Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

Ups and Downs at the Gym

5 Comments

Exercising LadyOn Saturday I signed up for a gym, one with a pool, and I was all set to Kick Some Butt and get into shape. That was Saturday. On Monday I had my orientation session with one of the personal trainers and I found out why the gym is so inexpensive: they really, really want you to sign up for pricey long-term packages with personal trainers to guide your progress.

I do understand how it would help to have someone work with me one or more times a week, setting a program and helping me with form and execution, and pushing er, encouraging me to do more than I think I can but doing it safely. The problem is that I can’t afford to do that when each session costs what the monthly gym membership costs.

So my orientation ended with me getting teary (coz I was mad and upset that he wasn’t listening to me) and him backing off. I promised that I wouldn’t abandon the gym because of the conversation and would make the most of the options, including the pool (once that dratted bathing suit arrives).

Yesterday I went to make good on that promise. I tried to use the recumbent bike but my cranky knee made that incredibly uncomfortable so I didn’t stay on it long, though in retrospect, I should have simply done the slow back and forth rotations from PT. There’s a thought for next time.

I moved on to the resistance machines because I know how to do them, how to adjust and the form and even what weight I used to do so I have a starting point. Except these shiny new machines were proportioned for taller people; on the leg extensions machine, I felt as though I was Goldilocks sitting in the Daddy chair with my legs dangling. When I tried to get into position, the bar ended up around my toes instead of my shins. Oops, that machine didn’t work.

I didn’t recognize a lot of the things I saw but was able to hop onto the abductor/adductor machines and do 130 lbs on those. And the leg press, until I could feel my knee popping. So then I tried this other one for my arms/back that ended up zinging That Spot in my back. It started aching last evening and I ended up with a bag of frozen peas on my knee and an ice pack on the back. It was like the emergency room, only with wireless and popcorn.

I’m rethinking what I’m going to do about working out. I love this gym because of the pool which will let me do water aerobics and pool walking, protecting my knee and back in the process. But I also like strength training and am afraid I won’t know how to do anything that won’t hurt me on the other equipment without paying big $$ for a trainer.

So I’m going to check out Curves to see what they have. Since it’s for women only, I’m guessing that the proportions will work more to scale with my body. I can afford to belong to both places and use them for different kinds of training, which might actually be a good thing and give me greater variety. It would still be cheaper than what I paid to belong to my Boston gym.

The good part is that I don’t feel like a loser because my body is hurting after only one session. I know my body and what sets it off and when to stop because muscle pain has given way to joint pain. Or that pesky back thing. I’ll do whatever it takes to increase flexibility and range of motion. Even joining two gyms.

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5 thoughts on “Ups and Downs at the Gym

  1. That’s the problem with gyms — they know we’re vulnerable and they think we’re easy money. I hate the hard sell. Glad you stood your ground.

    The machines at your current gym may be adjustable — they usually are — so that they can accomodate a wide range of body types. Can you sign up for just one orientation session to get help on how to use the machines without being forced into a big commitment?

  2. Every gym I’ve ever joined encourages members to ask for help when they have any problem, such as making adjustments on machines. My orientation sessions always included learning how to use machines, adjust for height, etc. Speak to a manager if you have to.

    Also, the best money I ever spent in a gym was for six personal training sessions. I did one a week for five weeks and then one more a month later to make sure my form was still good.

    Every trainer in the gym learned who I was and encouraged me every time I came in. I felt like a rock star. Oh, and I lost 50 pounds, too.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  3. I’d love the option to sign up for 6 personal training sessions at my gym, but they organize it differently – you have to “enroll” at $149 and then sign up for 6 or 12 months of 4-12 sessions a month at something ridiculous like $39-49 a SESSION. Egads.

    I’d sign up for something smaller in a heartbeat and did that in my previous gym. You’re right, though, that I should just ask for a more basic “how do I adjust the equipment?” type of orientation – and I’ll even pay for it if they get all weird. It would be worth it to make sure I don’t hurt myself just getting on!

  4. There are machines at my gym that I still don’t know how to adjust and some of the machines won’t be adjustable. (Are they Machines Who Must Not Be Adjusted?) I understand your frustration even though I’m tall. All of us have to adjust these infernal things for various body parts and it’s frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when someone is ignoring that and trying to sell you a package.

    If I could afford it, I’d join Curves in addition to my gym membership. It would be a nice addition to what I do and a different environment. So go for it! I’m so proud of you for standing your ground AND not throwing in the towel completely on the gym. In fact, you’re doing the opposite…you go, girl!

  5. If Curves had treadmills and or ellipticals – I would have been there forever. The machines are scaled for women and they have pillows that you can use if your legs are short for some of the machines. They have a new thing where you have a monitor that records what you do – your ranges – so you know how you are doing – I am not sure if the monitors are available at all the locations yet.

    I am currently gym LESS – for many of the reasons that you discussed.

    I can’t find the right set of things that I want. I visited one studio style gym on Thursday – that didn’t work. And I have another one to visit next week.

    I think half the battle is knowing what will work (for each individual) and I am finally to the point that I know what is helpful to me, what is a must have, what is a can’t have, etc.

    Curves has specials all the time for free/reduced enrollment fees and sign up specials. They ususally do a big campaign in the fall in support of their local food banks – many of these specials are set/annual events – ask the manager what is soon to be available.

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