01.16.13: I (finally) Joined a Gym.

This sentence feels good to type: I joined a gym!

Well, it doesn’t exactly “feel” good, as such, because typing requires that I hold my arms up and my arms are not so much interested in being held up.  They are sore.  They would prefer to flop pitifully down by my sides or to receive a nice massage.  The soreness – not just my arms, but all over, you should see me try to climb stairs, it’s a right hoot – is amusing in a masochistic way.  It’s a memory come back to life, and a sign of good things to come and a good road I’m on.

Important note: pain does not equal gain.  That’s just silly.  Hard work equals gain.  Commitment, focus, preparation, and ambition equal gain.  Pain is an occasional byproduct that quickly fades as one gains.

I guess the timing of my join-up puts me in the category of cattle that stream to health clubs every January and are, generally, fated to be ghosts by March.  Well, maybe the first half of that category.  I should hope I know better by now.  It took time for the pieces to fall into place so I that I could make a commitment to a facility, and I’m ready for the long haul.

The new year is a great time to make positive changes.  I openly and shamelessly poke fun at resolutions, but any milestone – be it a flip of the calendar, an anniversary, or a big change like a graduation or starting a new job – is an opportune time to reflect, set new goals, and improve.  Every day is a good time to reflect, set new goals, and improve, of course; milestones tend to bring us face-to-face with the past, present, and future in a way that sets us up for real action as opposed to contemplation and navel-gazing.  If you can find your navel.  If you can’t, then the time for contemplation is officially O-VER.  The time for acting is now.

Lots of people join gyms (or health clubs, or whatever you want to call them – I actually favor “health club” because “gym” takes me back to sweaty humiliation in middle school, but “gym” is the more frequently-used term, I think) every January.  Not a very high percentage of them succeed.  By “succeed” I mean, “make healthy changes that stick.”  How can I, and you, avoid the cliché?

People with support systems have a higher probability of succeeding than those who go it alone.  Support systems take on many forms – fitness classes at churches, walking buddies in neighborhoods or at work, and so on.  I know people who have found great support systems online.  It’s a matter of finding the right support system for you, at the right time.  A good gym that’s also the right gym for you can provide much of what you need: a place to go, something to do when you get there, and people who can guide you directly or just by example.  Everyone does not need a gym, but the right gym is an invaluable asset in your healthy endeavors.

So … what’s the right gym?  That’s a topic for multiple entries, and I’ll share my thoughts based on my experience belonging to a bunch of gyms and seeing zero results; ultimately belonging to two gyms in two different cities that were the right ones at the right time and seeing great results; and on my experience as a personal trainer and director at a health club.  And on now, of course.  Square One.

I have seen it all, y’all.  Been there, done that, got a T-shirt, went back there, T-shirt is too small now, doing it again.  That’s what Square One is all about.  Welcome.

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