Overuse Injuries

overuse injuries sport injury

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

There are 2 types of injuries : Acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries are usually caused by a single traumatic event. Here are some examples :

  • Wrist fractures

  • Ankle sprains

  • Shoulder dislocations

Acute injuries are less common in sport than overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are usually subtle and appear over time, making them difficult to diagnose and treat. Here is some example :

  • Tennis elbows

  • Swimmer’s shoulder

  • Pitcher’s elbow

  • Runner’s knee

  • Achilles tendinitis

  • Shin splints

Why

Human body is extraordinary to adapt to physical stress. We’re used of thinking that « stress » is bad for our emotional well-being, but physical stress is simply doing an exercise or activity. This is beneficial for our muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. This physical stress causes an internal process called remodeling. Remodeling process involves both the breakdown and the build up of tissue. It’s necessary to have a good balance between 2, if breakdown occurs more rapidly than buildup, an overuse injury occurs.

Causes

overuse injuries sport injury gym fail

Usually, it’s training errors that cause overuse injuries. These errors are too fast acceleration of intensity or duration or activity frequency. These injuries can also happen to people who return to the sport/activity after an injury. They try to make up for lost time as quickly as possible to reach the level they had before the injury. Doing an exercise with a good technique is important to avoid overuse injuries. When the exercise’s technique is bad, it creates overuse injuries. It’s for this reason that coaches, athletic trainers and teachers can play a preventive role so that athletes avoid overuse injures.

There are people who more easily have overuse injuries. An unbalance between strength and flexibility around certain joints predisposes some people to have this type of injury. Body alignment, such as knock-knees, bowlegs, unequal leg lengths and flat or high arched feet, also impact overuse injuries. There are also people who have weak links because of old wounds, incomplete rehabilitation of wounds or others anatomy factors.

Other factors must also be taken into account as equipment such as the type of running shoe or ballet shoe and terrain (hard versus soft surface in aerobic dance or running).

Diagnosis

Generally the diagnosis is based on the athlete’s history and physical examination. It’s recommended to make a diagnosis with a sports medicine specialist with a specific interest and knowledge of your sport. In some situations X-rays, bone scan and MRI may be necessary.

Treatment

overuse injuries sport injury ice

Here are some recommendations for treating an overuse injuries :

  • Cutting back the intensity, duration and frequency of an activity

  • Adopting a hard/easy workout schedule and crosstraining with other activities to maintain fitness levels

  • Learning about proper training and technique from a coach or athletic trainer

  • Performing proper warm-up activities before and cool down after

  • Using ice after an activity for minor aches and pain

  • Using anti-inflammatory medications as necessary

If symptoms persist, a sport medicine specialist may create a more detailed treatment plan for your specific condition. This may involve an exam of your training program and an evaluation of predisposing factors.

Prevention

Majority of overuse injuries can be avoided with a proper training program, common sense and learning to listen your own body. The quote : « No pain, no gain » doesn’t apply here. The 10% rule helps a lot to get things to the next level.

In general, you should increase the training’s intensity to a maximum of 10% per week. This allows your body to have enough time for recovery and response. This rule should be used to increase pace or milestone for walkers or runners. Or for the weights amount to increase for strength training programs. In strength training, add flexibility exercises and core stability exercises help tremendously to minimize overuse injuries.

It’s recommended to seek advice from sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer to prevent chronic or recurring problems. Your training program can also be modified to maintain fitness levels safety while you recover from your injuries. You must return to the sport only if an authorization is granted by a health professional.

Remember, it’s very important to warm-up before training and cool down after training.

Stats

3.5 millions of children are treated for overuse injures every year.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here .

Mature Athlete

mature athlete

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Physical exercises are for everyone, including the mature population. Exercises allow older people to keep a healthy body and maintain their independence. The main health problems of the mature population are arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, depression and hearing and sight loss. With the exception of hearing and sight loss, all these health problems can be serious decrease with an adequate workout program.

All mature athletes should have a complete medical and musculoskeletal assessment before starting any workout program. Having a complete medical examination, medical advice and a workout program helps to avoid serious injuries and health accidents. These 3 things should meet the needs of a mature athlete to avoid disease, increase endurance, strength, body image and competitiveness.

Exercises are beneficial

It’s important that a qualified personal trainer create a specific workout program to improve strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. If the workout program includes sports such as golf or tennis, the technical knowledge of the golf/tennis instructors is helpful to avoid injury and improve performance. For results, workout programs must be consistent for at least 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

If physical conditions require correction, a cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation program or physical therapy may be helpful before starting a workout program. These rehab programs should be taught to mature athletes at a fitness level where they could continue with their own workout program.

Exercise type for the workout program

physical exercise type

An athlete should use types of exercises based on his/her desire, pre-existing conditions and his/her ability to exercise without pain. For an athlete with lower extremity joint problems such as arthritis or instability, it’s recommended to avoid exercises with repetitive impacts like running. For athletes with an unstable shoulder, it’s recommended to avoid overhead exercises such as military press and pull-ups.

Using several types of exercise to improve strength, can allow better recovery of muscle and tendon tissue. If a mature athlete wants to make a sport that can aggravate a pre-existing problem on a muscle, tendon or bone, that athlete should be in a good condition before doing this sport. It’s recommended to decrease this sport’s frequency to reduce the painful symptoms.

What equipment to use

Having shoes that fit with the exercise and/or the sport is beneficial. If the person has a foot with significant deformity such as flat feet (fallen arches), using orthopedic shoes helps to reduce stress on the entire lower extremity. The symptoms of arthritis in the knee may be decrease by the use of specialized braces.

Prevent injury or discomfort during exercise

If there is discomfort during or after physical exercise, this should be analyzed to prevent it from starting again or getting worse. Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory can be used in the short term if there is no interference with other medical conditions. It’s important to know that the use of ice, heat, massage and flexibility programs can decrease several symptoms caused by exercise.

There is more aggressive treatment with narcotic analgesic and/or cortisone injections but this should only be used to treat a specific lesion. This shouldn’t be used to allow an athlete to complete in the short term.

Summary

Creating a customized workout program with a medical professional and/or a qualified personal trainer helps a mature athlete to :

  • Keep independence

  • Increase physical abilities

  • Prevent injuries

  • Improve the quality of life

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here.

Techniques To Learn Quickly And Efficiently Based On Science (Part 2)

learn

I watched an Olivier Roland’s video  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the Part 1, click here .

Ok, this software used in the scientific study is not accessible for more than 80 % of the population but there are several software that can allow you to improve your intelligence like that used in the scientific study.

There is IQ Mindware. There is another one that is open source so free called Brain Workshop. These software are for people who really want to improve their intelligence because they are based on the principle of Dual n-back . It’s very difficult and it’s the only way to improve your intelligence.

The results of this scientific study showed that the maximum gains obtained with 20 minutes of training per day for 19 consecutive days. This is 10 % improvement with the 8 consecutive days of training and 44 % with 19 consecutive days of training.

Train your brain with IQ Mindware or Brain Workshop (I use this one) will allow you to improve your concentration and motivation. Everything you need to improve your ability to have successful projects.

Meditation

meditation

Meditation is excellent for improving your concentration. Before, I was often lost in my thoughts when I was doing a task and in the end, this task was done badly. Have you ever been lost in your thoughts when you were doing a task ?

Meditation is cool because you can do this in 5 minutes a day and you don’t need any equipment. You just need a little time and a quiet place. You see meditation is accessible to everyone and can be done by people of all religions or these who have no religion.

The goal of meditation is to train your concentration. That means to focus your attention on something specific. For example in bodybuilding, when you do the dumbbell curls, you fix your attention on your biceps. Meditation is a simple and effective way to become aware of your « parasitic thoughts ». These « parasitic thoughts » that make you no longer focused on your task and lost in your thoughts. When you realize that you’re lost in your thoughts, you can redirect your thoughts to be focus again on your task.

Scientific studies have discovered and are still discovering meditation’s benefits like an enormous reduction of stress, anxiety, anger, depression, immune system improvement, positive emotional improvement and a better attention. For people with hypertension, there is a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in longevity of 23 %. Scientists always find new benefits in meditation.

And

and

Meditation improves health AND also intelligence as ability to manage emotion, increase concentration, reduce attention problems, increase memory and visual processing capacity, improve learning ability and reduce your risk to multi-task. Doing multi-task ruin your productivity.

If you want to enjoy meditation’s benefits, you can start with a simple exercise without equipment today :

  • You sit comfortably in a quiet place. If you want you can sit in the lotus position but it’s not obligatory. You close your eyes and take 3 deep deep breaths to relax. Once you relaxed, you focus on your breathing. You focus on your inhalation and your exhalation and the goal is to concentrate as long as possible on your breathing

While you are going to think about your breathing, full of thoughts will come constantly and it’s normal. It’s destabilizing but there is a technique for your mind to be less distracted. The technique is to count the number of your inhalation and exhalation.

  • When you inhale, you count « 1 » in your head (don’t speak) and when you exhale, you count « 1 » then when you inhale, you count « 2 » and when you exhale, you count « 2 ». You do it from 1 to 10. When you’re 10, you count upside down from 10 to 0. When you realize that you’re lost in your thoughts and you’ve lost count of the number of breathing, you start again at « 0 ». You don’t give up until you’ve been able to count from 0 to 10 and 10 to 0 without interruption at least once.

You’ll see that many thoughts will come because it’s absolutely impossible to think of nothing. Don’t worry, it’s normal. As soon as you realize that you’re lost in your thoughts, come back to focus on your breathing without feeling any particular guilt.

Do this simple meditation 5 minutes a day will give you many benefits that I quoted in this article.

Scientific studies

scientific study

Here is a list of scientific studies concerning benefits meditation.

« A Randomized Controlled Trial Of Compassion Cultivation Training: Effects On Mindfulness, Affect, And Emotion Regulation », Hooria Jazaieri, 2013. Click here

« Initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance », David M. Levy, 2011. Click here.

« Effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on neurophysiological correlates of performance monitoring in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder », Poppy L.A. Schoenberg, 2013. Click here.

« Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training », Fadel Zeidan, 2010. Click here.

« Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation », Richard J. Davidson, 2010. Click here

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Deadlift Correctly (Part 1)

deadlift

I read an Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

I see there are many people who are avoiding deadlift because they are afraid of getting hurt. It’s funny, it’s like squat.

Doing deadlift with good a technique is excellent for health, it allow your to have stronger joints and a stronger posterior chain.

All exercises can be dangerous when they don’t do with the proper technique, which is why it’s important to seriously study each exercise.

Why

why

In workout programs, you can find the deadlift in the day of legs of back. This can be disturbing but the truth is the deadlift is a polyarticular exercise.

The deadlift (polyarticular exercise) works several different muscle’s group :

  • Your hands, your forearms, your arms to keep the barbell in the right position and the barbell is stable during the movement.

  • Your shoulder and trapezius help to hold the weight and keep it stable.

  • Your back and core help to keep your body tight and stable so that your spine is safe.

  • Your posterior chain  and your legs act as lever to lift the weight.

What is interesting is that deadlift is a basic human movement like the squat. It’s a « functional » movement that we do every day to take an object on the ground. Lifting a chair or taking a bag on the floor is deadlift.

Training yourself to do deadlift with a good technique at the gym, will allow you to do these daily tasks by decreasing the risk of injury. I imagine you’ve seen a person hurt his/her back by lifting something off the floor. It happened because the technique was bad.

Let things be clear, everyone needs to do deadlift. Look at that grandmother 

grandmother deadlift

Also, deadlift is the purest way to measure the strength. You lift or you can’t. Sometimes with gym’s members, we do a deadlift party, it’s fun.

Choose

Attention : if you have spinal injuries, go see your doctor before starting

The origin of the word « deadlift » is : you lift dead weight (motionless) of the ground.

In short, you take a barbel with weight and you get up with the barbell in your hands until your shoulders, hips and knees locked. Your arms should be straight during the whole movement and when you’re standing, the barbell is at the level of your hips.

Here are the different type of deadlift most common :

Conventional Deadlift

conventional deadlift

Your hands are at your hips width, outside of your feet.

Sumo Deadlift

sumo deadlift

You have a wide position with your hands inside of your feet.

Hex or Trap Bar Bar Deadlift

hex trap bar bar deadlift

You need to use a special bar. In this way, you make the movement with another biomechanics.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

snatch grip deadlift

You use a wide grip like to do a Snatch.

Straight Leg Deadlift, Stiff Legged Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift

Many people are troubled by these variants. Here is an excellent article by Bret Contreras to see it in detail. Click here .

Deficit Deadlift, Rack Pulls

deficit deadlift rack pulls deadlift

These accessory movements allow you to increase or decrease the range of motion.

Dumbbell Deadlift Variations

dumbbell deadlift

You can do this when you don’t have access to a barbell and weights or as accessory movement.

In this article, I refer mainly to conventional deadlift.

Now, let’s talk about equipment :

Flat shoes

Converse Chuck Taylor Classic  are good (this is what I use). There’s also Vibrams, you can do in socks or with Powerliters shoes.

Chalk

chalk

This is optional but it can help you to not let your hands slip when you lift very heavy weights.

Deadlift can be taught in 1-2 sentences but there are complexities at different steps of the movement that you should know to avoid injury. I will develop this in the next parts.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 2)

become your own personal trainer

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the Part 1 , click here 

Mastering the movement

mastering the movement

If you want to have lasting results, there is no shortcut, you need to learn the basic movements. It’s like at school, learning and progressing.

The best way to start a strength training is to do a bodyweight workout at home (I started like that). If you want to do a barbell movement in your workout, you can use a broom stick or a PVC pipe. If you want to do a dumbbell movement, you can use 2 sections of PVC or 2 bottles of water.

The technique is very important for movement like squat, deadlift, pull ups, bench press. That’s why using light weight will allow you to learn to make the right movements. It’s going to be a bit long but you’re going to avoid having injuries and months of frustration.

Use your smartphone to make videos of your exercices to compare them with tutorial videos that you can find on Youtube or others.

It’s possible that you feel uncomfortable with an exercice even if you have videos to improve. In this case, I advise you to see gyms in your area to hire a coach for 1-2 sessions. It’s only to improve your techniques, it’s not to hire a coach for several months. This coach will teach you what you need to know to train at home safely.

It’s not always obvious to understand tutorial videos on Youtube or others. The reason is that the person who explains how to do the technique knows very well how to make the movement but forgot to explain mistakes he/she made when he/she was a beginner.

If you have difficulties with a part of the movement, don’t get upset or be frustrated. It’s just something you can improve and by tracking your workouts, you’ll see that.

What to take

what to take

Clothes

To start, takes comfortable clothes. Don’t buy special fitness clothes. The gym isn’t a fashion show, forget what people think about you. There is no ego in a gym. I like to wear simple clothes, no known brand because I always tear my clothes by dint of using them. Maybe I dress like a tramp but everyone is silent when they see my performances.

Note : If you go to workout after school/work, take your gym outfits with you to go to the gym directly.

Shoes

For shoes, takes shoes minimizes with a flat and hard sole. For example Classic Chuck Taylor , Vibram or Powerlifter shoes .

I use for my strength training Classic Chuck Taylor and for my cardio Puma.

Drink

Take a bottle of water. It’s handy to have a bottle of water next to you to drink between 2 sets rather than go to the toilettes.

Notebook

Takes a notebook to track your workout during your workout. Often after our workout we don’t remember the workout’s details as having done 1 more rep or 1 more set. If you use a smartphone, you can use Evernote  as a notebook or a fitness app like Jetfit .

Shower gel

We sweat during our workout and it’s always nice to take a shower after an effort. If you’re going to train before going to school/work, shower gel is essential.

Your music

Takes an MP3 player or smartphone with a great playlist to « get in the zone » and make you feel like a superhero. Often music in gyms are special. In my gym often we can hear bachata or it’s nightclub ambiance.

My playlist it’s 50 Cent, G-Unit, 2 Eminem’s song and soundtrack of japanese cartoon « Hajime No Ippo » (boxe) and « Hokuto No Ken » (martial art) and soundtrack of « Rocky ».

I’ve been using my smartphone for a few years to listen to my music and keep track of workout (Jefit) and it’s really cool.

The basic rules

basic rules

There are basic rules for gyms. By following these rules, you’ll be comfortable in any gym :

  • Put weights in the right place when you finished using them.

  • If a person is using a equipment you want to use, it’s OK to kindly ask this person how many sets he/sh has left to do.

  • If another person wants to use the same equipment as you, you can offer him/her to work together. You do a set while the other rest and vice versa. You may not be comfortable with that and you can say no. Say something like « no but I still have 2 sets and after it’s for you ».

  • If a person asks you to spot and you have never done that, tell that person you never did that and ask him/her what you’d like you to do. This person will explain everything to you.

  • If a person offer to spot you on an exercice (bench press), don’t worry. Usually it’s always an experienced person who does this to help you. It’s motivating and it’s a good opportunity to exceed your limits.

  • Cleans the sweat that has on the equipment you want to use. In gyms, there is always a station with liquid cleanser and tissues.

  • With benches, leaves a space between you and the others so that everyone can keep their personal space.

  • Even if you see a person making a move that you have never seen, let it happen. You don’t want someone to come and tell you that what you do is wrong. It’s the same for others.

  • Avoid speaking in your smartphone and call the person after your workout. You’re in a gym to train, only to train.

  • Don’t sit on equipment forever. Do your sets and go to the next exercice. Don’t sit on equipment for 2 hours.

Start your strength training as soon as possible. It’s by doing exercices several times that you’ll improve your technique. Don’t be afraid to do wrong because the majority of people in a gym have no idea what they’re doing. I have been practicing for several years and I’m always improving each one of my exercices, I say each of my exercices.

What keeps you from starting a strength training ?

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 1)

become your own pesonal trainer

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

Before to read this article, I advise you to read Find The Gym For Your Goals Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 et Part 2.If you already read it, continue and have fun.

A strong body is a healthy body, you have heard this many times but it’s not easy to do. Starting a new workout can be intimidating. It’s, for this reason, a lot of people fail.

How you will train

gym training

To start, you have to find out what kind of strength training you want to do. It depends on the equipment and your goals. Here are several types of training programs :

Bodyweight

With a bodyweight training, you need little equipment (or not at all) and you can train everywhere (home, hotel, playground, workplace). As long as you have room to move, you can train.

If you like bodyweight training, take a pull-up bar and a set of gymnastics rings. If you’re really a beginner, an exercise band  can assist you in the movement like pull ups and dips.

If is that you can do bodyweight training without equipment, the disadvantage is that you need to constantly change exercises difficult to be sure to progress.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells are excellent for starting a workout with weight for several reasons.

First, gyms always have a good set of dumbbells. If you want to train at home, you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells (that’s how I started in my bedroom).

The second reason is that dumbbells allow you to add a small amount of weight to do an exercise and exercise with dumbells are less intimidating that exercise with a barbell. For example, if you’re a beginner, starting with a 20kg (45lbs) barbell is a bit too much.

Dumbbells also allow you to work your symmetry and allow you to balance the strength of your right side and left side of your body. It’s ridiculous to have an arm or a leg extremely bigger and stronger as the other.

If you can’t finish a repetition, it’s easy to throw dumbbells on the floor compared to a barbell. For a beginner, it’s excellent for learning movements.

The disadvantage is that to evolve, you need to buy new dumbbells and this can be expensive. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

Barbells

If your goal is to gain only strength, this is the recommended option. Barbell allows you to progress cleanly and quickly by adding a small amount of weight each week.

A barbell is really stable because you use your 2 hands instead of 1 hand for dumbbells so it’s easy to lift heavy (especially for the lower body like squat of deadlift). For exercises like the squat or the press, you can use the rack to load and unload weights safety.

The disadvantage is that to do this at home, you need to have a squat rack, a barbell, a bench and enough weight plates in your house or in your garage. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

What’s the best way to train?

The barbell is optimal for gaining strength. Bodyweight training is good but you have to seriously motivate you to train at home.

Sometimes you have to adapt to the situation to be able to do your training. When I travel a bodyweight training is perfect if I don’t have access to a gym.

But the best workout is when you lift heavy. Nothing can replace squat, deadlift and body weight pull up.

There are also other ways to have a strength training like rock climbing, yoga or parkour.

Choose the program to follow

gym training program

Never go to the gym without having a plan. To get results, it’s necessary to have a plan to track your progress.

For to make a lot of progress, a beginner can have a full body program of 3 times a week with a day off between training days. Be sure that the program you choose matches your goals, A powerlifters will have a different training from a bodybuilder or an endurance athlete.

In my article Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 and Part 2, I talk about numbers of repetitions and their goals :

  • Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength

  • Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance.

  • Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance and size

Many beginner strength training programs say to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions to optimize progress to gain strength.

With a circuit or superset, you do a set of each exercise in an order and you repeat the process.

For example :

  • 20 bodyweight squat

  • 10 push ups

  • 20 walking lunges

  • 10 dumbell rows

  • 15 second plank

  • 30 jumping jacks

  • Repeat all these 5 times to do 5 sets

In traditional strength program, you do a complete set of an exercise, you rest and you do another set of the same exercise and so on.

For example :

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Next exercise

If your goal is to be healthy and lose weight, you don’t need to focus on strength, a circuit (superset) is perfect.

This allows you to spend less time at the gym and to make up your high heart rate longer.

If your goal is to have more strength and have more muscle, choose a traditional strength training.

One important thing, your diet corresponds to 80-90 % of your success or failure. The quality of your diet will help you gain strength and lose fat.

When you choose a workout to develop your strength, be sure to increase the difficulty over time. To become stronger, you need to write a plan. This can be to do one more squat, lift 2kg (5lbs) more or do your circuit (superset) 10 seconds faster.

The main goal is to always be better than the last time, this is what ensures the continuity of being stronger and faster.

You can write your own training program or fortunately, there is a lot of excellent beginner program.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Find The Gym For Your Goals (Part2)

find a gym diffrent type

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read the part 1, click here 

Type de gyms

different type gym

You noticed there are several categories of gyms. That’s why you have to take your time to think about a gym that fits your needs.

Fitness center franchise

In the best known franchises, you will have cheap membership. It’s cheap but you have few amenities, some type of trainings are forbidden, free weight section is limited and often the staff has no experience.

Health clubs/Sport clubs/YMCA

Clubs look like franchises but they have a better service. There is more amenities, towel service, child care, pool, tennis court. Membership can reach $100, some type of training can be prohibited and free weight’s section limited.

Note : Franchises and clubs can be convenient if you travel a lot because with their membership, you can train in different cities.

Locally owned gyms

These gyms have a better equipement, a free weight’s section bigger and a better quality staff than franchises and health clubs. Membership is around $25-50 and it’s real that amenites are less good than health clubs.

Weightlifting club/barbell club/crossfit

It’s a room with bumper plates, dumbbells, barbells and pullup bar. With the membership, you have a coach and classes, that’s why it’s expensive. These gyms are open at certain hours during the day. These gyms have their own workout program, you can’t do your own workout program.

College/university gyms

it’s cheap and you need to paid upfront in full.

You can have a discount « alumini » memberships if you go to the college or university that you attended. If you don’t live near of you old college/university, some gyms offer memberships to family members of alumini or staff, local « senior » memberships or event just local resident memberships. What is great with this type of gym is you can have acces to their full facilty (pool, racquet courts, classes, etc).

Test drive the gym

test drive

The next step is to look for gyms in your city now that you know differtent types of gyms.

Do a test in gyms to see if the equipement meets your needs. Some gyms offer pass for 1-2 weeks. During the test phase, go train the same days that you plan to train after signing the contract.

Imagine that you find the perfect gym, you sign the contract and eveydays you train, it’s war. The gym is full of people and you can’t use equipement. This is a situation to avoid.

Here is what is important to see during the test phase :

  • Is there enough equipment for everyone or you have to fight to have a bench ?

  • Does the equipment work well ?

  • What is the gym’s atmosphere ?

  • Is it clean ?

  • If you go befoire school/work, is there enough shower available or you have to wait ?

You can read gym’s reviews on internet by searching with Google or DuckDuckGo. Attention, on internet people prefer to complain than to do compliments so be careful. For me the best thing to do is talk to gym members to know what is positive and negative.

Contracts

contract

A lot of people don’t want to have a membership gym because one of their friend had a bad experience to stop a gym’s membership. This for this reason it’s important to take your time to read the contract and understand clauses.

Here things to look at in a contract :

  • A membership termination clause because for exemple, you move or you lose you job. This is rare but sometimes you can stop a membership if you live near the gym. Usually there is a fee named «  early termination fee » (that’s what I have).

  • The possibility when you’re on vacation ou you have to work for several weeks in another city to freeze your membership.

  • If the gym goes bankrupt, what happens to members ?

  • Membership renewal is automatic ?

You know salespersons work with commission so if a sales person make you a promise, make sure that this promise is in writing. Taking the contract at home is the thing I advise you to read it quietly and understand clauses.

If you feel that the salesperson put pression on you or that you don’t feel comfortable for another reason, leave the gym.

Note : There are states that has specific laws. For exemple, you can cancel the contract only 2 days after signed it. It would be a shame if you signed this type of contract without being aware of this clause. This is why it’s important to take the contract at home to read it quietly.

Here different membership’s fees :

  • Activation fee

    You pay these fees when you’re a new member. You pay these fees once.

  • Monthly cost

    it’s a fee you pay every month

  • Maintenance fee

You pay these fees per year. Attention, some gyms have a special clause that says : « We don’t have this kind of fee now but later, it’s possible to add these fees without telling you ». Be sure to know this clause if it is in your contract.

When I enrolled in my gym, there was an offer for people who applied for registration on internet. Look at gym’s website to know offers but also ask always to salesperson if there are discounts.

In gyms, there is often a membership’s range of price. You need to negotiate, don’t hesitate. Don’t forget that the more you take the more expensive membership, the more the salesperson will have a larger commission. If the salesperson tell you : « No », it doesn’t matter, you tried to get the best price.

By negotiating, somethimes you can register in a gym for the first time without paying the activation fees. To do it, you need to talk to the person who has permission to do this. Sometimes they can call you 1-2 days after to offer you an exceptional offer.

You can also have a nice offer by paying an annual membership up front. Look at the price difference.

Also you can have offers with you health insurance. It’s always with a limited number of gym but look if you have this option.

Stay focus

stay focus

The difference between a workout at home and a workout in a gym is that in a workout in a gym, you can really make your potential evolve to the maximum.

For exemple, if you do a barbell’s workout, you will have always heavy weight plates to go to the next level. It’s the same thing for dumbbells. You need heavier, it’s here. No need to worry about buying new.

Of course, there are negative pointst to enroll a gym. You have to move there (bike, bus, car, etc), you to wait if you go during busy hours, the cost and do your workout around unkown people.

I repeat, you can train at home to be healthy or gain strength with a bodyweight workout program. You can buy a set of dumbbell, barbell, kettelbell or a sandbag. You can do sprints or walk (like my father) outside with any weather and it’s free.

For me the gym, it’s an important moment of my day. It’s the moment where I’m focus on myself and the society’s pressure no longer exists.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph