Starting Over at the gym

  • Puppy80

    Posts: 451

    Jul 09, 2008 11:14 PM GMT
    So I currently belong to a gym,Lifetime Fitness, which is a really nice facility, but am barely going mostly because of distance and lack of motivation to go. So yesterday I went with a friend to XSport. There is definitely a different feel to the place, catering to more a younger crowd. I think maybe I was spoiled by Lifetime, as the women doing my enrollment put it, luxuries.

    Though I have 30 days to see if I like it, before I cancel and stick to my other gym. I did sign up for some personal training sessions, because I know little to nothing about the machines. When I was going I was just doing cardio. 30 minutes on the treadmill, 30 minutes on the bike. Tomorrow is my first session and I'm excited and nervous. A small part of my just wants to call it off from fear. But I know this will help me.


    Has anyone else felt nervous/scared when first starting out at the gym ? icon_redface.gif
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    Jul 10, 2008 1:13 AM GMT
    Hi Puppy80,

    After reading your post I can honestly tell you that I know how you feel. Recently I had to start over again after not being able to workout for two years due to cancer, the subsequent suregeries and treatments. I re-joined one of the gyms we have in town and the first time I walked into the facility I was instantly nervous. I was surrounded by longtime weight lifters and trainers, young people who seemed to exert no effort at just looking good; talk about being intimidated. I almost left and didn't come back but I shook it off and realized that everyone in that room had to start from somewhere; the begining. So I had to focus on why I was there and what I wanted it to be for me. I had to train myself to look at the day I had right then and not set my self up for failure by looking to far into the future or looking at what everyone else expected me to be able to do. I have a long way to go but once I focused it all got alot easier. Just take it slow, work with your trainers and don't be afraid to ask alot of questions. You'll do great. Take care.

    Eddie_SSM
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    Jul 10, 2008 1:44 AM GMT
    Avoid the machines as much as you can... try to get the trainer to show you free weight exercises. Your joints and stabilizers will thank you ;)

    As far as being scared/nervous... heck yeah. The first month at the campus rec was horrible. Tons of really big guys walking around, shooting mean looks.

    But then I realized that they had to start somewhere too, and once they saw that I was actually working out and not screwing around it was all good.
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    Jul 10, 2008 2:10 AM GMT
    I totally feel you on the being nervous at the gym thing. I still feel nervous everytime I go to the gym and I've been going daily for over 8 months now. And, the gym I go to is more of a personal training/boutique gym. But, there are still wicked hot people there working out and it always makes me feel out of place.

    But, you just gotta suck it up and go. You'll thank yourself for it later. Also, at least for me, I'm more comfortable when I'm working out with my trainer. I'm concentrating more on what he's having me do (and trying to catch my breath) instead of worrying about all the hot people in the gym. Plus, I'm getting an amazing workout because he really knows his shit.

    I'll also second what trunks said. Get your trainer to show you as much free weight stuff as possible. The only machine I use is the multi-position cable machine. Everything else is done with body-weight or free weights. I've never worked out this hard in my life. And, I'm seeing results that I never saw before.

    So, get to the gym, work with a trainer, and just keep going - even if you don't want to. icon_smile.gif
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    Jul 10, 2008 3:04 AM GMT
    Oh god yes and I still do.

    I go to a 24 hour gym and because I get of work at 10pm most nights I go to the gym late around 12 when most of the muscle bound guys are there because theres less people figting over weights like 7pm prime gym time..

    I'm not a skinny dude but i'm not ripped either but I tell myself that i'm working out to get bigger and they had to start there to.

    Also it helps a lot because a lot of the really big guys have hot bodies but a really ugly face icon_wink.gif
  • manpit209

    Posts: 213

    Jul 10, 2008 3:23 AM GMT
    Hey Puppy! Glad to see you here!!! icon_biggrin.gif

    I definitely was nervous my first time at the gym. I was intimated by all the people there knew what they are doing and especially the guys who are all ripped and stuff. Here I am, a skinny dude that's kinda out of place. The first day I went in and I did leave. It took me probably a couple of days before I went back again. It's exactly like some of the guys are saying... everyone starts somewhere. A personal trainer will really help if you aren't familiar with all the stuff.

    I read Men's Health magazine so I have an idea of some of the stuff I should be doing. That made me more comfortable. Hopefully the PT will help give you the confidence to keep on going. Plus your friend will be a good motivator too. icon_wink.gif
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jul 10, 2008 4:01 AM GMT
    I had no clue what I was doing when I first walked into a gym a few years ago. I'd never gone to the gym for a purpose other than something along the lines of "that's where the volleyball courts are", so my total inexperience at weight lifting was darn intimidating. Some things which helped me:

    1) I tried to go at non peak times. Since I was going to a college gym, that meant early morning. Essentially, the only college students willing to get up to work out at 7 are the varsity athletes, and they've got their own separate training facility, so the normal gym was pretty empty. As in, generally there were 3-4 people in their 20s, and 2 people over 60 in the entire thing. No wait time for the equipment you want, and no one paying any attention to you. If you're not a morning person, consider going late at night, or during lunch if you've got the time flexibility in your job. Heck, if you have the time flexibility, 2pm is often a pretty deserted time at almost every gym. The after work/right before dinner time is often quite crowded, as is the immediately after dinner time.

    2) I made a list of all the equipment they had and looked up how to use it at my convenience at home. I also paid for an online personal trainer for a few months when I first started, and asked him a ton of questions. It was worth it in my experience. Although he answered my questions in e-mails a few hours later, instead of while I was standing at the weight or machine, he was also way less expensive than an in-person trainer, and thus he fit in my starving grad student budget.

    3) Yes, as stated above, free weights are in general better to use. Once you know what the heck you're doing. I'm actually a believer in using weight machines for a little while at the beginning, so you get a better idea of what the motion is supposed to feel like, and so you can safely experiment with a range of weights until you find out how much you can handle for a given exercise. In general, having to drop a weight stack on a machine is much less dangerous than having to drop a free weight because it's too heavy. It's annoying if someone is doing so at the end of every set, but if it's sporadic because the person's trying to figure out what weight to use, that's entirely different.

    4) When in doubt, ask. Ask the staff. Ask a trainer. Politely ask someone else who looks like (s)he knows what (s)he's doing. You can tell that by how fluid and controlled the motions are, not by how much weight is being used. If you wait until someone has finished a set and then ask "Excuse me, but I'm new, could you show me how to..." most people will do so gladly. We were all new once, so asking for help does not make you look like a fool. Doing something stupid and/or dangerous because you don't know any better and were too embarrassed to ask often does. Ask questions in the forums here, if that's what it takes.

    Good luck.
  • Puppy80

    Posts: 451

    Jul 10, 2008 11:45 PM GMT
    Well, I had my Evaluation with the Trainer today. It wasn't so bad, and I think I'm gonna get along with him. It was basically all about how I'm eating wrong and to help me get on the right track. I'm doing 2 days a week with him, starting Tuesday. I have to do a food log for 3 days and I found myself wanting to lie, embarrassed by the foods I do eat.

    We'll see how I fair after Tuesday. Thanks for all your great support guys.
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    Jul 11, 2008 12:25 AM GMT
    Hey Puppy, Don't give up. You can do it. You have found a great support system right here. I have found the guys on this site very helpful and very very supportive. Like me, You will be glad you found this site. Good Luck buddy!!
  • manpit209

    Posts: 213

    Jul 11, 2008 4:27 AM GMT
    Puppy80 saidWell, I had my Evaluation with the Trainer today. It wasn't so bad, and I think I'm gonna get along with him. It was basically all about how I'm eating wrong and to help me get on the right track. I'm doing 2 days a week with him, starting Tuesday. I have to do a food log for 3 days and I found myself wanting to lie, embarrassed by the foods I do eat.

    We'll see how I fair after Tuesday. Thanks for all your great support guys.


    Great that you have a great PT. That helps a lot. Be honest about the stuff you are eating. That way he can help you adjust and get on the right track. icon_smile.gif
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    Jul 11, 2008 4:33 AM GMT
    Definitely be honest about what you're eating. If you feel embarrassed about writing something down, don't eat it. That's the point of the log. I know the log helped me a ton. Even though I don't keep a daily log anymore, at first it made me realize just how bad I was eating. Now if I feel embarrassed about a food, even though I don't have to write it down, I don't eat it. The difference is amazing.
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    Jul 12, 2008 5:40 AM GMT
    I'm mostly self taught and don't always feel comfortable with what I'm doing. I'm just now getting a personal trainer after nearly 8 months of going regularly. Your starting out great and with a personal trainer to set you up your comfort level will increase.
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    Jul 19, 2008 3:19 PM GMT
    Its great that you are going back. I know the one training session I had was a help. New we need to keep you going. More then just on training days. Even if its for a short time. Once you get into it, it becomes easier.