Finding the fitness facility that's a fit for you in SWGA

Candace Riner

If you're one of those looking to shed some extra pound in 2011, joining a gym may be a good start.

"You see a lot more people get involved in exercise around the first of the year," said Tony Powell. "Some of them, even the regular exercisers, maybe have slacked off a little bit during the holidays. Then you have a lot of people that maybe haven't been exercising that with the new year, they've made commitments to start an exercise program."

Powell owns Tony's Fitness Group.

He expects membership and activity at his gym to double in the first quarter of 2011 and then decline significantly.

Powell says many who decide to downsize don't do their homework, which leads their weight loss wishes to fall by the wayside.

"Come in," said Powell. "Tour the gym. Make sure you feel comfortable where you're working out."

For those just starting an exercise program, Powell recommends a locally-owned facility that's more likely to offer month-to-month memberships â" the average cost per month is around $20.00.

National chains, like Anytime Fitness, can be more expensive and require longer-term commitments but they also have their advantages.

"If you're someone who travels, you should probably look into finding a gym or facility that is nationwide," said Candace Riner of Anytime Fitness.

Keep in mind that if you do decide to join a gym, you're probably only working out for about an hour at most, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. That means that what you do when you're outside the gym is just as important as what you do when you're inside the gym.

"You have to make more conscious decisions about what you eat, where you eat, how often you eat, how much you eat," said Riner.

"Try to reduce your calorie intake," added Powell. "Try to eat calories that you're getting a lot of nutritional benefit from. Don't come in and try to get in shape overnight. Start out slow."