Home Fitness Tips Stick to your New Year’s fitness resolutions with these gym tips – OCRegister

Stick to your New Year’s fitness resolutions with these gym tips – OCRegister

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With New Year’s celebrations over and the deadline for fitness resolutions upon us, let’s figure out how to stick with your plans so you’re satisfied by summer.

But first, know that you own what defines satisfaction. As the main character in the new Netflix movie “Dumplin’” proclaims, “Every body is a swimsuit body.”

With happiness foremost, let’s get going.

  • Bob Loschy works out on the stair master at Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. The gym caters to general fitness. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Signs at Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA try to create a stress free environment for workouts on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. The gym caters to general fitness. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Tables hold workout equipment at Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. The gym encourages members to put back their equipment but an employee walks the floor every 20 minutes clean up workout areas. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Employee Parker Mills refills spray bottles in one of the sanitation areas at Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Members are encouraged to clean up after themselves plus the staff cleans equipment on a rotation. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA has a “Lunk Alarm” they sound when someone makes a stressful workout environment. The gym caters to general fitness. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Members work out at Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. The gym has more than 130 cardio machines, plus free weights and classes. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA caters to general fitness. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Rodrigo Rodriguez works out at Planet Fitness in Foothill Ranch, CA on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. The gym caters to general fitness. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

First, decide goals. Do you simply want to be healthy enough to keep your cholesterol low and your spirits high? Or do you want to take your fitness to the next level?

Second, decide when and where you’ll be active. It could be before work, during lunch break, after work. It might be a walk around the block, running trails, hitting the gym or a combination of things.

Third, keep things fun.

Still, no matter what you do, consider including a gym in your routine. Even if you’re, say, a cyclist, gyms are cozy, allow you to feed off other people’s energy, offer an array of exercises and, most importantly, help keep a variety of muscles from going soft.

The toughest thing? Choosing a gym.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran gym rat or if you’re thinking of joining a gym for the first time, the ever-expanding universe of exercise options can be as daunting as it is divine.

There’s the old stuff, such as machines, weights, Zoomba, yoga, boot camp, CrossFit, Pilates. Yes, boys and girls, all of the above date back at least to the turn of the millennium.

And there’s new stuff, like Orangetheory Fitness, a club launched eight years ago with 700 locations in the U.S. that specializes in high-intensity interval training.

A review of gyms in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties found more than 100 different types of gyms with a wide range of focus and philosophies.

Here are some suggestions on deciding what gym is best for you, as well as some tips on getting the most out of your selection.

Gym as home

There are three main things to consider about your gym. OK, four. First, if you’ve skipped going to your gym because it wasn’t the right fit, find a new gym. Now.

One thing to consider, of course, is money. Think of a gym as something like a friendly bar or an extension of your home. The relationship with your gym should last. Pick a place you can afford year after year.

Some gyms specialize in one-on-one personal trainers. These men and women can accomplish amazing things, but, understandably, don’t work cheap. Big box gyms are far less expensive.

A middle ground is to hire a trainer when you think you need a tune-up. Another way to get help is to simply ask people in the gym for a little advice now and then. Most gym rats are happy to offer a tip. But be sure they aren’t in the middle of a set.

A new gym pal, Gerry, recently was pumping some scary bent-over lifts. A woman offered a few pointers and probably saved him a few vertebrae.

Another necessity is proximity. Find a gym that is near work, near home or one you drive by on your commute.

Driving 20 minutes to and from a gym cuts into your day, reduces gym time and likely means skipped sessions.

Comfort is the third element required in a gym. Yes, comfort.

If there is too much clanging, dirty or sweaty equipment, weird smells, not enough machines to handle the peak 5:30 p.m. crowd or gnarly restrooms, it’s likely you will avoid workouts.

But preference is personal. I stick close to home using an aging, cramped 24 Hour Fitness facility. My wife chooses a more modern and clean Planet Fitness.

Gym etiquette

A guy we’ll call Moose approaches me as I’m two minutes into a set (a group of consecutive motions). He announces, “I’m using that machine.”

He’s ripped, over 6 feet tall with a muscular back in the shape of a V and is wearing a blue “USA Rugby” shirt. I grumble but I’m smart enough to step aside.

Such behavior is all too common. Sorry, Moose, but switching back and forth between machines is rude, disruptive and unnecessary. When you walk away from a machine, you walk away.

Hanging sweaty towels, placing a water bottle on an otherwise vacant machine or marking your territory with a gym bag is just wrong — especially when other people are waiting. And, trust me, they are waiting.

If you feel the need to create your own little circuit training routine, do it when the gym is empty.

I should mention there is debate about coveting thy neighbor’s machines. Some people consider it acceptable to take over a series of machines.

One way to keep the peace is to ask out loud if you think someone else might have dibs.

With many of us plugged into earbuds, sign language such as pointing to a machine and looking around also works wonders.

Another no-no is standing inches from dumbbell racks while you’re lifting. This prevents people from accessing dumbbells or racking them. If you can’t stagger a few steps away from the rack, your weights are too heavy.

Once you are done with barbells, weights, mats or whatever, be sure to return them to their proper place. You don’t leave stuff laying around your home, right?

Smartphones, too, have meant new challenges. Some use them as digital personal trainers and that is awesome. But others use them to while away time between sets and that time can quickly stretch into forever.

If I can do three sets of, say 50 reps (a repetition is one complete motion), while you are cuddling with your phone, you are spending way too much down time.

Along those lines, a machine is not a place to just sit and neither is a bench. I’ll explain: Park benches are for sitting. Gym benches are for exercising.

Lastly, bring a towel if one isn’t provided so you can wipe down equipment. A few months ago, I climbed onto a dip machine only to have my forearm slip on puddles of sweat. Yech.

My list of other don’t-bes: the grunter, the weight dropper, the person who behaves as if he’s the only one in the gym.

Remember, a gym is your home away from home. An empty garage gym feels flat. People coming together to work out creates electricity.

One of my favorite recent gym scenes was seeing a group of young women encourage one another during a series of Plyometrics — jumping onto ever-higher boxes (scary at first, but surprisingly easy if you stay within your ability).

Walking out, one woman carried another of her gym buddies on her shoulders.

But, in truth, they were carrying each other.

Gym training has helped columnist David Whiting finish Ironman triathlons, climb the highest mountains in Africa and North and South America and, most recently, mountain bike in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

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