubs, shore clubs, country clubs etc. are all membership based recreational clubs that cater to their members. Most of these clubs also have a small exercise room stashed away somewhere on the grounds. These rooms normally lack the equipment you will find in traditional gyms, but the other amenities in the club are designed to make up for it. For instance, if you love tennis, joining a tennis club and having access to the courts and playing partners will garner you plenty of exercise in a day. Same with golf clubs, sailing clubs, etc. So if you have a particular recreational passion, joining a recreational club may be the best option to promote the healthy lifestyle you wish to create for yourself.