The Common Misconception of Getting Fit Before Joining a Gym

The Common Misconception of Getting Fit Before Joining a Gym

You’ve wanted to lose weight. You’ve wanted to get healthier, feel better, and have more energy. You’ve thought about the possibility of joining a gym, but something has held you back. Perhaps it’s fear, vulnerability, or a lack of confidence keeping you from accomplishing your fitness goals. Before allowing any more negativity to cloud your frame of mind, let’s push the pause button.

For many toying around with the thought of joining a gym (but slacking with the follow-through), we’re here to say: let’s not put off your health and happiness any longer. There seems to be this common misconception that one must get fit before getting fit in a club. That could not be any further from the truth. Yet, it’s an idea that many people believe, usually due to one of the fears listed below.

7 Common Fears When New to the Gym (And How to Avoid Them)

1. Everyone is going to judge me.

  • No – most people who go to the gym are way too focused on their own workout routine to be watching anyone else, let alone judge you.
  • The gym is a type of community where you’re surrounded by others who share similar health and fitness goals.
  • Almost everyone is supportive because they’ve been where you’ve been and want to see you succeed.

2. I won’t know how to use any of the equipment.

  • Easy fix – perhaps one of the easiest on this list! On most machines, there is a picture showing which muscles the machine helps target and how to properly perform the exercise. Take the time to review it before getting started.
  • Still nervous that you may be doing it wrong? There are plenty of helpful videos showing proper use of gym equipment online (check out our LAF YouTube channel).
  • Your third option can be adding on some personal training sessions to your membership and have an instructor walk you through how to properly use the machines and explain which would be best for you.

3. Everyone is going to be ripped fitness models/competitors.

  • No – sure, some people at the gym will be in peak fitness shape. Some will be fitness models. Some will be bodybuilders. The majority will not be.
  • Remember: Everyone was once a beginner. You’re not any different or capable of accomplishing any less than those others you see at the gym.

4. I am going to sweat… a lot.

  • This is probably true. We’re not going to lie to you. Working out can get sweaty, especially if your body isn’t used to it, but guess what? Everyone sweats.
  • Sweating is great for your body! It can help rid your body of toxins and help cool the body down from a particularly intense workout. Plus, it’s great for boosting those feel-good endorphins (just don’t forget your towel).


The weight area will be dominated by Arnold Schwarzenegger built men.

  • The weight area of any gym can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never lifted before. The key for overcoming this fear is to do your research so you know how to properly use the weights without bringing injury to yourself.
  • It never hurts to ask for help! Do you see someone who looks like they know what they’re doing? Wait until they finish their set, and then ask them to help spot you or ask for assistance. Again, most people want to help and watch you succeed. In fact, they may even be flattered that you’ve thought to ask them for help.
  • Not a fan of asking strangers for help? Book a session with the PT department and they’ll walk you through the weight training basics.
  • Men and women can be seen in the weight training area. Being strong is sexy. The old-age idea of hulk-like men grunting and dropping weights is yesterday’s worry. Fear no more.

6. I’m so out of shape, I won’t be able to keep up in group fitness classes.

  • Far from the truth! Group fitness classes can be a great place to start if you’re looking for an instructor to help push you, without the added cost of personal training. All classes can be tailored for the fitness level you’re currently at. Let the instructor know that you’re new and they can help give alternative moves so that you can confidently complete the class without fail.
  • Stick with the class. The more often you attend, the better (and more comfortable) you will become. You’ll begin noticing a difference in your endurance and strength levels with continued participation.

7. I won’t end up going, it’ll just be a waste of money.

  • We wish there was a way to say this isn’t true, but it’s entirely on you. There is a frame of mind that you must be in to make sure you’re putting your gym membership to good use.
  • Think of the money that gets spent on fast food, specialty coffees, and afternoon snacks. If you aren’t feeling healthy, wouldn’t an investment towards your health be more worthwhile than the money spent on less than healthy habits?
  • Here’s some advice on healthy (and inexpensive) meal prep to help get you on the right track –
  • Don’t commit to a membership yet. Give us a try first.


You don’t have to be in shape, an experienced-gym goer, or former athlete to reap the benefits of joining a gym. Whether you’re a complete beginner (or otherwise) there are ways to modify your gym experience to fit your personal physical fitness goals.

At LA Fitness, we’re a judgment-free zone. We’re here to help you reach all of your fitness and health goals. Come check us out today, and don’t be afraid to start.


  1. Borreli, Lizette. “Sweat It Out! 5 Surprising Health Benefits Of Sweating That Actually Don’t Stink.” Medical Daily, 7 Nov. 2014,

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How to Stay Fit When Pregnant

How to Stay Fit When Pregnant

It’s one of the happiest moments of every soon-to-be parent’s life: that moment when you first realize you’re going to be bringing a little you into the world – and then comes the planning.

Between baby books, baby-proofing the home, and making sure your diet is as healthy as can be for your little tummy bunny, it’s important not to forget to maintain your fitness routine.

However, you’re going to want to change things up a bit.

While exercise is important to sustain the health of you and your little one, it may be hard finding the motivation if you’re experiencing common pregnancy symptoms like exhaustion, nausea, swollen ankles or back pain.

The good news is, there are exercises that can help ease the extremity of some of these issues.

Aqua Fit

Before rolling your eyes at the thought of attending an Aqua Fit class, hear us out. Water exercises can be great for soon-to-be mamas because they are low impact and can help alleviate some of the added weight that brings on the aches and pains. Not only will you feel lighter, but you’ll get your cardio in without the high-intensity or added pressure on your ankles.

Find an Aqua Fit class near you here.


Breathe in. Breathe out. Practice your breathing techniques before the big day arrives! Yoga classes are known for helping promote relaxation, improving balance and strengthening core muscles. Not only that, but according to an article1 published in WebMD research has shown that Yoga may even make labor shorter and more comfortable, and who wouldn’t want that?

!! FYI – Try to avoid hot yoga after your first trimester2, or laying on your back3, as the weight of the uterus can compress a major blood vessel, disrupting blood flow.

Indoor Cycling

Much safer than the outdoor alternative and a great way to get your heartbeat up and those calories burned! Another benefit of taking an indoor cycling class when pregnant is that you can go at your own pace, and when the belly starts growing, you can easily adjust the handles bars to make for an easier and more comfortable ride.


Let’s get back to the basics! Sometimes an exercise as seemingly simple as walking can work wonders for your body. The combination of fresh air, getting your daily steps in, and switching up the distance, incline, and pace of your walk is a great way to get in your cardio while not overexerting your body.

Another benefit of exercising while carrying your soon-to-be bundle of joy is the flow of endorphins! Exercise helps boost the body with “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin and can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plus, exercise had been known to help improve self-esteem and can help you stay within a healthy weight gain limit while pregnant.


Here’s the Best Part

Research has shown that “healthy pregnant women who exercise during pregnancy may have less risk of preterm delivery and shorter labor, are less likely to need pain relief, and recover from childbirth faster.”6 We say those benefits alone make exercising during pregnancy worth it.

Stay healthy, mamas to be! We look forward to seeing you in the gym soon and wish you and your little one(s) a great start!


Even though you may be feeling exhausted, exercise can help increase your energy and stamina. Sounds kind of counterintuitive, right? Well, living an active lifestyle helps the body get stronger and improves cardiovascular health, thus giving the body more stamina. When you feel better, you have more energy.


Here are some tips for having a safe workout:

  1. Whatever activity you choose, don’t overdo it. Listen to your body and rest if you feel tired. Any sharp, shooting or stabbing pain means you should stop. You should be able to carry on a conversation during any activity.
  2. Avoid dehydration by drinking extra water before, during, and after exercise.
  3. Eat plenty of food so that you don’t run low on glucose.
  4. Avoid overheating. During hot weather, exercise indoors and in an air-conditioned space.
  5. Avoid high-risk and contact sports; any activity where there’s a risk of falling or getting hit in the stomach. If you’re not sure whether something is safe or not, don’t do it.


We spoke with Dr. Rhonda Smalls, Chief of Service, Obstetrics and Gynecology, at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, who helped offer some helpful advice for our pregnant moms-to-be out there.

Q: How does exercising impact both the mother-to-be and baby in a positive way?


Dr. Rhonda Smalls: Exercising during pregnancy can help the mother-to-be maintain muscle strength, avoid excess weight gain, lower the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications – gestational diabetes and preeclampsia – and shed unwanted pounds after the baby is born.  During pregnancy, the muscles in the lower abdomen, lower back, and around the birth canal come under great strain.  Moderate exercise helps reduce backaches, constipation and bloating.  It can also improve circulation and minimize swelling and prepares the body for labor and delivery.


Q: What are some exercises you would recommend for moms to be?

RS: Walking. It’s safe and easy for most women from the moment they find out they’re pregnant until the final weeks. I encourage expecting moms to sneak in some extra steps into their day by parking their car at the far end of the lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Remember to use the handrail when walking up or downstairs.

Swimming or water aerobics. Both are gentle on the joints and provide a feeling of weightlessness (a welcome break in the later months of pregnancy).

Stretching or yoga. Stretching eases back pain and helps maintain flexibility, while yoga can help expecting moms better cope with everyday stress.  Look for prenatal yoga classes or videos designed for pregnant women.

Low-impact dance or aerobics. Moving to music is fun for moms.  Be careful when doing movements that require balance like jumps, kicks, leaps, and bouncing.


Q: Are there varying degrees of exercise difficulty that pregnant women can participate in depending on the trimester they’re in?


RS: First and foremost, it’s important that all pregnant women check with their primary obstetric provider before starting any exercise routine. If they’re already physically active most days, great! If not, this is a good time to start. Begin slowly, build up gradually, and try to exercise at least 30 minutes per day.

During the first trimester, pregnant women should be able to continue their exercise routine as long as they’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy.  I encourage expecting moms to try a combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises.

During the second and third trimester, most women will have to vary their routine slightly.


This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet (particularly when pregnant), make sure it is approved by your doctor.


  1. “Safe Exercise During Pregnancy: Running, Weights, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD,
  2. Ibid
  3. “Can I Still Sleep on My Back While I’m Pregnant?” Parents, Parents, 18 Sept. 2015,
  4. “Safe Exercise During Pregnancy: Running, Weights, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD,
  5. BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. “Great Pregnancy Exercise: Weight Training.”BabyCenter, 9 Mar. 2018,

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Understanding Functional Fitness

Understanding Functional Fitness

What is Functional Fitness?

Cardio and strength training usually dominate fitness talk, but what about the often-overlooked concept of functional fitness? At its core, functional fitness is really about focusing on building your body so that it can better handle everyday tasks such as bending over to tie your shoes, playing catch with your dog, or chasing after your kids without the added exhaustion, aches or pains.

Real Life Samples

Let’s think about this from a practical standpoint. Our daily habits cause us to turn, twist, bend, climb and lean to get things done. We’re using our whole bodies, so why not focus on exercises that use multiple muscle groups? Isolated weight training is great, but it doesn’t always help prevent strained backs or pulled muscles.

Exercises like kettlebell squats are a great way to stimulate a real-life scenario – you’re bending down (squatting) using your lower body, and at the same time picking something up (great with the added weight of the kettlebell) using your upper body. Try forward lunges with a twist to help work the lower body, upper body and help stabilize the core. Bent over rows can also help with upper and lower body strength. Bosu balls can also help aid in stability training!

Think about which muscle groups are actively being engaged when performing your desired exercise. If it feels like a move that mirrors real life movements, most likely you’re engaging in functional fitness.

The Benefits

To put it simply – fewer aches and pains! Less strain on your body, less worries about not being able to perform day-to-day activities and more confidence in moving around with a stronger body. If this all sounds like what regular or “normal” exercise does to improve the body, you’re right… sort of.

Functional fitness focuses on movements, rather than muscles.1 In your ordinary day-to-day routine, chances are you’re not doing an activity that focuses on the same muscle repeatedly. Think of lifting a semi-heavy grocery bag, similar to a bicep curl. Sure, you may do this a few times, but realistically you’re not going to be standing in your kitchen doing biceps curls with your grocery bags.

Depending on age and activity level of your life, the functional fitness exercises you’ll want to focus on will vary. If you’re uncertain what’s right for you or where to begin with this type of training, reach out to a representative in the personal training department.

Another alternative is sending your fitness related question to us for a chance for it to be one of our featured ‘Ask A Trainer’ questions on our LA Fitness YouTube channel or Living Healthy blog!

A better life starts with a decision that you deserve more for yourself. LA Fitness is here to help, and functional fitness is a great way to begin your training for the everyday!


  1. Roberts, | BY: Amy, and Amy Roberts. “What Is Functional Training and How Can It Benefit You?” The Beachbody Blog, 20 July 2017,

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Where to Begin with Weight Training

Where to Begin with Weight Training

The clanking of weights, the grunts, the sweat… the intimidation of the weightlifting area for those who don’t know where to begin. We get it – weight training can be scary if you’re new to this form of exercise. However, if you’re looking to create a balanced workout routine for yourself, your body is going to need a combination of cardio and strength training. But you probably already knew this. Let’s jump right into it then – where to begin?

First, ask yourself what muscle areas you want to focus on:

  • Lower Body
  • Back
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Core

We’ll get into specific machines or body weight exercises you can do to tone each of the areas above a bit further on. Next, you should determine how much weight you want to be using. This varies depending on the results you’re looking for. Always remember this –

If you’re looking to tone, but aren’t necessarily looking for bulk or noticeable, muscle, then it’s best to stick to lighter weights at higher reps.*

If you’re looking to build muscle and bulk up, you should look to increase your weight (safely, over time) use heavier weights at lower reps.

*Reps – Short for repetitions. This is how many times you will be repeating the exercise.

Sound good? Great, but how many sets** should you be doing? This varies too, and really is based on personal preference. A sample workout may consist of 3 sets of ‘x’ exercise, comprised of 10-12 repetitions of that particular workout. For example, you would do 10 biceps curls, then you would rest. Then do a second set of 10 biceps curls, then rest again, before doing a final third set of 10 biceps curls.

**Sets – A group of exercises performed.

This is a good starting point, but perhaps you’re looking to build muscle. Some people enjoy increasing their weight with each set and then lowering the amount of repetitions they do. An example of this would be to start off with a 20-lb. barbell for your bicep curl, complete your 10 reps and then rest. For your second set, you may want to increase to a 30-lb. barbell, this time only completing 8 reps, and if you’re feeling strong enough for the third and final set, you can increase your weight to 35 lbs. and decrease your rep again to only 6.

Make sure you’re listening to your body, because the amount of weight, the number of reps, and number of sets you choose to do will vary from person to person depending on what you’re looking to accomplish, level of experience and strength level.

Body Weight vs. Machine/Equipment vs. Free Weights

When it comes to strength training, you have options. Some people prefer using their body weight to build strength, others enjoy using the machines, while some prefer training with free weights. Is one necessarily better for you than the other? We break down the pros and cons of each of these exercises so you can determine the best option for you.

Body Weight

Pros – This is a great way to truly understand the proper form of an exercise while allowing your core to be engaged and obtain the full range of motion of the movement. You’ll be able to perform a high number of reps doing a body weight exercise which will generate an increase in heart rate producing both strength and fat burning.

Cons – Once performing these exercises for 2-3 weeks, the amount of strength gains plateaus resulting in primarily fat burning. You will eventually need to upgrade to either machines or free weights to obtain more solid strength gains.

Responses above provided by LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Geoff F.


Pros – Another great tool to understand the form of an exercise. These exercises will provide some good isolated muscle strength gains while also allowing your joints and muscles to stay in line with the exercise. They will help keep your body out of harm’s way while you are still early in your weight training program.

Cons – Although strength gains will be more than with body weight exercises, with the limited range of motion for machines the amount of strength gains won’t result in as much as free weights. The limited range of motion will also not allow your joints and muscles to maintain their flexibility. It is also tougher to engage your core resulting in only the isolated muscle group being worked.

Responses above provided by LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Geoff F.

Free Weights

Pros – This is the optimal strength gain exercises. They allow for the most range of motion and increase in resistance as you progress through a program. With a program centered around free weights, the strength results will typically happen faster than the other two forms. These exercises also require the core to be engaged during the duration of the exercise so more muscles are being worked during the movement.

Cons – This form requires the most knowledge and understanding of the movement of the exercise, as they have the tendency to produce the most injuries of any of the three types. It is best to utilize the first two forms and then work into free weights if you are entering into a beginner’s weight training program.

Responses above provided by LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Geoff F.

Our suggestion? Mix it up! Not only does that help keep the work outs fresh and fun, but it’s actually going to help build the optimal body. Check out how body weight exercises combined with heavy weight exercises act as a power duo for the body, here!

How Many Days a Week Should You Focus on Strength Training vs. Cardio?

Pro Results® Master Trainer, Geoff F., suggests a balanced routine of strength training anywhere from 3-4 days per week, and cardio between 4-5 to maybe 6 times week, depending upon what your level is when you first start out. Check out the full Ask A Trainer video below for more info on how to maintain a balanced workout routine.

!! Trainer Tip: Cardio after weightlifting can help release lactic acid built up in the muscles and can help you feel better in the long run. Check out why, here.

Sample Beginner’s Weight Lifting/Strength Training Guide

It’s important to note that the videos below only touch upon a very small fraction of what’s available to you when it comes to weightlifting in one of our clubs. In order to know what weightlifting routine would work best for your body and your goals, set up a fitness assessment with someone in your club’s personal training department. They will be able to help target what exercises should be done to help you reach your goals.

Lower Body




!! Tip: Like these videos? Many more of these Premium Fitness Tips can be found on our LA Fitness YouTube channel and help break down how to properly use the equipment found in a typical club.

Nutrition’s Effect on Strength Training

Weight training needs to be fueled properly in order for all that hard work to be effective.  As opposed to cardio which burns more fat, strength training uses available carbohydrates because it is rapidly oxidized for those quick, intense muscle bursts. Consuming easily-digestible “simple” carbohydrates before and during your workout can keep that supply running.  But that’s not the only thing. Adequate muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate) is also used, and this reserve is built up by a consistent diet of complex carbohydrates, complemented by lean protein and healthy fats.

The protein provides the needed amino acids for building new muscle fibers while the fat gives both energy and structure. So why not load up on all of the protein you need before or after strength training? That’s because it (along with fat and fiber) slows down the delivery of those quick carbohydrates. Also, you don’t use that much protein at once and without a reserve for it you need a more constant supply throughout the day. In other words, save foods like beef loin, broccoli, baked potato, nuts and avocado for meal or snack time, but have an egg white with a banana or white toast before your workout. When you provide the right nutrients at the right time, your muscles can do more work for a bigger result.

Nutrition advice above provided by LA Fitness registered dietitian, Debbie J.

Pro Results® Training

If you’re still feeling like you may benefit from an in-club, hands on approach to learning what equipment would be right for you, set up a consultation for personal training at your local club. There are a variety of Pro Results® packages available to you, so whether it’s a short-term helping hand you’re looking for, or having someone on a longer-term basis to help you reach your fitness goal, LA Fitness is here to help you succeed.

Already have a personal success story you’d like to share with us? Click here to submit it for a chance to be one of our featured Member Spotlight stories!

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Body Works Plus Abs: The Class You Have to Try

Body Works Plus Abs: The Class You Have to Try

One of the great thing things about taking a Group Fitness class at LA Fitness is that all of the equipment is provided for you. You don’t have to worry about bringing your own weights or exercise equipment – all you have to focus on is showing up and giving it your best for (approximately) 55 minutes. It’s all about focusing on your own body. Group Fitness is a great way to push yourself with the helpful instruction of our certified instructors. Plus, you’re surrounded by other motivated individuals who are just as excited to focus on their health and fitness.

If you’re new to Group Fitness, don’t be intimidated! Everyone was new at some point. Group Fitness instructors will help teach you proper form and technique. Group Fitness is a great way to get fit with friends and family members while in an instructed, regimented environment. For those new to the gym, as well as those looking to switch up their typical exercise routine, Group Fitness classes are a great place to start.

A popular LA Fitness class is Body Works Plus Abs – after all, who doesn’t want a more toned core? In this class, members can expect a lightweight dumbbell workout moving to the beat of the music. You’ll be burning calories as you flow through a variety of exercises to help sculpt and tone your body into shape! With continued attendance, members may notice improvements in muscle tone, posture, balance and strength. It’s a full-body workout that provides full-body results.

In order to get a deeper understanding of what to expect from a Body Works Plus Abs class, we interviewed LA Fitness Group Fitness instructor Kate N., who shared all you need to know before giving this class a go. Check out her interview below!

Q: Please give a brief description of your fitness background and what brought you to start teaching Body Works Plus Abs.

Kate N: I’m an AFAA certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. I teach various Group Fitness classes from Aqua to Yoga, and even step! I fell in love with teaching Group Fitness classes at LA Fitness. I was once a loyal participant of cycle classes at LA Fitness, and later, I found myself in the instructor seat.  It wasn’t long before I discovered Body Works Plus Abs and it quickly became my favorite Group Fitness class to teach.

Q: What is unique and special about Body Works Plus Abs over other Group Fitness classes?

KN: It’s a completely balanced workout that challenges you from head to toe! You target every muscle group while moving non-stop to the beat of the music. You learn technique while having a fun and energetic workout. Spectators of the class may not be able to see the challenge, but the participants can attest to its slow burn. It sneaks up on you throughout the class.

“…the participants can attest to its slow burn. It sneaks up on you throughout the class.”

Kate N.

Group Fitness Instructor, LA Fitness

Q: Would you recommend Body Works Plus Abs for all fitness levels?

KN: Most definitely! The beauty of Body Works Plus Abs is that we progress into each challenging exercise, which gives participants plenty of options to take it to their own personal best.

Find a Body Works Plus Abs class near you!

In need for some new fitness wear?

Shop the latest & greatest LA Fitness clothing by clicking the button below!

Q: What equipment can a member expect to use when attending a class? Is there a specific dress code?

KN: We use lightweight dumbbells and an exercise mat. Simple and effective! Participants should wear comfortable fitness attire to move and sweat in.

Q:  If you could give one piece of advice to our readers, what would it be?

KN: Keep going to class! Consistency brings results!

In need of some motivation?

Check out some of our Member Spotlight success stories by clicking below!

Invite a friend or family member to join you today & be rewarded! Send a guest pass here and read all about our VIP Rewards program here – trust us, you don’t want to miss out on these awesome rewards!

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