Dubai, UAE: Residents keen to lose a few inches around their waists as part of their new year resolutions have found a smart way to keep the weight on their wallets by joining come-and-try sessions at gyms offering big discounts on fees.
“Many gyms are offering free classes for the new year,” said Kunal Sriram, a receptionist in Dubai.
“I’m going to several of them to see which one I like best.”
Mr Sriram said that if he found the right fit it would be an incentive to get in better shape.
Psychologists agree with that approach and said that if people find a gym is fun they will not be chucking money at subscriptions they never use.
“If you enjoyed it then you won’t dread going to it,” said Suad Fadlallah, a Sharjah-based psychologist.
Plans to become healthier should not be ill-fated, Ms Fadlallah said.
Simple manageable steps are key.
“Find something easy that you enjoy. It can be a Zumba class or a mindful candle lit yoga session. If it’s a pleasurable experience you are more likely to not break the habit and eventually become a normal thing for you,” Ms Fadlallah said.
Group exercising and boot camps can also be beneficial when working out with like-minded people in a fun environment.
“There’s a sense of camaraderie in boot camps. Friendships happen. People even have fallen in love. It’s an enticing way to keep going when you are with like minded people who share your enthusiasm and struggle. It’s like one fun big support group that yields results,” said Abdullah Ibrahimy, a fitness instructor.
There’s a breakthrough moment if someone perseveres through the first period of starting a new activity, he said.
“After a while, it becomes a part of your life where you’d feel something important is missing. That’s the moment when most people will not break the habit. It usually happens in two to three months,” Ms Fadlallah said.
“Your goal should be to persevere for 90 days only not the whole year. If it’s a small attainable goal then your chances to succeed will increase significantly,” she says.
Mr Ibrahimy said that fitness does not need to be associated with cold air-conditioned industrial gyms.
“The integral period of adjusting luckily comes at a time when the weather is really nice in the UAE and many boot camps hold sessions at parks and beaches. It’s a good way to incentivise yourself and be outside,” Mr Ibrahimy said.
Chances are people have already made plans to get fitter in past years, but failed, so some are trying to erase past memories and make this one different.
“I never stick to my new year’s plans but this year I’ve downloaded an app that should make the experience different this time. I want to feel like it’s a new start and not just another failed attempt,” Mr Sriram said.
© The NationalJan 2016