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Fitness
Published Tuesday Jul 21, 2020 by Sara Lesher

How to Find the Best Gym or Studio Membership For You

Fitness
Expert Advice

If you’re a commitment-phobe like me, you probably understand the stress of searching for the perfect gym or studio membership. When offices were open and I commuted to and from work, I especially struggled. Do I find a studio near work or home? If it’s near my office, I can go after work, but what about weekends? I don’t want to do that commute when I don’t have to!  

Then, add on the fitness type decision and try not to let your head explode. What if I get bored of cycling and want to try something else? What if I get super sore after HIIT and need a yoga class? Do I need to become a member at multiple locations?  

Maybe this is just a me problem... but I don’t think it is. I mean, that’s why the Mindbody app exists in the first place—so you can try out different classes and studios, commitment-free. Although it’d be nice if one membership could cover multiple fitness types, at some point, picking your favorite and committing just makes sense. 

So, how do you choose the perfect gym membership for you? 

 

Identify your needs 

What are you looking for in a gym, studio, or health club? What do you care most about? Is it a smaller, intimate workout setting with instructors who know you by name? A larger studio with tons of fitness classes throughout the day, so you can always find one to fit your schedule? What about the staff? Are there certain qualities you’re looking for in your instructors? Do you prefer soft encouragement while you exercise, or instructors who aren’t afraid to push you harder during training? Think about your routine. Do you prefer morning classes or evening? Are you looking for 30-minute, high-intensity classes you can squeeze in on your lunch break? Or longer, slower-paced classes to wind down after work? There are so many different factors that can affect your choice in studio, and with so many options, you can get pretty specific. 

What do you want from a studio that you just aren’t quite satisfied with at home? Think about your fitness goals. Maybe you get your cardio in the form of running outside, and you need some help with strength training. Maybe you invested in a fully decked out weight room in your garage when COVID-19 hit, but now you’re looking for a yoga studio to help with recovery

With all those options out there, it can be hard to even know where to start. So, asking yourself questions like these is a good first step. 

 

Check your budget 

When it comes to picking a monthly membership, of course, budget is important. Sit down with your spreadsheet, or app, or whatever the hell you use to budget your monthly spending and see what you can afford to shuffle around. Wellness is an investment, not just a one-time purchase, and weaving it into your monthly budget will help you prioritize it. 

Once you’ve determined how much you’re willing to spend per month, decide if you want any of that to be left over for the occasional drop-in class. You may want to spend most of it on a membership but keep a little extra for those days you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a new workout. Or maybe you’re a creature of habit, and you’re fine with just sticking to your favorite. That’s fine too! Just be sure to make those decisions early and factor them in while budgeting. 

 

Try before you buy 

Lots of studios on Mindbody provide Intro Offers, or special deals for new clients only that allow you to try out some classes at a lower rate. For example, some studios (like VibeFlow yoga in San Diego) offer your first class free, and others give discounted rates for your first 2 weeks or a month. When I was looking for a yoga studio to join, I tried just about every Intro Offer in my area. It’s a great way to save money and try out local studios before committing. Plus, it got me out of my comfort zone! I got to try so many different types of yoga before deciding which I liked best. Every instructor, studio, and class is so unique and different—it’s fun to get a feel for all the different mini fitness communities within your own larger one.  

For those that don’t have any new client deals, you can check to see if they have Last-Minute Offers. These are drop-in deals for one-time classes, that fluctuate in price depending on timing, number of spots left, etc. So basically, if there’s a class in your area that starts in an hour and still has several spots left, odds are, you’ll be able to join that class for a lower drop-in rate!  

And if you’re not quite ready to head back into the studio—or if those in your area have not yet reopened—another great way to try before you buy is virtual classes. Many studios offer live stream and on demand workout classes on Mindbody, so you can get a feel for the classes and instructors from the comfort (and safety) of your home. 

 

Be flexible 

I know I told you to identify your needs in step one. Find out exactly what you’re looking for a studio to provide. But, when it comes to picking a membership, it’s important to be flexible (and I’m not just talking about your yoga class). While identifying your needs is a great first step to narrowing down your options, you may find that while trying out different studios, those needs totally change.  

In my case, I thought I really wanted a membership to a hot yoga studio, but when I branched out and tried one that didn’t offer heated classes, I found a different kind of yoga environment I really enjoyed (and, of course, this made it really difficult to choose).  On top of that, I was new to yoga and a little nervous about how I looked in class. I wanted a larger studio where I could hang in the back and try not to be noticed. But then, during my second or third week of class using an Intro Offer at a smaller studio, the man at the front desk greeted me by name, and my perspective totally changed. I went into class and laid out my mat in the front row, ready for the instructor to give me tips for improvement—and I’m better for it.  

All of this to say, you never know what you’re going to find when it comes to trying new things. Have your list of wants and priorities, but don’t be afraid to tear it up and start over—and enjoy learning about yourself along the way.  

So, if you’re ready to face your fear of commitment and settle down with your soulmate studio, now you have somewhere to start. Whether you’re trying to be more cost-effective, craving a community, or just need a good old-fashioned routine your life, a membership is a great way to consistently prioritize your wellness. Not only that, but you get the awesome benefit of joining a fitness community where you’ll see faces you recognize, meet some workout buddies, and be encouraged by instructors to keep improving in your practice. So where do I sign up? 

 
Book classes on Mindbody to get started. 

Sara Lesher
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As Mindbody’s marketing content associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).
shanila sattar
Wellness
Published Wednesday Mar 17, 2021 by Shanila Sattar

Foundational Steps to Cultivating a Daily Self-love Practice

Self-care
Expert Advice
Personal Growth
Wellness

When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do. 

How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?

As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.

 

Step 1: Learn to set boundaries

Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.

When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:

  • How do I feel without having boundaries?
  • What would I like to have boundaries around?
  • Are my boundaries actual boundaries or am I creating walls in my life?
  • How do I plan to uphold my boundaries?
Step 2: Cultivate self-compassion

In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect. 

Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.

When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:

  • How do I respond to stressful situations?
  • How hard am I on myself?
  • How do I celebrate myself?
  • How do I show myself kindness?
Step 3: Nourish yourself

In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.

Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion. 

When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:

  • How do I nourish my emotional well-being?
  • How do I nourish my mental well-being?
  • How do I nourish my physical well-being?
  • How do I nourish my spiritual well-being?
  • How do I nourish my social well-being?
  • How do I nourish my financial well-being?

That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain. 

If you’d like to try breathwork, mindfulness, or play classes with me, check out these workshops and training sessions that work with your schedule. For other breathwork classes, browse Mindbody.

 

About the author
Shanila is a 4th generation sound healer, breathwork coach, mentor, women’s researcher, and speaker. She is the Founder of AlwaysPlayStudios where she trains breathwork facilitators and sound healers. Her background is in tech, having co-founded an award-winning web agency, and in women’s research, specifically in mindsets, implicit bias, perfectionism, women's health, and societal experiences supported through the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and several universities. She has implemented several health and wellbeing programs in underserved populations throughout the US. Shanila mentors healers on their healing and intuitive wellness journeys. Connect: @shanila.sattar