What happened when I joined a gym - Now with pictures

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 09, 2015 9:55 PM GMT
    The 7 day pass:

    Some flyers were left at my work advertising a ‘7 day pass’ at my local gym. I’ve seen hundreds of these before, but for some reason I decided to act on this one.

    The next day I went into the gym and boked an appointment for a gym induction. I’ve never been to a gym before so this was all brand new to me. I decided to make that clear to the trainer who was taking my details, just in case he hadn’t noticed my size.

    Surprisingly to me, he didn’t even raise an eyebrow. He simply asked what my motivation was for joining now. Upper body. I want to work my upper body, I told him.

    He scheduled me in a few days later for my induction.


    Induction day:

    I was nervous to go in. In the few days before my induction I bought a plain black T-shirt and a 1 Litre water bottle in the hope of blending in when I arrived.

    When I got there I had to wait at reception to be collected by one of the staff members who could walk me in. I wasn’t as embarrassed as I expected to be. My eyes scanned the room and the equipment in case I was abandoned and left to get on with things.

    I had arrived wearing my gym gear to make things a little less stressful, which proved handy because we went straight to the upper body equipment.

    Anything yellow moves” he said.

    He showed me how the seats can be adjusted with yellow pulls, and the basics of the equipment. He also told me that the equipment along the wall was all for upper body, and once I mastered that I could have a look upstairs.

    That was it, he left and I just got on with it. Perhaps my adrenaline made it a bit easier to lift the weights, but I didn’t care as long as I looked busy to anyone watching.

    I lasted 20 minutes then left.


    A few days in:

    I’m getting used to things a bit more now. But I’m using the same equipment each time that I’m in. Lifting a little more than day 1, but the same equipment non-the-less.

    While sitting I scan the room to check out my gym buddies. I’m pretty surprised to see an old lady and a man on crutches. There is a glass staircase in the middle of the room, and on 2 of my 3 days here I have watched this man struggle up and down the stairs while wedging his crutches at the furthest left and right point of each step. I’m watching him, wondering if he needs help. I obviously don’t ask him, it doesn’t seem like correct gym etiquette. Anyway, he’s going upstairs and I daren’t go up there.

    The last 7 days have flown by… I’m going to join!


    Committing to 6 months:

    I’ve decided to commit to 6 months. That should be enough time to establish if this is right for me or not. For some reason I need a secondary induction before I can fully join, so I book it in and come back on the day.

    This time I’m greeted by a female member of staff. She was friendly and easy to talk to. I filled out some forms, and told her that I did the same things every time I was in, and now I want to see what’s upstairs.

    She walked me up and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The machinery looked pretty intimidating though compared to downstairs, but other than that there were cross trainers, free weights and lots of running machines.

    She told me, the upper body equipment upstairs is better than downstairs. The equipment is pretty similar, but upstairs doesn’t work in straight up and down motions, it tend to have swooping motions and more angles to work from.

    I tried each one with some weights added to make sure I knew what I was doing. She left me to it, and I felt confident. I stayed about 20 minutes and left.

    What next?

    I’m still new to this, I’m only on week number 2 but I want to succeed in this!

    I would love some tips and pointers on what I might be doing right and wrong. What should I be eating, am I developing at a good rate?

    I’m going to post a picture of my body on day 1, and also post pictures of everything that I ate/drank that day. No excuses, everything is documented.

    Nobody knows I’ve joined a gym, it’s my secret.

    Please spur me on guys!

    !... I want to add pics but have no where to host...!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 10, 2015 1:26 AM GMT
    This is about the time where you lose interest and stop at the nearest Krispy Kreme donut shop!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 10, 2015 2:30 AM GMT
    Good for you!
    Keep going. You'll need to start doing more than 20 min to see any real progress.
    Focus on yourself and YOUR progress. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Your genes, diet and history are all different from theirs.
    I would suggest seeing if your gym has a personal trainer who can help you design a lifting program.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 10, 2015 7:58 AM GMT
    Congrats to joining a gym or committing to an exercise program! icon_biggrin.gif
  • blueandgold

    Posts: 396

    Apr 10, 2015 6:18 PM GMT
    Congrats man. I had serious gym phobia when I started as well, for reasons that now look ridiculous in retrospect.

    Keep it up!
  • Trevor_B

    Posts: 35

    Apr 10, 2015 11:23 PM GMT
    Way to go! The farther you go the easier it gets to keep going :-)

    The easiest way for me to keep going was to find a scheduled exercise program and then stick with it. I started with a basic general full body workout program on this website (http://www.realjock.com/workout/1057) and was pleased with the results. A lot of the instruction videos are being revamped, but if you youtube the exercises you can still find quality instructions that show you exactly how to do the exercises.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 11, 2015 10:16 AM GMT
    Congrats for taking steps toward getting healthier and stronger.

    Try not to compare yourself to others you see at the gym and take satisfaction in the progress you make.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 11, 2015 3:13 PM GMT
    I predict that Tom8521 will look like blueandgold within 2 years.
  • esseffnative

    Posts: 1

    Apr 11, 2015 8:58 PM GMT
    Congratulations on your commitment! My suggestion is to forget about the other people there, don't be intimidated, because we're all trying to get healthy, get fit, etc. No one knows your story but you, so don't be intimidated.

    Someone else posted to get a trainer, which is a great idea! I've had two and after explaining what I was going for, they took interest in my success and created a program for me. I also picked up an old book called Body For Life. It has a rigorous plan, but the exercises are simply laid out. I use this as my guide for both food and exercise.

    Good luck and looking forward to reading more about your journey!
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    Apr 12, 2015 6:42 PM GMT
    It's been a few more days since posting my original message.

    I'm still gym keen and my diet has been ace, until yesterday. It was the weekend and I drank 3 glasses of wine and ate a calzone pizza and had garlic bread too... I still had my water intake for the day and my fruit etc.

    I guess I'm allowed a day off though.

    Is there a way I can add progress pictures into this forum?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 13, 2015 1:16 AM GMT
    If your looking to build your physique I would look into a lifting routine based around getting stronger. Since you are new to the gym and I doubt you have much muscle mass/ strength I would look into something that utilizes the bench press, squat, and deadlift possibly even the overhead press as your main exercises. If you are progressively getting stronger your body is gonna have no choice but to put on muscle. Also your going to need to learn what a caloric surplus and macro nutrients are if you want to build muscle. I don't feel like writing it all out because you probably wont go through with it but basically you need to eat more calories than your body needs in order to gain weight (muscle) and the macros are the ratio of proteins, fats, and carbs you eat. Your probably just going to go there use the machines and "eat heatlthy" so not sure why I even wrote this all out but best of luck.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 13, 2015 4:46 AM GMT
    We all felt intimidated that first day. We know exactly what you're going through.

    I'm curious what this gym looks like: The "upstairs" with the equipment that have "swooping motions and more angles to work from" and the "downstairs" that's less intimidating and where the equipment "work in straight up and down motions". Can you take some snapshots with your phone?

    My guess is that the free weight area (free weights, dumbbells, benches, plate loaded machines, and cables) is upstairs, whereas the selectorized machines are downstairs. All gyms do this: They put the free weight area either in the back or upstairs or arrange it somewhere cleverly so that the cardio-only crowd never has to cross the "intimidating" free weight area to get to from point A to point B. Every gym is like this. I've seen a few gyms where you may have to briefly pass alongside the free weight area to get somewhere, but never through it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 13, 2015 12:44 PM GMT
    Tom8521 saidIt's been a few more days since posting my original message.

    I'm still gym keen and my diet has been ace, until yesterday. It was the weekend and I drank 3 glasses of wine and ate a calzone pizza and had garlic bread too... I still had my water intake for the day and my fruit etc.

    I guess I'm allowed a day off though.

    Is there a way I can add progress pictures into this forum?
    It's perfectly ok to have some "fun food" every once in a while. I do it usually once a day (cheese is the hardest thing to give up).

    You can add pics to your profile. Then once the pic is approved, click on it and copy the image URL to the forum...like this.

    5c1f43797fc722871d7bbd2fc86c2f80.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 15, 2015 12:12 AM GMT
    I'll take the guy above me. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 15, 2015 2:45 PM GMT
    Tom8521 saidOK, so I will soon be posting the pic of me from day 1. To be honest, I can already see some subtle differences... But maybe that's my imagination. (I get carried away with the imediate after gym, pumped up look)

    Today I used the free weights

    I've looked at them from a distance for long enough now, so I decided to do my normal gym stuff, then ventured over to the free weights bit.

    I had secretly been watching a guy use a cushioned and tilted bench to focus the movement directly on his biceps. When he left, I went over.

    The barbell that was there when I went over didn't have a straight bar to hold. Instead it had 'V' shapes along it which confused me. I don't know how I am suppose to hold that type of bar.

    Instead I decided to pull a perfectly straight horizontal bar over to that cusioned lifting bench for a try. It was trickier than I thought and I had already done my usual workout routine, so felt a bit weak.

    Before the next time I go, I will know what that V in the barbell is for, and I will start my session with the free weights.

    Yes I will... YES I WILL!

    Oh, I'm also thinking about protein powders. Should I buy some? Do they help develop bigger muscles? What do those drinks actually do?

    If I can make a suggestion, next time instead of secretly watching somebody, go up and introduce yourself and tell them you're new to working out and ask if it's ok to watch them for a minute to see what they're doing. They'll probably be glad to help you out and give you a few pointers. Just rotate who you ask so you're not monopolizing any one person's time.
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    Apr 15, 2015 3:28 PM GMT
    I always wonder where gym phobia comes from since I hear a lot about it on here and it seems to be a major marketing focus at my gym .

    I was forced into body building /competitive sports by the culture that I grew up in. Is it an white, privileged, upper class, private school, no father at home ,female dominated culture that produces a fear of the gym?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 15, 2015 10:37 PM GMT
    Not bad "before" pictures at all.

    Undies like that cry out for a gym built bod. Make it happen!
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 16, 2015 5:26 AM GMT
    Tom8521 said

    Oh, I'm also thinking about protein powders. Should I buy some? Do they help develop bigger muscles? What do those drinks actually do?


    I chuckle when people ask me "do those protein powders work". They're not supposed to "work". They're not magic medicine. They're food. It's powdered protein, derived from milk and/or soybeans. Instead of cooking a steak, you just mix the powder with some water or milk, and presto. You've just made yourself a protein meal in less than 1 minute. The benefit of protein powders is their convenience and practicality. Because you need to eat a lot to grow, like a meal every 2-3 hours (5-8 meals a day)...but it's impractical to cook that many meals a day. So, aside from breakfast, lunch, dinner, the meals you actually chew, you can also do some protein shakes in between.

    You most benefit from taking one right after lifting. And take it with some sort of fast-digesting carb. You can buy those "mass gainer" prowders which already include the carbs in them. Or you can buy low-carb/no-carb whey protein, and mix it with some chocolate milk and water (enough chocolate milk to get maybe 20-30g of sugar), or just regular milk and water, but have a some cookies with it. Do this immediately after lifting. Your muscles need to start the recovery process right away, so they need the immediate protein and the immediate carbs (this is one of the very few times I recommend having the fast digesting "bad carbs", like sugar, sweets, white bread, etc).

    I take two kinds of protein, whey and casein. Whey, I only take immediately before and after lifting. Casein I'll take as a shake right before bed, and any other time I won't be eating for a while, but still need to get protein in my system. The difference is that casein digests more slowly, so is more appropriate when chronologically far from your workout. Plus, it's cheaper than whey, because only serious lifters buy it. (So, not relying entirely on whey as your source of protein powder will save you money). Because the mainstream crowd hasn't yet caught on to it, casein is only available at supplements stores like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe. You won't find it in "health food" aisle at your local supermarket (you'll only find whey there).

    For whey, I pay attention to the cholesterol content. Look at the nutrition label on the back. My bad cholesterol skyrocketed a couple years ago when I didn't pay attention to it. I pay a little extra for whey isolate, which is low on cholesterol when you look at the back. My cholesterol went back down. It could just be a coincidence, but I pay attention to it.

    As for brands...you'll develop your own preference for whey & casein brands depending on their taste, if they mix well with water (some caseins become very thick), and of course, price. I buy Vitamin Shoppe's store brand for both whey and casein, which is great. But sometimes another brand will be on sale for cheaper.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 16, 2015 5:33 AM GMT
    Alpha13 saidI always wonder where gym phobia comes from since I hear a lot about it on here and it seems to be a major marketing focus at my gym .

    I was forced into body building /competitive sports by the culture that I grew up in. Is it an white, privileged, upper class, private school, no father at home ,female dominated culture that produces a fear of the gym?


    No father and female dominated don't normally go hand-in-hand with priveleged/upper class. The absence of a prime adult male usually means poverty for the family.

    That said, it seems to me too that bodybuilding tends to have more of an appeal to guys of a blue-collar background. But that doesn't mean that all guys of blue-collar background go into it; most don't. But I'd agree that it appeals even less to those of a privileged background, but I have no scientific proof of this. I think it's also regional, and also a bit of an urban-rural divide, whereas guys from urban (including suburban) background are more likely to get into it, than rural guys. So generally, guys from urban/suburban environments and blue-collar background, with some regional variation, and I don't think ethnicity is a factor. Speaking of regional variation, if we go internationally, it's more common in the USA and Canada than in other countries

    Being a newbie in the weight room is intimidating no matter what your background, especially if none of your friends or male relatives are into it (and you have no one to show you the ropes).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 16, 2015 8:04 AM GMT
    @Tom8521, re your pics, you'd be offered a modeling contract here in my part of the globe as that is the cultural standard for beauty! icon_biggrin.gif





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    Apr 17, 2015 11:48 AM GMT
    Keep the good work going, dedication is the most important things, changement wont happen i a day icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2015 2:26 AM GMT
    Remember though, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't be too surprised if it take a full six months before you really see much.

    Hell, I've worked out for 45 years and it hasn't done shit for me. But it does clear my head and gives me a nice endorphin buzz that lasts for hours.

    Just make it part of your daily or four times a week routine .... just like eating and talking a shit. Get far enough that you feel guilty if you miss and you'll be off to a lifetime of staying fit.


  • Apr 28, 2015 6:15 AM GMT
    You are noticeably more defined. Yay! Keep it up.
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    Apr 28, 2015 4:46 PM GMT
    You're doing great, OP. Keep it up!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2015 12:17 AM GMT
    freedomisntfree said...
    Just make it part of your daily or four times a week routine .... just like eating and talking a shit.
    ...
    You only take a shit four times a week? icon_eek.gif