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Fall into Fitness

As I walked to work on this cool, breezy morning, I realized just how quickly the summer flew by. I know the calendar says we still have about 15 days left, but I think it’s safe to say most of us think of Labor Day as the unofficial end to the season.  This also marks the time of year where people’s routines are getting back to “normal.” School starts, summer Fridays come to an end and Halloween items start popping up in the stores. (We won’t even talk about the Christmas decorations I’ve already seen in some stores.) So, forget New Year’s – this is the time to make fitness a part of your daily routine and turn your goals for a healthier lifestyle into a reality!

If you’ve been putting off joining a gym, now’s your chance to make it happen. Many health clubs are offering some of the best deals of the year. I know my gym, New York Sports Clubs, has offers including join now, pay later; refer a friend and get a $50 dues credit; and discounts on personal training packages. Other gyms like Crunch have month-by-month payment plans with no contracts.  If you know someone who already belongs to a gym, ask him or her to get a guest pass so you can “tag along” for a workout.  This gives you the chance to see if that particular gym has the right vibe for you.

This is also generally a time when gyms mix up the group exercise schedule a bit, so there are lots of opportunities to try some of the classes you’ve always been curious about. Don’t want to go it alone? See if a gym near the office offers classes that you and some colleagues could go to during a lunch break or after hours. Having a friend or loved one share in your fitness journey can be just the motivation you need to stick with your new routine.

Work at home or keep busy running the household? Carve out some time in the morning after sending off those morning emails or sending the kids off to school so you can head to the gym and get your heart pumping.

If the gym isn’t your thing, no sweat! Depending on where you live, fall is a beautiful time to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer. Maybe there are hiking or biking trails not far from where you live or work. Got kids? Help them with their spiral and toss a football around on off-practice days or kick a soccer ball around the yard before homework and dinner time.  Basically, make the most of the daylight while it lasts!

As we all settle in to our fall routines, it’s the perfect time to pencil exercise into your schedule so you don’t miss out on the many opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Benefits of Group Exercise

Boxing? Yoga? There's a Class Out There for You!

Every Tuesday night for the past six years, unless I was sick, on vacation or on the road for work, you’d find me in the front right corner of the group exercise studio in the New York Sports Club near my office sweating it out in my favorite class of the week. “Club Strength” utilizes free weights and weight plates for a total body workout of resistance training. Add the kick-butt choreography and music selections from fitness instructor Wayne Sims, and you have all the makings for a class that gets the heart rate going and brings on the burn in all your muscle groups.  I absolutely love how I feel when I leave this class.

Of course, even Wayne has to take a vacation or sick day now and then and a substitute instructor fills in.  Unfortunately, the sub who filled in tonight just didn’t do it for me.  I’m not here to name names or bad-mouth anyone, as everyone has their own teaching style and technique. Maybe some of the other class regulars enjoyed tonight’s workout.  For me, it was simply disappointing to leave the gym without my normal Tuesday night rush.

While this let-down won’t prevent me from going back to the gym tomorrow, I realize one not-so-hot class experience can wreak havoc on your fitness goals if you’re just getting started on a workout routine.  You decide to take the plunge and join a gym, you try a class and then you simply hate it.  Well, here’s what I say about that predicament: don’t despair and don’t give up!

There are so many different classes available today that it would be hard not to find something you like. Whether it’s “old school” aerobics, spinning, boxing, core conditioning, Pilates or yoga, there really is something for everyone at every skill level. Group classes can be intense, but between the heart-pounding music and the contagious energy of your instructor and classmates, it’s a fun way to get a great workout – sometimes in less than an hour.  Enjoying all these benefits for so many years and wanting to spread the fun to others is what led me to study and become a Certified Group Exercise Instructor with the Aerobics & Fitness Assocation of America (AFAA).

Like many other activities in life, when it comes to exercise, you need to find something you like doing so you can stick with it. Participating in group exercise classes can be a great way to find your own groove on how to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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