I’m very self-motivated when it comes to doing cardio activities—running, swimming, and biking—they were always at the top of my priority list when I plan my weekly workout schedule. But squeezing in an hour or two of strength training on my own is more of a mental than a physical challenge, because I have to psych myself into dealing with the crowds at the gym after work plus the temptation to go home after a long day. 

My new source of motivation is cashing in on prepaid workout sessions at what I like to call “boutique” studios or fitness groups. If you're in a workout rut or if you like your routine but need to give your muscles more or a different challenge, the Groupon or Living Social classes can help with that. Plus, for people who get bored easily or are just looking for something new, you can take a few classes without serious commitment. I’m curious about these small local businesses that have carved a niche in the fitness scene and amazingly built up a loyal clientele in a short period of time, partly due to their unique routine and the small studio atmosphere. And the focus of their workout is on some form of strength training from ballet to boot camp. My experiences have left me wanting to come back for more at some gyms, others won’t get my business.

Here are some things to consider when you are taking a new class or trying out a facility to decide if you want to sign up for more sessions:

1. Are the instructors certified?
2. Do the instructors acknowledge first timers to their facility or beginners?
3. Does the teacher give adequate attention to the participant’s ability and progress during the class and offer suggestions for modifications?
4. Are you comfortable with the atmosphere in the facility and the cleanliness?
5. Can you afford it? The on-line promotions are super discounted deals compared to what you would normally have to pay.

     Do you have any tips for those looking for fitness deals or those trying new facilities?