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Fitness Facility

Put Your Workout in Place

By Rob Killen
Faith & Fitness Magazine Choosing the right exercise environment can be one of the most important decisions you can make when beginning a new exercise program or developing it to the next level. Take a look at some important considerations when selecting when, how, and where you seek to improve your health and fitness. We’ll examine some critical decisions you should make, including the time, type of exercise, financial commitment, and atmosphere that’s most comfortable for you when seeking to start a new exercise routine or improve your training.

What’s Important to You?

The first thing to do is to identify what type of environment is going to be best suited for your individual goals and needs. What types of exercise do you enjoy the most? What equipment is essential in helping you achieve your fitness goals? Should you join a co-ed health club, the local YMCA, a same-sex health club (women's or men's only), your local recreation center, or join a bike riding club? Would you benefit more from hiring a personal trainer and exercising at their private studio? Does participating in a group exercise program, with the added camaraderie of exercising with others, suit your style? Are you better off buying some equipment for your home and exercising on your own? The answers may be simple for some, or quite complicated for others.

Home vs. Away

An important thing to keep in mind is that what may be the best exercise environment for your spouse, friend, co-worker, or neighbor may not necessarily be the best environment for you. Although statistics show that having a regular workout partner can greatly enhance your consistency in adhering to a regular routine, you still need to make sure that the facility has everything you need to get the most from your workouts. Unless you're extremely dedicated, few people can stick to a regular routine of exercise within the confines of their own home. Distractions at home (kids, chores, the phone, pets, etc.) can be abundant and keep you away from your regular workout routine. The majority of people are going to have the best chance for success if they have a specific place and location that takes them away from any other distractions or obstacles while exercising. This location could be in the form of a local park, walking trail, outdoor track, bike riding trail, or your local fitness center.

Timing is Everything

Overall, you’ll have a far greater chance of adhering to a regular exercise routine if you establish a set time each week to exercise, as opposed to a random hit and miss approach. For example, if you set aside Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 6:30 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. each week as your designated exercise schedule, and faithfully stick to this schedule for the first couple of months, you'll soon find that this will become part of your normal weekly routine. Write down and record your workout times on your daily calendar or organizer. If you develop the mindset that your exercise time is a top priority just like any other important appointment, you’ll be less likely to cancel and miss your workouts. When you’re confronted with a schedule conflict due to travel, work, or family responsibilities, simply set aside an alternate time or day to do your exercise. For instance, maybe you need to be at the office early one morning to attend a staff meeting, and this means that you’ll miss your normal exercise routine. Rather than simply blowing off your workout for the day, try exercising on your lunch break or right after work. On days when it’s just not possible to fit in the time to exercise (we all have these), make up for it by adding in a workout on another day that is normally designated as a day off from your normal exercise routine.

Prayer is Vital

As many readers already know, daily prayer can be a powerful tool in helping you with any area of your life. Make sure to seek God’s will in asking Him to lead you to the best facility and environment for you. If you ask, and you’re persistent in your prayers, God will provide the answers. It’s also just as important to pray to God for the strength and discipline you’ll need to stick with your routine. Our physical bodies are very important to God, and we honor Him by the way in which we take care of our bodies. Ask God to help you transform your life by providing you with the energy, focus, and dedication you need to get the most out of your exercise routine. The same should also be said for acquiring and maintaining consistently healthy eating habits. Proper nutrition goes hand in hand with developing the right exercise routine. Remember that whenever you exercise and make the right food choices, you’re also honoring God by taking care of the body He gave you.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Make sure that you choose a facility that offers a good variety of equipment, which is maintained in good working condition. Regardless of your fitness goals, or current level of fitness, everyone needs to incorporate flexibility, resistance training with free weights and strength training machines, and cardiovascular exercise into their regular exercise routine. You also position yourself for the best chance for success by incorporating as much variety into your exercise routine. Cross-training and doing a variety of fitness activities keep your routine fresh, fun, and interesting.

For example, maybe you meet with a personal trainer twice each week, attend an indoor cycling class once a week, and meet your spouse or neighbor on the weekend for an outdoor bike ride or light run. The important thing is to be consistent and stay active. Once you find the activities and type of exercises you prefer and enjoy the most, stick with these as the mainstay of your workout regimen, but don't be afraid to continue trying new classes and exercise routines. You may end up loving pilates, swimming, or even start training and competing in triathlons!

Show Me the Money!

Your exercise routine and fitness activities will have some financial considerations, too. You may need to invest in some new workout attire, new athletic shoes, or a membership to your local health club or YMCA. Keep an open mind. Too many people have the wrong perspective about investing money into their physical fitness, whether in the form of equipment, memberships, or proper clothing. Many people often don't invest in maintaining or improving their health and fitness until after they have some health problems or get a bad medical report from their doctor. A regular investment in time and money can keep you looking and feeling great. Don't wait until you're forced to do something, but start now, and the sooner your exercise routine becomes a habit, the better you'll be for it.

Is Cheaper Better?

Maybe your next-door neighbor belongs to a local health club that he says is the cheapest place in town, and he only pays $30 a month to exercise there. At first thought, you might think $30 a month sounds like a great deal, compared to the club your co-worker attends. She pays twice that much a month. If the $30 a month club is over-crowded, has old and out-dated equipment, and is not kept very clean, then is it really such a great buy? However if the club that is $60 per month is clean, has state-of-the art facilities, has staff that provide great service, has excellent personal trainers, and has a workout floor that is twice as big with twice the amount of equipment to service half the members, then all of a sudden the extra $1 a day you’ll pay may be a great bargain. In other cases where the prices are close, perhaps the services, programs, and equipment are dramatically different at both facilities. Think about costs and value beyond the actual dollar amount.

Seeing is Believing

Another thing to keep in mind when considering joining a facility is that you cannot shop for a place to exercise over the phone. You have to take the initiative to visit a facility in person to see if it's right for you. It is also very difficult (if not impossible) to assess the value and worth of any facility without seeing it up close. You wouldn't shop for a car without first seeing and test driving it in person. Likewise, don't decide where you plan to exercise until you see and visit the facility in person and meet with a staff member. It is also a good idea to speak with a few of the members who are exercising there already. Ask them how their experience has been. What do they like most about the facility? What do they not like? What are their main reasons for joining? You may get some excellent feedback on some key areas you never considered before. The information you receive from current members may be a critical factor in your evaluation of whether or not this facility is best suited for you.

Other Important Considerations

Make sure to visit during the times you plan to exercise, too. You want to get a comfort level for the atmosphere and environment during the times you’ll be there most often. Is the facility crowded? Is there enough room, equipment, parking, and lockers to accommodate everyone at the time you will be there? Other important considerations include the music, the type of crowd to whom the facility caters, the hours of operation, and convenience to and from your home or job.

For example, if you want an environment that is conducive to a growing faith lifestyle, then you may not be too comfortable exercising in a club that plays excessively loud music with vulgar lyrics and profanity. Can you afford the 30 minutes of drive time one-way it takes to get there, or would you be better joining a facility that is only 5-10 minutes away from home? Check to see if there are any facilities that offer a spiritual component, whether in the form of Christian-based nutritional counseling services, or weekly Bible study and prayer group sessions that you can attend.

Remember that total and complete fitness encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The more you incorporate all of these components into your program, the better off you'll be. Find the place to work out that is just right for you. It may be at a large and lavish club, in a smaller studio with a trainer, or at home with select equipment that is specific to your needs. OR – it may be some combination. When you apply yourself and get it down to a science, you’ll put your workout in place.

This article copyrighted © Faith & Fitness Magazine and Rob Killen. Used by permission. Faith & Fitness Magazine is published free online 6 times per year at The magazine’s team of experts helps thousands of people worldwide to build physical and spiritual strength. Brad Bloom, publisher, and Rob Killen provide consulting and support to fitness facilities and churches. For more information:

Rob Killen

Rob Killen is a 20-year veteran in the health and fitness industry. He received his bachelor’s in Education from Wayland Baptist University in Texas, and his master’s in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Rob served in the U.S. Air Force from 1988–1992, where he was awarded The Air Force Achievement Medal for helping make the Reese Air Force Base Athletic Program in Lubbock, Texas, one of the most effective and successful in the Air Force. He regularly consults with health clubs. Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer with the American Council on Exercise, and a former competitive bodybuilder. He attends Williamsburg Community Chapel, an interdenominational faith based church in Williamsburg, Va.


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