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About to head to the gym for the first time!

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Old 12-08-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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Default About to head to the gym for the first time!

Hi everyone,

I've been in and out of these forums all year- I lost 40lbs in the first six months or so, and then got busy at work and stopped exercising and stopped eating healthy and lo and behold, I've put half of that back on (and I'm too ashamed with myself to face changing my profile/ticker right now). I'm so angry at myself- what a terrible excuse to let myself get this way. Some of the health problems that had disappeared after the 40lb loss have returned (like my middle of the night GERD).

I'm angry and I'm ashamed. And so I decided to join a gym. All of the excuses I have for not going, I'm brushing aside. These were mainly not having enough time (but I have plenty of time to sit and watch the TV all evening, so not a valid excuse!) and money (I calculated how much I spent on fast food, on top of regular grocery bills, and was horrified and ashamed- it more than covers both the gym membership and semi-regular personal trainer sessions).

I thought I'd wait until the New Year- make it a resolution. But then I thought, what am I waiting for? Why put this off? So I found a local gym I like the look of, which seems friendly and has a good selection of classes, and I emailed them this weekend. They said to pop in whenever for a free trial pass, and so I'm going this morning, before I chicken out. I'm at the start of a 5 week break from work, so why not spend a bit of each day at the gym?

I am beyond terrified. I've convinced myself they're going to laugh at me. I worry they'll know how much I weigh just by looking at me. I worry I'll be too heavy for their machines and I'll break something. I worry that I'll do five minutes on a treadmill and collapse and have to be stretchered out. But I'm going to go anyway. And I figured posting here holds me accountable. I'll update with how it all went when I return, in case anyone else is in the same boat as me and holding off going because of fear.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
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Good luck Ferris! Let us know how it went. I am proud of you for stopping yourself before you had a total regain. The best thing you accomplished was gathering the courage to be accountable here and face your fears at the gym!
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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FerrisW - So very VERY proud of you. THat's the grit it takes to get through your own mental stumbling blocks. We have people of all sizes at our gym, and my husband and I travel alot, and we go to YMCAs around the country. Trust me - you will have company with people truly struggling with their weight. And, my experience has been that once some folks see you are showing up regularly, they will be your biggest cheerleaders, regardless of whether they are heavy or thin, male or female. There is a rapport that develops among those who show up at the same approximate times. You will not be judged. (If you find a jerk - just ignore them.) We live in a culture that makes it far too easy to put on weight, and some of the skinny folks there may not have started that way. I hope you can rest your mind on this, and find a routine that challenges you, but also makes you feel really good when you've finished it!
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:44 PM   #4
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Hi guys- thanks so much for your support! I went, I survived- and I had fun!

For anyone in the same position I was, I'm going to describe my experience. It definitely wasn't as scary as I built it up to be in my mind!

I drove down, and had trouble finding somewhere to park- I almost took that as a sign and went home. But I found somewhere, and walked down. I took a deep breath before going in, and the owner was at the desk. I explained I'd contacted them about a trial, and she gave me a one week pass. I also explained it was my first time at a gym, and she filled me in on the fitness classes. She pointed out the 'easier' ones, and said she wouldn't recommend me taking some of the classes, as they were quite intense.

I immediately felt embarrassed- in my head, she was saying that I was too fat to do these classes, that I wasn't welcome. And then she explained that I don't want to push myself too hard to start with, otherwise I'll injure myself, and won't want to come back. And she was right! The embarrassment disappeared, until she took me into the main gym itself.

This place is quite small, I think- two group fitness rooms, a large weight machine and free weight area, a handful each of treadmills, ellipticals, cycles and rowing machines. She took me to the treadmill first, and got me going on it, then put me on the elliptical for a couple of minutes so I could use that. I've never been on an elliptical before, and felt really stupid when she was explaining where to put my feet and what to do. She said to come and get her if I needed anymore help, and left me to it.

Well. I lasted 5 minutes on the elliptical- I injured my calf muscle a few years back, and it got very, very tight on the machine, so I decided to get off after 5 minutes. Next I did 10 minutes on the treadmill, just some fast walking until my feet started to hurt a little. While I was walking, I could look around the gym a bit- there were a couple of people who definitely weren't thin, a couple of older people, and a few obvious fitness nuts. There was a guy on a weight machine who grunted a lot which made me smile inwardly. I knew I wouldn't make it more than 10 mins on the treadmill, and felt a bit self conscious, until I realised that most people were only spending 10-15 minutes on each machine (the time limit is 20min per machine), so I didn't feel as bad.

Next I used the bike- I hate stationary bikes, as I find them quite uncomfortable, but seeing the distance numbers tick over pushed me on. I ended up on there for 15 minutes, and did about 6kms. Which isn't amazing, but I was proud of myself. So, 30 minutes all up. A couple of minutes into my time on the treadmill, a spin class finished, and the room got a bit busier with people cooling down, and I felt very self conscious- but then I realised that the only person who was really paying attention to others was myself!

I left, after half an hour, feeling energised and awake and uplifted. I had fun! I can't wait to go back- there's a yogalates class tomorrow morning I think I'll go to, and then if I'm not too tired from that, I'll try and do the same on the machines as I did today.

I feel silly now, for putting it off for so long- if I'd done this back when the scale started creeping back up, I wouldn't be in this position of trying to lose those 20lbs all over again. But I'm going to try and go for at least half an hour every week day, other than the bank holidays. I'm definitely getting a membership once this trial is over.

If, like me, you're on the fence and worried about going- go! You won't regret it. I definitely don't!
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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Good job!!! That feeling afterwards gets addictive!
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:30 PM   #6
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Congrats on enjoying your first time at the gym! I get how intimidating it can be. I was well over 300 lbs the first time I stepped into a gym and I had all of the same feelings as you. But someone told me something that changed my mind: I'm the type of person that should be going to the gym. The gym isn't made just for fit or thin people. Plus, most of those people weren't always fit. They got that way by GOING to the gym. I also noticed that most people are too focused on their own workouts to notice other people anyway. Now I'm in the gym at least three or four times weeks and have had my membership for years. Keep at it-you will continue to love it!
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:12 PM   #7
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I hope no one minds if I keep updating this thread with my 'First Week At The Gym' experiences (and please, do share yours too!).

Today I went to a yogalates class, and I was once again really nervous. I also experienced the 'sneer of judgement' by another gym goer- who, incidentally, was also new to the class. She, and a friend who seemed to be a regular, looked everyone who entered up and down, making faces and whispering to each other. The class consisted of 4 older people, three incredibly fit women, a few normal sized people and me. I was the biggest in the room. When I walked in, one of the women (who were on the upper end of a 'normal' size themselves, looked out her friend, puffed out her cheeks to make them look fatter, and nodded in my direction.

Once upon a time, I would have gotten up and left after that. But today I just gave her a look which I hope said 'you're pathetic' and ignored her. They also did similar mimicking of most of the other people, who also ignored them. It was very bizarre- these were grown women. How sad for them, you know? They stopped when the instructor came in, so it was like being back at school with the naughty kids misbehaving until the teacher shows up.

It motivated me to do my best- I didn't even freak out that I could see myself in the mirror (you could only do that from certain points in the room, and I'd chosen a bad spot, I guess), and then I did another 30 minute workout on the cardio machines. I'm actually really glad that my first encounter with a rude gym person was today- because it's definitely not going to scare me off going back.

pnkrckpixikat- it really is kinda addictive! I thought I'd wake up today dreading going, but instead I was quite excited, if a bit nervous.

NYFLAgirl- you're so right! I'm going to keep that in mind whenever my resolve starts to waver!
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