Let’s get physical

  • Pamela Brice<br>Shoreline / Lake Forest Park Enterprise editor
  • Friday, February 29, 2008 11:38am

It’s that time of year again — time to make that New Year’s resolution and vow to “get in shape.”

But to keep that vow is another issue entirely. It’s a tough challenge because it means changing your lifestyle, but there are also some choices to make that will ease the challenge.

The first thing to do is to find a way of working out that can become a habit. That might mean snow shoeing or skiing every weekend, or jogging around Green Lake or on the Interurban Trail. But for me, this time of year, the gym is my favorite work-out setting.

When it’s cold and raining and dark outside, in order to make working out a habit, I had to join a gym, and location means everything.

I selected a gym that is very close to my office. That way, at the end of the day, I can hop in my car and drive straight to the gym without even thinking about it. If I picked a gym close to my house, there was too much of a chance I’d skip out, because by the time I get near my neighborhood, there’s no turning back and my car simply bee-lines to my driveway and my body bee-lines to dinner.

Flexible hours are also important to me. I wanted a gym with really flexible hours, not one that limits when I can work out. So I chose 24-hour Fitness in Lynnwood, by Alderwood Mall. It’s not that I’d be going to the gym in the middle of the night, but as I was going around comparing gyms, I noticed that some gyms offer cheaper prices if you agree to limit the time you can work out, and that meant anywhere between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Well, that’s prime workout time, and if I agreed to that, there’s no way I’d ever make it to the gym.

Finally, I like the structure and variety that gyms offer, and that’s important so you don’t get bored and quit. You can go to a variety of aerobics classes from kick boxing to hip-hop dancing to spinning. There’s also lots of treadmills, crosstrainers, stationary bikes and other cardiovascular machinery that can help you get your heart rate up.

And what I like about 24-Hour Fitness in Lynnwood is that as the membership has grown, the gym has added machinery, so you don’t have to wait in line. Also, it has a swimming pool, dry heat and steam saunas, and a whirlpool, and to me, that makes the difference.

If I get bored, I can take a water aerobics class. If it gets crowded on the machinery, the pool is a good bet, because it’s rarely used, and I can get a good cardiovascular work out swimming 30 minutes of laps. The saunas help so I don’t feel so sore afterwords.

Best of all, joining a gym also gives you the staff of the resource, who can help you meet your goal. I got a free consultation to introduce me to all the equipment, then the pressure was on to hire a personal trainer. My budget wouldn’t allow it, but if your’s does, you might consider it. A personal trainer can help you come up with work out routines to meet your goals, and sometimes having another person invested in your goals makes all the difference.