Alicia Kirschenheiter is an American Council on Exercise Certified Advanced Health & Fitness Expert, Personal Trainer, Fitness Coach, Certified Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant and Certified Wellcoach. Alicia is owner of Evolution Total Wellness Inc. located in New York, providing health and wellness solutions for individuals and businesses. Alicia is also a published fitness, health and wellness writer for a variety of venues and author of Oscar and Otis – Fat Fighters, a children’s book about healthy lifestyle choices.

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The Pursuit of Ultimate Wellness

by Alicia Kirschenheiter, Certified Advanced Health & Fitness Expert, Personal Trainer, Fitness Coach

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Many people think that they need to go to the gym in order to have a full fitness routine. Truth be told, a fitness routine should be done wherever you are most comfortable to start, where you are motivated to move and frankly where it makes the most sense for you, in your life.

Buying an expensive gym membership may not be the right choice for you if exercising on the floor of a gym with other people makes you self-conscious and not real motivated to go back. On the other hand, if you like the social environment, the opportunity to train with equipment and machines you may not have access to otherwise, and are interested in taking advantage of onsite classes or programs, it may be your place. Not sure? Well, no worries.

My advice...fitness at home or at the gym can both great options, but the choice as to where to begin is not nearly as important as to actually begin. The first step is the hardest and that’s the decision to make a change. Building a fitness routine is really the easy part. Having the desire to add it to your lifestyle takes the conviction. Explore the options that may work best for you.

If you have never had any type of fitness regimen before, I would advise, at least initially, that you try working with a professional trainer - one certified through an accredited association and insured. Ideally someone you have done a little research on. Hiring someone even for a session or 2 to give you the basics and lay some groundwork is never bad idea. They can provide some great initial direction either at your home or gym.

Next, take a tour of a local gym facility you may have had your eye on. Most gyms are eager to accommodate new members and will provide trial memberships, free tours and incentives to get you in the door. Take full advantage of all of them before you sign the dotted line. There are now so many types of fitness facilities from 24 hour to universal to specialty facilities like boxing only, the choices are endless. Last explore the world of home fitness. With all the great DVDs, online communities and fitness channels there is something for everyone to get caught up in. A great home plan can be done with dumbbells, resistance bands, or no weights at all using your own body weight. All you need is a little space. No one likes broken stuff!

Bottom line is that what you choose to incorporate into your life for fitness is an important step in creating the necessary changes to have your best health. Understanding that even though you may begin in a place because the pursuit of best self is a life long journey, that path can change. You may at first feel awkward in a gym setting but after a few months of training at home, gain confidence and decide to take a class or try out the machines. Conversely, you may feel your personal space provides an advantage for you over a public one. Either way, be fluid and flexible and keep discovering the things you may want to add or try. It keeps the body pressing forward and mind seeking new ways to be healthy.

Be well!

@ 10:02am ET on March 4, 2012
I agree that some folks need a defined gym (dedicated exercise environment) and others can incorporate into their existing lives. For example, my wife. She "must have" a dedicated gym. It's her physical and mental space to "make it sweat". For me, I incorporate. For example, I "do more stairs" at work, park the car further away from my destination (to walk more) and I do my TreadMill time while watching TV/Movies. Or, do raised calves while brushing my teeth at night. When I count to 75, I'm done brushing my teeth as well. For me, doing "parallel tasking" (or "task within a task") is better. And, I don't spend large amount of money on gym fees either. But, my wife needs her physical and mental "space" of a gym. This method works best for her....

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