Exercise! - Nervous about joining gym

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07-23-2004, 03:01 AM
My husband and I are thinking seriously about joining a gym. They have a family discount for teachers, and it looks too good to pass up.

But I'm very nervous about what to expect. I've never joined a gym before. Will there be someone there to help me get started? I have no idea how to lift weights the right way. The thought of looking stupid in front of people who workout all the time makes me want to quit before I even start. My husband won't be of much help. He doesn't mind looking clueless. He'll just do what he wants to do and leave me in the dust. I know him.

My kids will get daycare there. That's a plus for me. Please tell me it won't be so bad!



07-23-2004, 09:25 AM
Just Do It! If they have day care and a discount for teachers, then it most likely isn't a 'body shop' with show offs but instead the members are probably just like you and me. They will definitely give you an orientation to all of the equipment and most gyms even have a program where they will set up a plan for you to follow. The plan will include weights and cardio.

As far as the people who work out all the time - our experience is that typically those folks are the high school athletic team kids (and you CAN'T beat THEM for self-conscious!) and older folks - like over 60+. The older folks are serious work out people and are just focusing on what they are doing. Except the occasional 80 year old social butterfly.

Go visit the gym at the time that you normally would go to see how busy it is and if there is enough equipment. My dearest Hubster and I go to the gym 'together' but we each do our own thing. In fact, we're leaving for the gym in just a few minutes.

A lot of people join a gym thinking they will go three or four times a week. When they don't, they get discouraged and quit. I'd recommend not setting such high expectations. Instead, I'd recommend planning on one day a week for sure, put it on your calendar, to go. Your children will help you remember to go if you let them expect that is the routine.

Saturday. 9:00 AM Gym

Have a wonderful time! See you in the hot tub, relaxing those muscles!

Sweater Girl
07-23-2004, 09:52 AM
Heidi: A lot of gym either have offer one free personal training session or a discount to get started. I strongly recommend if you have never done weights before to go and see a personal trainer.

Don't worry, most gym rats just concentrate on what they're doing and don't pay much attention to what else is going on, so don't worry about people staring, in fact most people think it's neat that other people are working out too. I have dropped weights before (accidentally) and once my walkman fell off and parts scattered accross the room, but believe it or not, my pride remained intact. Things happen (I am a clutz).

Take care and I highly recommend joining!


07-23-2004, 11:56 AM
I can't speak for all gyms, but my gym offers free instruction on the machines to help you get started. Here's some other ideas for how to learn the ropes:

1. get a personal trainer
2. watch other people using the machines
3. read the informationals (usually with pictures) that are on most weight machines
4. join a class--a strength training class will teach you how to have correct form when using free weights
5. read fitness magazines: they almost always have pictures and information on exercises

Also, don't worry about other people looking/judging at you at the gym! Some of my friends have the same reaction whenever they work out. Most of the people there are going to be engrossed in their own progress, in the music they're listening to, the tv show they're watching, etc. Plus not everyone you see at the gym looks like a Greek Goddess. There are people of all sizes, shapes, heights, ages, and disorders/disabilities.

Don't sweat the small stuff! You're going to a gym to get healthy, not to impress fellow gym-goers. And chances are, they are feeling the same way you are.

07-23-2004, 12:22 PM
You might want to check out some websites that show you proper form on doing weight lifting exercises as well as getting at least 1 session with a personal trainer. If you don't remember exactly what the personal trainer told you, then you can check the various websites and refresh your memory. Also, at my gym, I've noticed people going up to the personal trainers when they aren't busy and asking them questions and the personal trainers seem happy to help. The website I use to check on different exercises is http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html which has been very useful to me. Also, a lot of gyms put up an information page on the machine showing what muscles it works and how to use the machine. I wouldn't stress about that part too much.

I highly recommend going to the gym because it mentally prepares your mind and says "I am here to workout" and that is what you do. Don't worry about people staring or judging you, you are there to workout just as they are. Also, the other day, I accidentally squirted some water from my water bottle and it shot out to the side and wet the floor. I felt kind of embarrassed and there was this guy in front of me who saw it and all he did was smile at me, so I didn't feel that bad about doing it.

07-23-2004, 12:28 PM
I would also strongly encourage you to do it. I am significantly overweight and joined the gym about 3 months ago, and it's one of the best things I've ever done! I was soooo nervous the first day, but I realized very quickly that people there couldn't care less about me. I think most people feel a little vulnerable doing physical things in front of others, so everyone is polite but somewhat distant (which was what I wanted -- although I should add that I also live in Manhattan, so this may be partly a New Yorker thing! ;)).

I also find that, for me, it's a lot easier to go to the gym than it was to get my butt out there and say, power walk. For some reason, the <i>structure</i> of going to the gym was just the thing I needed. I feel like "exercise happens here," and I actually LOOK FORWARD to going now, which is something I thought I'd never say (and I actually go at least 6x a week)! Just make sure the gym is convenient to get to (and that you feel comfortable whichever one you choose), or you'll be setting up obstacles to success before you even start.

My gym offered a free orientation session once you sign up, which I would highly recommend taking. Be aware that if your gym offers this, the trainer will probably attempt to sell you trainer sessions. Just be firm and explain that you're interested in just a simple orientation, and it will go fine.

As far as weight machines go, contrary to my own fears, they really are not difficult to figure out. Most have an illustration of how to use them. Just lift a weight that feels comfortable for you at first -- something that will challenge but not hurt you. You should aim for two or three sets of about 8-12 reps on machines.

If you need any more info from a relative newbie, feel free to PM or email me!


07-24-2004, 12:28 AM
Thanks everyone!

I went tonight! Hubby and I took a tour and signed up! I get 4 free personal trainer sessions, so I signed up for my first one on Monday. NOW I'm hyped!

Took dd to the indoor pool. She loved it! She's 7, and can't swim, so I thought this would be the perfect way to teach her. She just asked if we can go back tomorrow! The daycare looks great. The kids will have a blast. I get it all for a teacher discount, family of 4 for $63 a month. Is this a good price?

Thanks again!

07-24-2004, 03:53 AM
That's an amazing price, in my opinion! My hubby and I together pay about $100 a month. We live in NYC, so it's definitely more expensive here, but anything under $100 for a full family still seems like a deal.

Congrats! Keep us posted with how it goes!

07-26-2004, 11:52 AM
Yes, that is an amazing price! I pay $70 a month for just MYSELF to go to my gym (Boston Sports Club). And that's with a student discount!! It's a premium gym, plus in Boston the cost of living is higher than in many other parts of the country. But still...