For a long time, I resisted joining a fitness center. I didn’t want to pay the dues or make the drive. I assumed that I’d never utilize the membership and end up wasting my money. Or I’d feel so guilty over the membership dues that I’d force myself to use the gym and hate it. I made due with the equipment I have at home. Being limited to a few hand weights, jump rope and yoga mat gets rather tedious. While I like to run and ride my bike, the weather rarely cooperates. Then my husband bought me a gym membership for my birthday. I figured I’d workout at the gym for one year and then quit. However, after I started attending the gym regularly, I got where I really appreciated the benefits. At the gym, I have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art workout equipment. With the ability to utilize different styles of treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals, I increased the intensity of my cardio, burned a lot more calories and really improved my stamina. There is a machine to focus on every muscle group, from my biceps and triceps to my calves. I’m able to lift various sizes of free weights and kettlebells and workout with resistance bands and battle ropes. I really enjoy signing up for group classes. I’ve tried out pilates, yoga and spin classes and felt they were great for motivation and working new muscles. Heading to the gym is my opportunity to focus on myself, alleviate stress and feel good about my accomplishment. I’ve now maintained the membership for three years.