Breaking up (with your gym) is hard to do

I feel like I’m at a bit of a fitness crossroad at the moment.

My goals have changed slightly, and I’ve also changed my idea for what methods to use to achieve those goals. I’m not too good at change — especially once I get a decent routine started — so this is a bit of an adjustment. However, I’m hopeful once I make the adjustment, I’ll see even greater improvement in the pursuit of my goals.

Loosely speaking, I’ve had about three-ish goals since I started taking my fitness seriously little more than two years ago… 1: run a 5-minute mile, 2: have ripped abs, and 3-ish: be able to do handstand pushups.

I put the “-ish” on the handstand pushups because that goal hasn’t been as important to me as the first two. No. 2 isn’t as important to me as No. 1, but it’s way closer to No. 1 than No. 3 is to No. 2.

The routine I’ve established to work toward these goals is probably even more than simply decent, so it’s been hard to break away from it.

When I first decided to get serious, I signed up at a new gym — a Snap Fitness down the road from my apartment — and hired a personal trainer. (By “hired,” I mean I signed up for sessions with the trainer at the gym I had just signed up at.)

Over the course of the 27 months I’ve been at my gym, I feel like “the trainer at the gym” became “my trainer.” I worked out with her once a week for most of that time (there’d been breaks here and there, of course). My typical workout week would consist of meeting with her and going through a routine she wrote for me on the first day, then alternating running days and days doing the routine she gave me over the course of the rest of the week, sometimes sprinkling in a rest day here or there as I saw fit.

Over time, and after discussions with her, I added in an abs/core class she leads at the gym as well as a day where I climb stairs at my work building.

I credit my trainer with progressing my fitness immensely. The pattern she had me in, and all the individual routines she assigned me worked very well for me.

While I’ve not yet reached any of my original goals, the byproducts of what I’ve been doing in pursuit of those goals have been great: I’m faster, I have more endurance, I’m stronger, I’m more toned. Basically everything you would want. (For the record, I weigh just about the same as I did when I first started. I’ve just shifted it and made it “good weight.”)

I feel like I’m now at the point, though, where I want to take my fitness to the next level. I also feel like achieving my initial goals requires me to take my fitness to the next level. That’s why I decided not only to stop working out with my trainer, but to switch gyms altogether. Even as a non-member, I’ll continue going to the abs/core class once a week at my old gym, but as of Feb. 1, I’ll be switching from Snap to the Wisconsin Athletic Club.

The WAC is more like a YMCA in its appeal to most people, as it’s less about working out to get in shape, but rather it provides working out as a conduit to a more social fitness experience. It’s class-oriented and even to a small degree family-oriented.

That’s not why I’m going there. I’d cut out all social aspects of a gym if it were up to me. I’m going there because during a week-long trial membership I signed up for in December, I discovered the WAC near me has a few pieces of equipment that could really benefit me in the pursuit of my goals.

I’ve been writing myself a new, more running-heavy schedule recently, with a lot of non-stairs-yet-stair-specific-training as well. The WAC has a few things to help me out in both regards, specifically multiple treadmills that max out at 14 mph (for my running), self-propelled treadmills (also for my running), and also a couple other treadmills that go up to an incline of 30 (for stair climb endurance).

The incline on all nine treadmills at my current gym maxes out at 15. Six of the nine treadmills at my current gym max out only at 11 mph. The other three max out at 12.4 mph, and of those three, two are clunky and break often.

More features the WAC has that my Snap doesn’t are rowing machines and spin classes, both of which are beneficial to stair climb training. Or so says stair climbers more successful than me.

Both gyms have pull-up bars and TRX equipment, so those aspects of my training shouldn’t change. The WAC is inferior to my local Snap only in that it doesn’t offer tanning, which I don’t use anyway.

One thing I will miss about Snap is the ability to use any Snap anywhere while I’m out of town. I’ve definitely utilized that function while visiting family in both Michigan and Ohio. I’m not quite sure how I’ll handle working out while out of town moving forward, but I know my workouts while at home will have the ability to benefit me even more than they do now.

I don’t necessarily feel good about making this change, but I feel like it’s necessary if I want to get to the next level I’m aiming for.


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