Ten Things To Do at the Gym When You Aren’t Sure What To Do.

It’s Not All About the Elliptical Trainer.

Be honest: How many of us just go straight to the elliptical machine everyday, press Quick Start, and call it a workout?

I get it. The elliptical is safe, simple, foolproof, magazine-reader friendly, and tablet-watching friendly. But is it CHALLENGING? Is it even the least bit HARD for you to do? Or do you just go straight to it at the gym because you aren’t sure what else to do?

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret….

There is more to exercise than thirty minutes on the elliptical machine! Mix it up! Make it exciting!

First of all, when a client asks me “How do I get rid of this (disappointedly grabbing the midsection)?” my first response is “DIET”. Second, change the exercise program. Thirty minutes of steady pedal moving five days a week is not going to get you the changes you want to see in the mirror. A few days of focused, long slow cardio is good (20–60 minutes at a easy to moderate pace); but there needs to be more to your program. Something different, challenging, strengthening, pushing with every workout.

The following is a list of 10…just 10…other options than steady (boring) elliptical cardio. The possibilities are endless, though….

10 OTHER things to do at the gym….

  1. Hire a fitness coach. This is not a plug for myself. This is probably the best thing you can physically do for yourself when you are at the gym. Hire a coach who will create a program designed specifically for YOU and YOUR GOALS. A fitness coach can guide you through exercises and workouts that you would never imagine on your own! Your personal fitness assistant!
  2. Take a class. Your gym probably has a schedule full of cross training classes and maybe even some indoor cycling class or anything else you’ve been wanting to try. Classes are a great place to start with something new. Although not as one-on-one as a coach, an instructor can plan a class and modify for any levels as needed. Be honest with the instructor before class and say it is your first time or it’s been awhile…we appreciate the honesty!!
  3. Strength training. An important aspect of any fitness program. Strength training is important for anyone whether trying to lose, gain, or maintain weight. There are obvious reasons to strength train including building muscle mass and increase muscle tone, but the benefits of strength training go further than that including improving bone density (ladies, this is important), decreasing stress levels, increasing endurance, and raising resting calorie burn. Strength training includes: free weights, body weights, resistance bands, and any other gym toys that create resistance for the muscles while working.
  4. Metabolic conditioning circuit. Maximum effort, minimum time. Full body work utilizing different energy systems. Think high intensity movements combined with strength exercises.
  5. High Intensity Interval Training. I like to do my intervals on the treadmill. It makes time FLY by! You can also do interval training without an equipment using high intensity body weight moves increasing heart rate to 80–100% of your Max Heart Rate followed by fixed rest times.
  6. Yoga. Yoga is a perfect for low-impact, full body core workouts during the week. And, if you are anything like me, it is a lesson in sitting still and letting go!
  7. Swim. Swimming is one of the absolute best cardiovascular activities you can add into your workout. High resistance and zero impact combine for the ultimate full body activity. Not into swimming? Try kick-boarding a few laps.
  8. Go outside and walk. Feeling like all you have energy for is something low, slow, and simple? Get some fresh air and enjoy a long walk outside. Better yet, bring a friend or partner with you and get some good one-on-one time with each other! Need some alone time? Plug into a podcast or some relaxing jams.
  9. Bring a friend. Working out is always more friend when someone else is there. Each of you picks 5 exercises to do at 20 reps each. See how many you can finish in an allotted amount of time (20min? 30min? 45min? 60min?)
  10. Rest, Stretch, Roll out. Maybe your body is screaming “REST!!” So you should listen. Do some light stretching and breathing exercises along with good myofascial release with a roller.

Exercise can be SO fun and enjoyable with you mix it up! Take a chance and (safely) try something new! If you are unsure about any equipment, classes, or general fitness, ASK the fitness professionals around you…we are all very happy to help and educate.