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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Gym Membership

Having a gym membership can be beneficial to keep you on track with your diabetes management goals through exercising. There are plenty of perks involved with having a membership. A word of warning, though: Many, many people end up with monthly charges on their credit card for their gym membership but hardly ever break a sweat because they never make it to the gym regularly.

Maximizing a gym membership

Maybe people don’t think they have time, or maybe they’re intimidated to get the most out of their membership. Either way, here are five ways to help you maximize your gym membership benefits and find some motivation.

1. Ask for a tour of the facility

The gym I belong to has a number of staff members walking around at all times that are happy to show clients around, and I bet your gym does, too. If you don’t know how to use the equipment or what exercises are right for you, you’re unlikely to continue going to the gym, so speak up!

Learn about equipment and exercises

You can ask trainers or other staff members specific questions, like what exercises work your upper body the best, which cardio machine would be most suitable for someone who is trying to lose weight, or some simple exercises you can do in the weight room without feeling intimidated.

2. Try a group class

Yes, taking an unfamiliar class can be nerve-racking, but get yourself there early and ask the instructor or someone else who has already taken the class to show you around. They can guide you on what equipment you will need and help you get it set up.

Classes can be fun

I find the hardest part is going the first time, and then after that group exercise has so many benefits! Your push yourself harder than if you were alone and you can make new gym friends, not to mention it makes exercise go by faster and makes it way more fun!

3. Recruit a gym buddy

Another tip for making the most of your gym membership? Get a friend to motivate you! Have your friend meet you there or just text you to make sure you went, as having some sort of accountability partner is a great tool. I texted a friend of mine who lives hundreds of miles away and told her she needed to encourage me to go to the gym the next morning, and knowing that I told her I was going forced me to follow through. Having a friend you rely on meeting at the gym is also a great motivation to get your routine in gear.

4. Schedule time to exercise

It is so easy to think that you "don’t have enough time," but if you look at your schedule you will find that you can certainly fit it in a few times a week. Go on your lunch break, go right after work, get up early, and go. Once it becomes a habit, it will be easy. The first few weeks are the hardest to stick to it. Even 30 minutes of gym time is worth it!

5. Do not push yourself too hard

Everyone who has ever joined a gym on January 1 and told themselves they would go six days a week for an hour and a half has probably failed. OK, maybe not everyone, but if you have it in your head you need to go almost every day and need to go hard-core every time, you're going to get burned out fast. It's important to remember that exercise is not a punishment.

Be realistic with your goals

Aim to go three or four times a week and do a mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching. If you love it and want to go more, go more. If you find walking for half an hour on the treadmill isn’t enough, walk for longer or add intervals to your routine. Just don’t push yourself so hard but you never want to go back.

With this advice in mind, this will be your best year yet at the gym! What are the best ways to keep yourself motivated and maximize your gym membership?

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