Free for All
Every member of LA Fitness, a nationwide firm founded in Southern California in 1984, receives a free personal training session -- use it to your advantage. The mid-scale facilities cater to a wide variety of clientele, so head to this consultation with several clear fitness goals so you can avoid getting generic, and possibly irrelevant, guidance. If the trainer knows what your exercise focus is, he can focus more on orienting you with that portion of the club. For example, if you're a cardio junkie but want to get more into strength training to maintain muscle mass, ask to be shown how to use the weight machines during your consultation. Bring a pencil and paper, so you can write down any of this free advice. LA Fitness also offers a blog where trainers provide free workout plans, including 30-minute options and 90-day plans, that you can use to create workouts.
Cardio Training Options
LA Fitness offers multiple options for cardio training, which burns mega calories and strengthens your heart. Cardio also builds your endurance and stamina -- whether your goal is to run a marathon or simply stop feeling winded when you walk up the stairs. Plan for at least three 45- to 60-minute cardio workouts per week. Take advantage of one of the many pieces of cardio equipment on the gym floor. These include treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers and rowers. The pool and racquetball or basketball courts offer additional options for cardio exercise. Cardio classes at LA Fitness include boxing, indoor cycling, Latin and belly dance, Zumba Fitness and step aerobics. Check the class schedule to see what's offered at your location. To stay challenged, vary your mode of cardio every few weeks.
Participating in at least two strength-training workouts weekly on non-consecutive days helps you maintain muscle mass and strengthens your bones. LA Fitness offers a full array of weight-training machines at all locations -- the brand and type varies. You can also find free weights with which you can work all the major muscle groups, including the hips, chest, arms, legs, shoulders and abs. If you don't have much experience with strength training, or need motivation, attend one of the many strength-training classes, such as Total Strength and Urban Iron. If your goal is to build muscle, stick mostly to the barbells, dumbbells and squat racks on the gym floor so you can focus on doing compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts and presses with heavy weight.
Functional and Flexible Work
Another focus during one or two of your weekly workouts should be on functional exercises that emphasize flexibility, core strength, balance and coordination. You can combine functional movement into cardio or strength-training sessions, such as by playing a game of racquetball or heading to a Boot Camp Conditioning class. Out on the gym floor at LA Fitness, use cable machines, medicine balls and mats to do Russian twists, lunges with twists, wood chops, core rotations, plank holds and crunches to strengthen the core. Pilates and yoga classes, along with belly dancing and Core Train'g, are other ways to schedule functional fitness into your weekly LA Fitness workouts.