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New Year, Improved You?

Updated on January 4, 2015

Gym memberships

Last year, I joined Planet Fitness. I looked at several gyms and membership rates and like the Troy, NY Planet Fitness the best. I have been going almost every work day for months. The people there are great and there are some who keep coming back.

The place is biased toward cardio, lots of treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes. There are several weight machines and free weights as well. The barbell systems they have (3) allow you to use them without a spotter. They frown on people bouncing weights and with the closeness that some people work out, that is a good safety idea for free weights.

I am doing this for me. I am 51 years old and want to be stronger and remain active for the rest of my life. I am not doing this because someone told me. I am not doing this for someone, either to impress them or to make them happy. Doing it for someone else won’t get you through the times you don’t want to work out. They won’t get you to press beyond what you think you are capable of. Doing so may make you resent them, however.

The place has a trainer, for free, but I haven’t used that service yet. There is also tanning, and massage chairs there as well. I have used the tanning. The place is clean and everyone wipes down the machines they use as well as the employees going through cleaning during the day. This one has 4 showers and a very nice locker room.

Going to the gym is not enough

You need to have a plan for what you want to accomplish and you NEED to track your progress. Not every exercise is for everyone and you need to keep track of the ones that work for you and vary them up. The problem with machines is they restrict your body movement and while great for working a particular muscle, may prevent you from getting other muscle groups involved so you need to track machine versus free weight to keep things vital and to give yourself the best fitness.

I use several things to track my health, fitbit, fitocracy, and livescape. Fitbit gives me a little device to track my sleep and daily activity (steps and stairs). It keeps track of those things for me and allows me to know how I am doing.

Fitocracy is a great site. My only problem is that they do not have an app for the Windows phone yet. It is a social workout site. You follow and are followed by other members. You can give and get encouragement, which is very important. You can get workout ideas from those that you follow. There are paid coaches on that site as well. I use it to track what I do and how much I have done. You get points and go up levels so you can see your progress on the app and every time you log in to the account. No judgments on how you are doing, just real encouragement from others trying to get stronger, fitter, happier.

Livescape is a Windows phone application which allows you to track many items. I used to track my calories through it but am mostly tracking my measurements through it. It has an extensive menu in it already to cover restaurant foods as well as the ability to add your own items.

I have also been using Microsoft Healthvault for several years now. It connects to outside items, like fitbit and livescape and I can use it to track my blood pressure as well as other health related items. I can also give my doctor access so they can keep an eye on me.

Don't forget to exercise your mind

One area that most people neglect is keeping their mind sharp. I admit that this one I am not in the same constant routine as my physical workouts. I use lumosity and recommend it. Simple games which allow you to improve, see your improvements, and see how you compare to others your age.

Links and Final Words

So if you want to be more fit, and with the overburdened health care system, the less you have to deal with it the better, look at all your options. Also, you have to set realistic expectations. You are not going to turn into the Incredible Hulk unless you work for it. This is you investing in yourself and like any investment, you have to plan it correctly.

Planet Fitness is usually $10/mo. I have a black card membership and so I pay more but can visit other than my home gym. So far, I made a great choice in the Troy, NY one. I am there most days after 5 so feel free to say hi. Their main site is http://www.planetfitness.com and my home gym is http://www.planetfitness.com/gyms/troy-hoosick-st-ny-771 don’t go by pictures, go to each gym in your area and check them out. This one is on my route to and from work so is easy to fit into a routine.

Fitbit has several devices you can use. I have the Fitbit one and have been happy with it. Again, find what works best for you. There are lots of options. http://www.fitbit.com There are new options, like the Microsoft Band as well. The fitbit one doesn't track my pulse rate which would be nice to have.

Fitocrary is free but if you can, become a hero and help support the site. You can find me there as leigh_dupee https://www.fitocracy.com

Livescape is available through the Windows Store as is HealthVault. http://livescape.mobi and https://www.healthvault.com respectively.

Lumosity has lots of options for games which help your mind. Visit them at http://www.lumosity.com

No one is going to force you to make yourself better in 2015. No words put on a piece of paper are going to compel you to do it. You have to want to do this for yourself. Make a plan and get started.

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