What Makes a Great Gym? Part I

10420366_800561496659196_5160659795092338580_n“What makes a great gym?” Is it the equipment? The location? The atmosphere?

It’s a question I used to ask myself when I was starting Boomer Fitness. When I was planning this program, I wanted to make sure that my ideal gym had all the best traits you could ask for. Sometimes, I still find myself asking the same question when I’m reviewing my progress over the last few years. I love Boomer Fitness, and I know it’s got some of the best features you could find in any gym out there. But I still like to ask myself: What really makes a Great Gym?

When I ask clients about why they join a gym, I usually get a few variations of the same handful of answers. “It has some great equipment that I don’t have at home.” “It’s really close to where I work.” “My friends go to that gym, and I figured I would do the same.”

All perfectly valid reasons to go to the gym, but it just doesn’t seem like the right kind of answer. Most gyms have comparable equipment, and a lot of people seem to go out of their way to get to a particular gym. So what really makes a gym a place you want to go back to?

To discover what’s in a great gym, we actually have to ask another question: What do you want to get out of your gym? I break that question down into two answers: Time Well Spent and Time Enjoyed.

Time Well Spent – Let’s face it, when you’re going to be spending a lot of time working out, you want to be spending the right kind of time there. I have said time and time again that fitness is a long-term process, and not something that you can get results in with half-hearted effort. You have to give it your all, 100% of the time. That means a lot of dedicated hours at a gym.

So why would you want to go to a place where you feel like your time is being wasted? Heading to a gym and getting nothing done is like going to a Packers Game and playing angry birds on your phone. But so many times when I worked at a larger gym, I would see people who weren’t using their gym time to its fullest.

It’s game time when you’re at the gym! Use it to your full advantage!

Time Enjoyed –  It’s a lot easier to go to the gym to work out if you’re looking forward to your time there, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. One of my clients has told me that in the past, the hardest part about going to a gym was resolving herself to get out the door. Going to work out wasn’t something she necessarily enjoyed; it was a chore that she had to do.

Sure, it’s a workout, and it’s probably going to push your physical condition. But that doesn’t mean you have to dread going to the gym! You want to enjoy the time that you spend at the gym because you will be more willing to back to the gym. Turn the idea of ” I could go to the gym” to “I get to go to the gym,” and you’re going to find you’re spending a lot more time working your muscles.

It’s not rocket science. When you go to the gym, you want to spend your time working on relevant parts of your body, but you also want to enjoy yourself while you do it. But like a lot of things in life, this might sound easier said than done. What do you factor in when you’re signing up for a gym to make sure you hit these two marks?

To me, both of these points can be attained by making sure your gym has one key factor: the right kind of community. This ranges from the personal trainers to the people you work out with, from the group work out sessions to the individual one-on-one meetings we have. It differs from person to person, but having the right type of community that fits your work-out style is the difference between having an average gym an a Great Gym.

So how do you find that kind of community? Where do you start to look for the right kind of atmosphere that will help you be your best at the gym?

Be sure to check in with my blog on Thursday to find out!

Top Weight Training and Cardio Exercises for Baby Boomers

How often do you engage in weight bearing and cardio exercises? If you don’t readily know the answer to that question you may be missing the mark. It’s important for baby boomers, as well as everyone else, to engage in exercise regularly. Doing so will help keep you feeling better and will help to prevent, as well as delay, the onset of disease. It can also help give you stronger bones and a healthier heart.

The key is that you have to do it regularly. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if you are 65 and up and don’t have health conditions that limit you, it’s important that older adults get either 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise per week, along with muscle strengthening activities twice per week, or 1.75 hours per week of vigorous activity, along with muscle strengthening activities twice per week.

As a personal trainer who works mainly with older adults, or baby boomers, in the Vancouver, Washington area, the type of exercising one should do often becomes the question. Here are some of the top cardio and weight training exercises to consider making a part of your routine:

  • Good moderate intensity cardio exercises include brisk walking, hiking, bike riding, doubles tennis, gardening, water aerobics, and dancing.
  • Good options for vigorous intensity cardio exercise include jogging, running, singles tennis, dancing, biking over 10 miles per hour, hiking uphill, and swimming laps.
  • Good options for weight training exercises include tai chi, yoga, golf, hiking, and strength training.

Ideally you always want to start out slow and build your way up to doing more. If you start out with a time-consuming workout routine you are going to be less likely to stick with it, will have an increased risk for injuries, and may decide early on you don’t want to stick with it. Maintaining the routine is important, so you want to take the right steps to get it going right form the start.

When it comes to having the best workout route, which includes both cardio and weight training, it is ideal to work with a personal trainer. Working with a personal trainer, such as myself, you will have a program that is custom to you, your fitness level, and your goals. Working with many older adults in the Vancouver, Washington area with their exercise needs, they have learned first hand how a personal trainer can help them get the results they need, while also avoiding injury.

Top Myths Regarding Testosterone

There is a good chance that you have heard a lot about testosterone. You have probably especially heard a lot about low testosterone, since that’s the issue that gets the most discussion. But what you may not realize is that a lot of what you have heard may actually be myths. Knowing the difference between testosterone myths and realities can make a big difference when it comes to overcoming the challenge!

On a regular basis I have at least one of my clients that I’m giving personal training to that will ask me about testosterone. They recite a myth they have heard somewhere, seeking confirmation about it being true, or they may be looking for information and assistance on increasing their testosterone. Whether you are here in the Vancouver, Washington area or beyond, it helps to know testosterone myths.

Here are some of the top myths regarding testosterone:

Myth: Changes are going to happen quickly. Reality: Many people are looking for overnight testosterone changes. This is not going to happen. It takes time once you start making lifestyle changes in order to see an increase in your testosterone level.

Myth: Testosterone makes people violent. Reality: There is nothing saying that testosterone is going to make people act mean or violent. Not at all.

Myth: Higher testosterone will lead to prostate cancer. Reality: Higher levels of testosterone have not been shown to have any connection to cancer. So no need to worry there.

Myth: Those with high (or low) testosterone are likely to be bald. Reality: Those with both high and low testosterone have a full head of hair, as well as male pattern baldness. Forget there being a connection between testosterone levels and baldness

Myth: Only older people will experience problems with testosterone. Reality: Anyone can have testosterone problems. In fact, around age 30 will often begin the period when testosterone levels begin to decline for most men who experience issues. Testosterone issues are not isolated to baby boomers. Not by a long shot.

Myth: Not getting enough sleep will lower your testosterone levels. Reality: There has been some evidence that it may impact levels in men over the age of 80. The more sleep they got in one study, the better their testosterone levels were in the morning. But sleep didn’t impact all age groups in the research that has been done.

This is just a small sampling of the testosterone myths that are out there. If you want to know what is myth and what is reality when it comes to testosterone speak with a personal trainer. We have been trained in the area of testosterone, as well as natural approaches of improving yours. I’ve helped many people with theirs, through personal training, throughout the Vancouver, Washington area.


No Man or Woman Left Behind – The Importance of Having a Fitness Partner

Did you ever notice that when it comes to food and fitness other people can get you to do things? It’s true! Whether healthy or unhealthy, other people have a way of influencing our own decisions. Maybe it’s opting to have the dessert following that lunch out with the girlfriends, or having a couple of beers with your burger, simply because the guys are doing it and telling you not worry about it. Both of these scenarios will help pack in extra calories that can lead to weight gain, as well as help you fall off your course of healthy habits!

Having support for what we are doing, whether it is watching what we eat, quitting smoking, or trying to get fit, is essential. Supportive people can help you stay the course, while unsupportive ones can help you quickly lose your way. In your quest for health and wellness, it is important to create a supportive team, and also be a supportive team member that helps others.

There are several ways you can create a fitness friendly team that all support each other in striving to be healthy. Here are some things to consider doing in order to help get your team to stay the course:

Encourage each other. Whether you see or talk once a day or once week, focus on the positives in finding ways to support each other’s goals to get healthy.

Be accessible by phone and also call one of your team members whenever you feel like grabbing the chocolate cake. They can help remind you of the many reasons you are seeking healthy, as well as friendly support.

Create a Facebook group of your get healthy team members. In that group you can all post articles (and blog posts, hint, hint), that promote healthy living. This will keep you all up on the news and give you a forum for discussing issues.

Schedule workouts together, even if it is taking a walk. When people are scheduled to work out with others, they are more apt to do it. Being together will help encourage accountability.

Regularly discuss your progress, challenges, and health-related issues. This will keep everyone motivated and help you find ways to get over any hurdles you may encounter.

There is strength in numbers. When you team up with supportive people, and even be a supportive person yourself, you will help to strengthen your resolve to be healthy. You will also be helping someone else to achieve theirs. Plus, there is a good chance you will have a few laughs along the way!