My last year of college, I hit the gym every morning. I had a personal trainer, a former KU cheerleader, who kept my butt kicked.

It was a great schedule, and it helped that I didn't have to be in class until 11 a.m. three days a week.

After graduation and some traveling, I took an internship (later a job) at The Telegram and settled into a nice routine of working and working out afterwards for about two days.

I found quickly that when you have a job, there's no such thing as a schedule. From the sound of it, this goes for any job whether you're a doctor, lawyer, welder, parent, or all of the above.

Thanks to the many fitness options in Garden City, I've kept my working out and work in balance.

I'm shoving it all into three days per week with some weekend walks, but it fits.

I do yoga at the Garden City Recreation Commission, 310 N. Sixth St., Monday, Wednesday and Thursday right after an hour of zumba, a fun latin-influenced dance class that combines mainly salsa, cumbia and merengue. I've gotten some friends to try it, and they seem to like it. I hear rave reviews about zumba at the YMCA, too.

Through my circle of friends in Garden City, I've heard great reactions to the many fitness centers and workout options here.

Many head to Project Fitness, 1016 W. Mary St., a "garage" style gym to do CrossFit, a program that utilizes free weights and interval training, for a fast-paced calorie burning workout. The benefit of CrossFit, some say, is a person uses their own body weight against themselves to get the most out of a workout. CrossFit combines the best of a variety of sports training, along with freestyle weights, cardio and agility, according to

Places like the YMCA, 1224 Center St., the Garden City Rec and Coyote's offer more traditional weight rooms and have a variety of fitness classes.

Just women can head to Curves, 1135 College Drive, for a tailored, quick workout with progress tracked down to a science.

With additions to the YMCA, the center promises to become a better place to work out, and the Rec may have additions on the horizon. Coyote's Family Fitness has a large space and women's workout area and locker room that appeal to women. For both men and women, Coyote's, 2302 E. Mary St., also has plenty of cardio machines and a free weights area.

For the boxers and martial artists, Garden City offers Bad Boyz Boxing and a Mixed Martial Arts gym, Rine's American Freestyle Karate.

Rines American Freestyle Karate, 2820 E. Shulman Ave., Suite B, a satellite of Rine's in Liberal, is a new gym that offers Mixed Martial Arts and karate training. The gym is equipped with separate boxing, karate and wrestling coaches to optimize a fighter's potential.

And for a free workout, although you'll have to bundle up this time of year, hit the Talley Trail, a path that cuts across the city. For some incline, head up Fleming or Third streets.

Starting a fitness routine this time of year can be particularly beneficial because of the winter season. We tend to stay indoors more with colder temperatures. Holiday eating and drinking can add pounds and disrupt fitness routines and goals.

It's important for your mind and body to keep active, even if you have a physical job. Pick a gym or workout option that's right for you and spend some time at it.

Exercise promotes productivity, energy and positivity, as long as you remember it's a reward, not a punishment.

Staff writer Rachael Gray can be e-mailed at