One of the downsides of being confined to your home during the pandemic can be gaining weight. Most of my exercise during the last two months turned out to be frequent trips to the refrigerator. Sure, people could still get outside to walk or bike, but those munchies really packed on the pounds for some (me included.)
Besides (the obvious) benefit of losing weight, going to a gym can give your brain a boost, spark creativity, jumpstart your morning, increase your energy, help you make new friends and improve your sleep.
Ed Bogacki has spent the last 25 years in the fitness business. He purchased his first Gold’s Gym back in 2002 in Tampa and bought his second location in 2016 in Clearwater.
And like so many others, his business was affected by COVID-19. Bogacki said many of his members canceled their memberships or quit going to the gyms, due to fear of getting infected. Then too, a lot of members became unemployed and now don’t have the money to pay their dues. Bogacki works with his members and gives them free memberships if they are not working or need help. He says most people are honest about their situations.
Celebrities do frequent Gold’s Gym, but Bogacki commented that they do want to keep their anonymity.
The Clearwater Gold’s Gym location was closed for two months. Bogacki says, “Once you take something away from someone, they realize just how important it was.” Bogacki adds that even still, many are waiting to come back – just to be safe. Bogacki says the staff at the gym have doubled their cleaning efforts. Members are now asked to bring in their own towels.
As far as getting started, Bogacki says it’s all about motivation. “You can do anything. You just need to figure out what motivates you. Do you want to get rid of the medications for high blood pressure or high cholesterol?” he asks. “We listen to doctors after the problem instead of preventing them. You don’t wait until your car breaks down to get an oil change. We can start by doing a lot of little things at first, such as parking in the back of the parking lot and walking, or climbing up that second flight of stairs.
Bogacki is full of such good advice. He adds, “Stretching is important before exercise. Consider getting a personal trainer. Improve your diet.
“It’s all about organization. Make sure your house is clean, even if you start by just making your bed everyday. That’s one positive thing. Start with little things and the rest will follow. Make one hour a day just for yourself. Driving to the gym takes 10 minutes, a workout takes a half hour, and driving home takes 10 minutes. That’s it. There’s nothing more important than your own health. It may give you 10 more years together with your significant other. All you have to do is ask for help or you will regret it. It’s important to be consistent overall.
“If you’re modifying your diet, start slowly. Slowly wean yourself off the junk food. Try to stop coffee and do that for two weeks then move on to the next thing.
“One of the biggest mistakes you can make is by not eating breakfast. You should eat breakfast within one hour of waking up and eat every two to three hours until you get six meals in for the day. Look at what meals you are eating. You should not eat within two hours of bedtime.”
“Sugar isn’t as bad as people think it is. What’s really bad is high fructose corn syrup.
“People made fun of vegetarians in the 1960s, but now we realize they are smart. Start small. Go from 1/2 meat to 1/4 meat and eventually wean yourself off of meat entirely. Salads give you more energy and you’re able to sleep better.
“There’s so much temptation to be perfect. I said earlier that consistency what’s really important. Just get started.”
Gold’s Gym Clearwater has 2,000 members and the Tampa location has 3,000 members.
Amenities include personal training, cryotherapy, group exercise classes with social distancing markers, weight and cardio machines, free weights, a smoothie bar, a pro shop and a kids club for daycare.
Members of Gold’s Gym Clearwater enjoy access seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staffed hours for non-members are as follows:
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
For more information, visit Gold’s Gym at 1664 S Missouri Ave, Clearwater, FL 33756 or call (727) 518-2100.