Finding Your Healthy is Hot Spot

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And just like that, it’s over. No goodbye, no conversation, no explanation. That constant in our lives no longer existed. It was part of our routine, our everyday. How could this happen? It was what we knew and some days it was all we knew. We scheduled it, we looked forward to it. And just like that, it’s over. Overwhelming sadness and heartbreak left us searching for answers. Asking and begging for it to stay. Offering everything we could to keep things going.  As energy wore thin, passionate feelings turned to disappointment and anger. It was easier to avoid the questions and to hide away until we were ready to move on. Sounds like a bad break-up, doesn’t it? In a way, it was.

These were the emotions and reactions that filled the hearts and minds of many when our local fitness spot closed without notice or explanation. The place where we worked out, sweat, relieved stress, networked, got to know each other, no longer existed. We were forced to find somewhere new. This lead myself and many others from our fitness community down the path of exploration for what else existed out there.

So what makes the right HIH spot? That depends on you. Whether you’ve moved to a new city, you need a change or you’re looking to try something new, here are a few tips to consider for your next HIH spot.  

1.      Your Goals

What are your goals? More specifically, what are your fitness goals? Do you want to build muscle and get stronger? Are you training for a competition or a race? Do you want to increase your physical activity level? Your goals will help you determine what kind of workouts you’ll do, and therefore where you can do them. Larger gym facilities often have cardio machines, free weights, cable machines, etc. Many of them offer group fitness classes too. Boutique-style health clubs will have a more specific focus such as a spin or yoga studio, a martial arts centre, or crossfit box. Find the gym or spaces that offer what you need to achieve your goals. If you’re someone that needs variety, chose a facility that offers that. Or plan your workouts so that you can mix it up by doing some gym workouts and some at-home/outdoor workouts.

2.      Your Budget

There are so many options when it comes to workouts and fitness these days. From free apps to use in your living room to all-inclusive gym memberships, you can find what fits your budget. Most fitness facilities offer a free workout or class to new members, so take advantage of that. This gives you the opportunity to try it out before making a financial commitment. And if one workout isn’t enough, ask about intro offers. You can often find week or month-long intro rates for new members which gives you the chance to check out several classes to determine if it’s a good fit. Don’t forget about all of the free exercise options too! There are endless video-based workouts online and fitness apps to guide you. Take a walk, go for a run, ski or hike. Explore nature, get your vitamin D and sweat outside! Winters in Ottawa are pretty cold but we we’re lucky because we get to warm up on the largest skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal Skateway. 

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3.      Schedule and Location

Next is schedule and location. Consider your schedule, the gym’s schedule as well as both of your locations. Workouts only work if you do them. When and where you do them depends on you and your other daily commitments. Find a spot that offers classes or that has hours that work with your routine. Do you like to get your workouts in in the morning? If so, does the facility have showers so that you can get ready for work? Can you escape to a class on your lunch break? Or is the gym on your way home from work? If it’s not convenient, there’s a good chance you won’t go. And like any healthy habit, consistency is key.

4.      The Environment

The environment plays a huge role on our mood, energy and effort. From the lighting to the sounds and smells, our workouts can be greatly impacted just by where we are and who is surrounding us. Have you ever been in a gym that is so crowded it’s frustrating, and you end up leaving before you get your full workout in? Or are you someone that is motivated by having a lot of other people around? Find what works for you and remind yourself that it’s ok to switch it up. With seasons or times of the year, our fitness routines can change. Change is good for your body and brain. Changes in workouts can often allow you to set new goals and challenge yourself in different ways. You may find yourself in a gym or spin studio more often in the winter, and running the trails and paths in the spring and summer.

5.      The Community

It’s when our local fitness spot closed that I realized how important community was to my workouts. It wasn’t so much about the actual exercise but about the friendships, the conversations and the motivation that filled the rooms before, during and after a class. For most having a community that holds you accountable to your workouts, that let’s you vent about your day at work, and that challenges you to push your limits is the reason you go back day after day, week after week. Your gym-mates and workout buddies become your family. For others, it’s about putting on their headphones and doing their thing while still saying hi to the person working at the front desk or giving a little wave to that guy and his dog that they meet on the running path every morning. So while you search for your next HIH spot, take a look around, feel the vibe, and find your people.

Your HIH spot is wherever you make it. Do your research, try out free classes, step out of your comfort zone (both physically and socially) and challenge yourself.