From yoga classes to aqua aerobics, kickboxing to Krav Maga or doing time on the treadmill, fitness now has interesting options to choose from. Krav maga is a form of martial arts developed by the Israeli defense forces. The same goes for health clubs and gyms. This makes it even more important for the consumer to be aware of what they are opting for and what to be conscious about.
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WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GYM
a. Check if the gym has a physiotherapist, nutritionist, certified and well-informed instructor
b. Speak to existing gym members for their feedback
c. Most gyms offer trial classes. Try this out to get a sense of the equipment and the place
d. Check for equipment quality at the gym. Look for well-known brands such as Startrek and Technogym
e. Inspect if the gym is well-ventilated and clean
f. Read up about fitness programmes so that you know what you are getting into
It’s important to check if the gym has a physiotherapist, nutritionist, certified and well informed instructor. Fitness and martial arts expert Ashwin Mohan thinks you should check the background of the person who’s going to be training you to see what she/he has done before. “Take feedback from existing clients and ask around about the place. Most well known places offer you a trial class and that is very important. If they are not ready to offer a trial class and convincing you to sign up, they are after your money. A good instructor should also have good communication skills.”
Aerobics instructor Wanitha Ashok thinks that there are few basic points that everyone needs to keep in mind before they start a fitness routine. The first is to join a reputed gym. “Or join a gym or fitness studio that hires certified trainers and provides physiotherapists. These are the people who will scan you for any unnatural deviations, posture and flexibility and design a fitness programme accordingly so it’s important that they are qualified for the job. Seventy per cent of the weight loss is attributed to your diet, so a gym should have a nutritionist to give you right diet guidelines.”
Nikhil Bhatia of Gold’s Gym on Old Madras Road adds that it’s important to enrol in a gym that offers good quality equipment. A bad treadmill can lead to knee and back problems. He also adds, “If the treadmill does not have bounce or a good suspension system, or it tends to give jerks, it’s an unsafe (piece of) equipment.” One way to find out the quality is to look for equipment from well-recognised, certified brands like Startrek, Technogym and so on. Another way is to pay attention to your joints after a trial class. “Some amount of muscle pain is normal but if there’s joint pain then stay away from that place,” cautions Mohan.
A smaller gym in your building or locality may offer health benefits at a lesser cost but may not have the right equipment. “These are safe enough for people who have been to good gyms for two or three years and have an idea of fitness but not for beginners,” says Bhatia. Good quality equipment also lessens your chances of injury, adds Wanitha. She also adds that it’s important to note if the gym is kept well-ventilated and clean. “Equipment, floor and toilets should be constantly cleaned to keep germs in check, as the moisture and sweat in the gym becomes a good breeding place for germs and you could end up with fever, cold or cough or even skin allergies due to that.”
Mohan says even if your trial class goes smoothly and you sign up, be alert to how you feel after a month of working out. “The workouts should be varied and even if there’s slight body ache, you should feel energised after them.” He also adds that some slimming centres tend to put you on a high protein, low carbohydrates diet, which can result in health complications like kidney stones. He advises that people should not fall for gimmicks.
Bhatia suggests that if people trust their trainer, they should listen to them. “We do get people who insist on doing only cardio and no weight training and do not take the trainer’s advice.” He gives the example of a client who lost 30 kgs in three months by being constantly on the cardio machines. But post a holiday break he came back with the kilos piled on. “This is why,” he explains, “you need to do sufficient amount of weight training as sometimes it can aggravate and come back.”
Chaitra S Kumar, who is Nutrition In-charge at Talwalkars Gym, Sadashivnagar, feels that people need to read up or have some amount of awareness before they join any fitness programme. “If they do, they can at least judge rightly if the programme or fitness option they are opting for is right for them.” ⊕