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10 Reasons your gym is not working for you.

The marketing and branding is fantastic. The special health insurance rate and rewards attractive. The equipment is state of the art and the place abuzz with members in designer labelled 'Active Wear.' So why are these Health Clubs not delivering on their promise to help you lose weight and get fit?

Slated to offer 'everything' a member could need to meet her fitness and weight loss goals, the mass consumer platform of the nationally syndicated gym is failing in the very thing a member signs up for in the first place: weight loss and fitness! For women, particularly, the large gym environment fails her goals for these reasons.

1. A woman feels overwhelmed by the myriad machines.

Although an induction coaching session is given at sign-up, many women are overwhelmed by the complexity of so many 'fancy' pieces of equipment. Many women feel 'stupid' in the face of this equipment.and will limit herself to the one or two machines she feels she can master (treadmill and stepper usually) for just 20 minutes at a moderate pace. This is a time consuming warm-up, NOT a workout. Completely ineffective as a fitness or weight loss exercise.

Buddy up with a friend who knows her way around a gym: ask her help and follow her routines. Subscribe to a fitness YouTube channel and follow a professional's program to get actual results. 

2. A scary, lonely place.

Many women admit they join a gym for some social interaction. They find little friendly welcome from existing members, but subtle ostracism. Their visits become fewer and further between until ultimately the monthly debit order is the only contact they maintain with the health club.

If social interaction is a goal, you would be better to join a smaller gym studio where your workout times become like a coffee date with familiar friends. It may be a little pricier, but then if you are paying for something you never use, how expensive is your special gym rate after all?

3. Boring Repetition.

Real fitness is an ever-changing process. Many fear changing up a routine a professional trainer or someone in the know originally created for them. An ideal fitness program should enjoy a variety of routines. Some days would be strength training, others a focus on flexibility, yet others a fun, cardio based routine. Imagine eating oats for breakfast every day for a year? Boredom is a recipe for fitness failure.

Fitness classes are as popular today as they were when Jane Fonda first came on the scene in neon Lycra. Energetically stimulating with the bonus feature your trainer is your step-by-step guide. Don't think, just do it.

4. No Extensions.

Even self-motivated professional athletes have a coach to push them further for longer. If no-one is watching, it becomes so easy to make moving motions without actually putting much effort into the movement!

If you want to change your body shape, build muscle. And then hone and shape and define that muscle to get the shape you want. Keep extending the load on your muscles. Add to the weights you lift or add repetitions to your sets to keep your body in a state of continual growth and fitness progression.

5. Out of the Way.

If your fitness facility is not between home and work, work and school or on a regular shopping route you will find a multitude of excuses NOT to go. In the beginning it takes EFFORT to build fitness. If further effort is required to get in the car and drive out of the way to make your fitness appointment... a cookie on the couch will win over every time.

Don't kid yourself. That super reduced rate the gym in the next town is offering will simply be a 12 month arrangement to pour hard earned money into hole.

6. Since I Exercise, I can eat what I want.

The average Olympic athlete can consume 5000 - 6000 calories a day and maintain peak physical standards. That's because they TRAIN six to eight hours a day. For the average gym goer who may spend an hour in the gym (20 minutes walking on a treadmill, 20 minutes wandering around the floor deciding what exercise to do next and 20 minutes in the change room), the cafe latte and bran muffin you treated yourself to after your 'workout' will do exactly what it is meant to do - add to your muffin top!

Only 20% of your weight loss success happens in the gym. The other 80% happens in the kitchen. Strength Training is key to boosting your body's metabolic needs (muscle needs fuel so calorie burn is increased), but a nutritionally balanced eating habit is essential for actual fat loss.

7. No Regular Measurements are taken

How do you know where you are, if you never see where you are? Regular definitive measurements will keep you up to date of exactly where your routine needs to change. Scale weight is just one small measure of progress. Ideally you want to measure centimeter changes, body fat %, BMI (Body Mass Index), and Blood Pressure levels monthly to see if what you are doing has been effective.

Scale weight can remain unchanged or show just minor drops even as your actual health level skyrockets. Lean muscle mass is HEAVY. Floppy fat mass is light. A person could lose 5% body fat (amazing!), drop a dress size and still show just 1 or 2 kilograms scale weight loss. 

8. Long, binding contracts.

Although most gym's would like to keep you fully engaged in their fitness programs, the reality is, the longer the contract, the further away the 'Finish Post.' Humans tend to lose momentum after an initial burst of enthusiasm. It becomes a noose around the neck: every day you think you should go to gym, but end each day with a nagging sense of guilt and shame that you have failed again to make it to gym...

Shorter '12 Week' or '2 Month' Challenges have an inbuilt incentive for the shorter time frame you have to complete a target. 

9. Ineffective or Unsafe Exercises

Some movements need just a small adjustment of body weight or posture to make it either super more effective, or potentially injurious. Having a personal trainer or fitness coach to oversee your exercise routine means you will be urged to make every movement actually count. EFFORT in a movement is where fitness progression is made.

Neck pain while doing sit-ups is a classic example of both ineffective and unsafe practices. If a woman does not ENGAGE the core (slight tilt of the pelvis and activation of the abs) while making a sit-up, strain is put on the neck. This means the routine is both ineffective on the abdominal muscles and injurious on the neck.

10. You get what you pay for

Ultimately, the large health club is geared to members who are knowledgeable enough to plan their own workout programs and have the self motivation to work that plan. Personal Trainers offer their services within a club (at a substantial additional fee to the membership rate) because few of the general public have the time or knowledge to get the outcome they actually seek.

We regularly get new members at DynamX who believed they were fit from the gym chain - after all, they used their membership 4 or 5 times a week.... Within the first week they realize how unfit they actually were! Within a month they are amazed at how their body has changed shape, their performance has improved and they have actual health! You can't just do it, you need to do it RIGHT.

Words: Rae Dengler, Health Specialist.


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