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Help! When is the right time to join a gym?

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Old 10-18-2006, 08:40 AM   #1
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Default Help! When is the right time to join a gym?

Hi everyone! I have a question. When is the right time to join a gym? I'm sure for everyone it's different. Is there anyone who is or was as large as I am who has benifited from a gym? I'm currently 252 lbs, 5 feet 0 inches tall and about a month away from my 43rd birthday. I'm afraid if I start too soon and can't do anything that I will get discouraged. And what will be expected of me to do at this point? And are there people there to help me? I know if I don't start taking exercise seriously I'm never gonna get this weight off. I have terrible knees which makes things difficult. Any advice from people who have been or are in my situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:49 AM   #2
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One thing you might want to do is do a trial membership at a gym. Many gyms offer a free 2 week trial so that you can test it out and get the feel of it. I started using a gym when I was 364 and I really enjoyed it. Some gyms offer a free personal trainer session for you when you join up but if you really don't know what to do, then you might want to invest in personal training sessions.

Gyms have a variety of cardio equipment that you can do with little experience. There are treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and usually some other types of machines. There are also weight machines but if you are new to weights, I highly recommend reading up about them as well as hiring a personal trainer for at least a few sessions to show you how to use them properly and help you develop an initial workout.

Anyone of almost any weight can benefit from a gym but it may turn out that a gym is not for you. I personally love the gym but others don't like it.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:01 AM   #3
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If you don't have the discipline or resources to workout at home, then sooner rather than later is the time to join a gym.

No one really knows what to do at first, but it doesn't take long to figure it out. You need a good beginner's program with smooth progression. It would definitely be worth booking a personal trainer and reviewing your goals with him/her.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:51 AM   #4
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It can be so intimidating at first! But I have to say -- after quitting smoking, joining a gym was the best thing I ever did for myself.

Get online and check out the services offered at the gyms in your area and the membership rates. At the first gym I joined (3 1/2 years ago now) there were free monthly weight management meetings, so that was a good clue for me that I wouldn't be the only non-hardbody there! Do as much online investigation as you can. Make sure to look at locally owned places, not just the national chains.

Then visit! You're the consumer, you'll be spending hard-earned money, so you have every right to step inside and ask to be shown around. Ask if someone can help you get started, preferably someone who has experience with weight management. Ask everything you want to ask.

IMHO, there's no better time than now to put on your game face and get to the gym! Best of luck to you!
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:53 AM   #5
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Right now! The right time is always now!

No matter how big/small fit/unfit they can help you. Go and see how you like it, if you don't try another one until you find one that you like and that makes you feel at home!

You go gal!
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Old 10-18-2006, 10:07 AM   #6
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I highly recommend starting weight training earlier rather than later.

The first reason is that while losing the weight you need to build habits that will help you keep the weight off.

The second reason is that even if you caan't see a lot of muscle definition early on, it is there underneath. When you lose the weight you will be toned.

The third reason is that it is highly addictive!

Don't be afraid of the gym - everyone is a newbie at first! A personal trainer is a great idea if included with membership, use it! If you want to research some on your own, there are tons of web sites. See this link for the best stuff! I also recommend Jillian Michaels' book Winning By Losing - it has great eating advice as well as workout routines.

I never thought of myself as an athletic type...but I love the gym!
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Old 10-18-2006, 10:58 AM   #7
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fed up,

I'm two years older than you, and was about the same size as you when I started my weight loss plan. I had never liked exercise and had trepidations about joining a gym, just like you do.

I joined Curves because it was the least scary gym I could find around here. (There are about 9,000 of them in the US, so there is probably one somewhere near you.)

None of my previous weight loss efforts had included exercise, only diet. I can't believe what a difference regular exercising has made. I've been on my weight loss plan for 3.5 months, and I'm losing an average of 4 pounds a week. I'm not starving myself either.

Going to the gym was only hard for the first week. Now I really enjoy it, because I like how I feel after exercising and knowing how much faster it is making me lose the weight. (From the total measurement of bust, waist, tummy, hips, thighs, and upper arms, I lose an average of half an inch per workout.) The women there are really nice and supportive and it's a lot of fun too. And I feel better physically than I ever have in my life.

Working out may make you put on muscle and slow your weight loss initially, but having more muscle will help you burn fat faster in the long run. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and a pound of muscle burns 21 times more calories than a pound of fat, even if you are just sitting doing nothing. So the more muscle you put on, the faster your fat will be burning away. And you will be able to eat more and still keep losing. Just make sure you're eating healthy foods, because your body can't manufacture muscle if it's not getting the proper nutrients.
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:41 AM   #8
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Let me chime in with all the others who say NOW is the time to join a gym!

I was 46 years old and 257 pounds when I joined a gym for the first time in my life. It profoundly changed my life and is what made my weight loss and maintenance possible - you can click on the 'My Story' link in my signature if you want to read more.

My knees are terrible too, but a gym will have cardio equipment that works for us, like ellipticals and bikes. And strengthening the muscles that support the knee joint is the best thing you can do to preserve and protect bad knees.

Most gyms come with a session or two with a personal trainer to set up a workout routine. There are also some good resources listed in the 'stickys' in the Ladies Who Lift forum.

There's lots that someone of your size can do in a gym - in fact, the equipment is designed to fit large men, so it actually works pretty well for larger women (except for the whole height issue, but the seats on the machines are adjustable).

Fortunately, there aren't any expectations - the important thing is to move your body, elevate your heart rate, build a little muscle, and have fun. Go on and give it a try ... it might change your life too.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:32 PM   #9
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I agree with everyone else; there's no reason to wait to join a gym. If you can afford it, I also really recommend getting a personal trainer. Having a personal trainer has been the number one factor in my weight loss success. When I joined the gym a year ago, I was completely intimidated by it. I also loath exercise and this was my second try at joining a gym. The first time, I went for a few months and then stopped going. Now I've been going for over a year and I feel confident that I'll continue this practice. The difference was that this time I have a personal trainer.

Having those sessions three days a week was such a relief in the beginning. I didn't have motivate myself to go to the gym, I didn't have to figure out what exercises to do, I didn't have to know how to use the machines, and I didn't have to be responsible for my exercise (and there's enough else in my life that I am responsible for). I just had to show up and do what my trainer told me to do. And having the regular training sessions eventually motivated me to start controlling my diet and to start going into the gym on my own. I now workout every day, still three days a week with my trainer, three days of cardio on my own, and swimming on Saturdays.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:48 PM   #10
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I told you this in another thread but I will say it again, if you are completely intimidated by the gym and surroundings there, Curves is a great place to go. The one I have gone to has members of all shapes and sizes, ages, the manager, owner and others who work there are SO supportive! You can get a free week when you go in, so I would definately give it a try.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:31 PM   #11
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If you haven't already, start walking! It is a great, low impact way, to start exercising and start losing weight!
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:06 PM   #12
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I was nearly 40 and 250 pounds when I joined my first gym. I was too intimidated before that but am SO GLAD I did. I had already lost 45 pounds.

I started using their treadmills (we actually have one at home too) and then set up an appointment with a trainer to show us the weight equipment and help us learn how to use them. Hubby and I did that for 10 months -- mostly on our own.

I lost another 60 pounds that way, but we were getting bored by our routine and there weren't many trainers at our gym, so just last month we joined another gym with more access to trainers and other stuff. We are now working with a trainer and I am really, kind of liking it. I have NEVER liked exercise before. I REALLY like the results.

So, I think if you can, TRY IT! There are different types of gyms -- some more muscle-bound than others, and you can probably find one that fits your needs!

Just another quick plug for weight training: I was totally intimidated by it but started slow, got some help and read a lot. I think it has really helped me a LOT!! I am so much stronger than I used to be!!!
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:06 PM   #13
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I havent joined a gym. All my efforts have been home made, not swam or nothing - just ran and rode me bike. Not so good now that me running machine is broke tho :S
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Old 10-19-2006, 02:16 AM   #14
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Hi everyone and thanks so much for your input!! Your comments were really valuable to me and you all said such smart things.

Your responses were overwhelmingly pro gym. You made it seem so exciting as if I too can actually fall in love with working out - what a concept. I think I am very close to getting up the courage to actually getting myself over to a gym. I loved the idea of a personal trainer and was wondering just how expensive that would be - I shall definitely check that out. I don't know if any of you have ever heard of Lucille Roberts but I've got one of those near my home and I think I will give that a try. I won't get to it this week, but hopefully next week. I'll let you know. Thanks again.
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Old 10-23-2006, 02:32 PM   #15
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I think that it helps to ease into changes with a planned phased approach. For me, I have set a goal to go back to the gym after losing 10 pounds. I have worked out regularly at different phases in my life so I am not new to the gym... in fact I do even have a Y membership but haven't been there in months. During this interim period as I am restarting my weight loss efforts (middle of my 3rd week), I have focused on short 15 minute walks a few times a day with my dog. Heading towards 10 pounds my confidence is up and I will have made some great healthy changes. Once I hit 10 pounds (within the next couple weeks), then it will be back to the gym.

If you dread the idea of working out, my best approach is to set your first work out goal of showing up at the gym and sitting in the hot tub! Thats it! Just enjoy the hot tub. Next time set your goal for one walk around the track and then of course hit the hot tub. Really, take teeny tiny steps because it takes at least six weeks to create a new habit routine. You may want to check out the YMCA because they have a great personal fitness program for people who haven't been exercising in ages. The program offers a private work out area and personal trainer visits and there is no additional cost. Curves is another great option because it is all women and I know A LOT of women who love it. Unfortunately, no pool or hot tub which for me is critical hahahaaa! A lot of women starting exercise for the first time love aqua aerobics... if you like the water this is the best way to start into exercising imo. So easy on the joints and you will feel free and weightless in the water. The water provides weight resistance and it is just so fun! Yeah I know who wants to put on a swim suit, but these classes tend to be all women and who cares... just go fot it! After a few weeks your confidence will be up and you can try out other activities like classes and treadmill and weight lifting etc.

Good luck... whatever you do go for it... take your time... ease into it... enjoy yourself... you can do it!

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