My fitness journey started at a young age in the High School Gym. The first time I lifted weights I was 14 or 15. I honestly can’t remember. My school added “Body Sculpting” to your schedule if you ran on the track team. I was a below average track star and by below I mean I didn’t even get my Letter Jacket from track. I got it from playing in the Band. The best part of being on the track team was taking that “Body Sculpting” class.

Let me tell you about “Body Sculpting.” I put it in quotes because it was actually a hard core weight lifting class which we had at the same time, in the same room, doing the same exercises with the Jocks taking a class called Weight Lifting. I learned how to properly hit depth when squatting and not blow out my knees when lunging. I learned how to deadlift, bench press and clean press.

The schedule is what I would learn to know as a traditional four-day split and added a timed run every Friday. Our class blocks were 1 hour and 15 minutes. We would hit the weights hard for an hour, then shower and continue to the next class.

  • Mondays: Chest and Triceps
    • Bench Press: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Incline Bench Press: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Dumbbell Flies: 3 sets 10-12 reps
    • Dips: 3-4 sets to failure
    • Tricep extension (straight bar): 4 sets 10-12 reps
  • Tuesdays: Back and Biceps
    • Deadlifts: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Cable Pulldowns: 4 sets to failure
    • Cable Rows: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Dumbbell curls: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Close Grip Chinup with assist: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Hammer Curls: 3 sets 10-12 reps
  • Wednesday: Shoulders and Abs
    • Clean Press: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Lateral Raises: 4 sets 12-15 reps
    • Front Raises: 4 sets 12-15 reps
    • Situps: 4 sets of 50
    • Crunches: 4 sets to failure
    • Planks: 4 sets 1 minute each
  • Thursday: Legs and Abs
    • Squats: 4 sets 10-12 reps
    • Wall Sits: 3 sets 10-15 reps
    • Lunges: 3 sets 10-15 reps
    • Leg Press: 6 sets 8-10 reps
    • Oblique twists: 4 sets to failure
    • Leg raises: 4 sets to failure
    • Bicycle kicks: 4 sets to failure
  • Friday: Run
    • Typically 3-5 miles

There are plenty of programs out there which allow you to follow along with a program in your own home. These are great for some people. I am not one of those people. I need a space away from my home to go get sweaty. My gym has always been within 3 miles of my home and has always cost less than $20 per month. Currently, I spend $19.99 for my gym membership and the gym is less than 2 miles away. I have access to any kind of gym equipment I could possibly want! I mentioned before it has 5 squat racks! Leg day heaven!

*Quick side note. When signing up for a gym membership, be sure to ask some very pointed questions to save yourself from future headaches:

  1. Is there a 7-day free pass? (You don’t want to get stuck at a gym you hate)
  2. Is there a sign-up fee?
  3. Can I cancel at any time without penalty?
  4. Is this contract month-to-month?
  5. Is there an annual fee?

I consider myself extremely lucky to be a female who knows how to lift heavy weights. I didn’t realize until I was in my mid-twenties that this is not normal. Most women haven’t the faintest idea how to squat, or bench press, or deadlift! These are the fundamental exercises to any strength training program. If you want to learn to lift, bodybuilding.com has videos explaining each exercise. They also have tons of free programs including videos, full nutritional and exercise routines.

In recent years, the fitness program craze has centered around at home DVD workouts such as P90X. A quick google search shows the basic program is $120, but if you fork over $240 you also get some of the equipment you’ll need to purchase: chin-up bar, resistance bands, a 30-day supply of post-workout drinks. Additionally, $330 will get you 5 advanced workouts and two more pieces of equipment. Also, they tend to reinvent themselves every year or so and repackage the “all new program” to sell more product. A person could potentially shell out $120-$330 per year using a workout at home DVD series. If you use the same program all year, monthly this could be anywhere from $10 per month to $27.50 per month.

One of my brothers owns P90X. I believe he paid $120 for the program 5 years ago. It works just fine for him. He is a busy Engineer with 2 boys under the age of 3. There isn’t a whole lot of free time in his schedule, and popping in a DVD for 45 minutes on random days is much more realistic and financially smart for him. He built his own chin-up bar from parts he had in his workshop and uses the same old set of weights he has had since college. His monthly cost gets lower each month! Since he has not invested more money in the newer programs, his monthly cost is now a whopping $2!

My brother paid one up front cost for his gym membership and now each month he can use it as his busy schedule allows. He doesn’t have to leave the house or his infant sons. He even does some of the pull-ups with the toddler on his feet!

If someone can stay motivated in their own home to workout, this is a great program to acquire! Especially if you can reuse the same workouts for years! You thought I was going to hate on it! No hate here! Staying fit is one of the consistent things that make for a healthy, happy lifestyle.

I did the original program once, and absolutely loved the results. However, you have to be motivated enough to DO the program, and I was. Once. Then I got bored, wanted to do other things, and change up my routine! What you consider a gym membership is completely up to you! P90X is designed to get you ripped. I enjoyed seeing all my ab muscles. However, I LOVE lifting weights at my local meathead gym!

Lift and be happy. Do yoga and be happy. Swim and be happy! Train run and be happy! Mountain bike and be happy! Sweat in your spare bedroom to some guy telling you “Like a pterodactyl backing out of trouble. CAWW! Ca-CAWW” -Tony Horton. But be happy! Paying for my meathead gym membership where I can lift heavy things is my long-term best place to workout.

Conclusion!

Find a “gym” that fits YOU!

Gym membership is worth the money!
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