Bob Greene
Becoming a member at a health club can go a long way in helping you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals. Bob talks with Sonia Ricotti, president and founder of Lead Out Loud, a leadership and self-development company, about what you need to know before joining a gym to make your experience a success.

Be very clear about why you want to join. People are often so focused on the amenities the health club offers, or the possibility of meeting a significant other at the gym, that they lose sight of the most important reason for joining a club—namely, to live a better, healthier life. "Make the decision that you want to make a change in your life," Sonia says.

Choose a health club that's close to home. If your travel time exceeds 20 minutes, Sonia says it's highly unlikely you will make it to the gym on a regular basis. Factor in bad weather, traffic and lazy days, and you'll set yourself up for failure if the gym is too far away, she says.

Pick a health club that makes you feel comfortable. Even if you're new to working out or gym settings, Sonia says you should not feel completely out of your element when you walk in to the gym. "If you're feeling really uncomfortable because it's not really your type of crowd, then chances are you're going to quit and not go anymore," she says.

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