A Week of Working Out
Last week, my dad and I got Planet Fitness memberships. I have never been a member of a gym before, unless you count the YMCA, but I never actually worked out at the YMCA, I mostly just accompanied my grandma to go swimming sometimes.
Anyways, we got our memberships, and today marks one full week of going and working out together! So I wanted to write up my impressions on the gym so far and my experience with working out for the past week. Not necessarily like a review of Planet Fitness specifically, but just how it feels to go to a gym and be in that sort of environment in general. Because it’s pretty unfamiliar territory for me, and I’m willing to bet it’s a daunting place for many of you, as well.
I knew upon getting my membership that I wanted a professional to make me a workout plan. I wasn’t about to go in there and pretend like I knew what I was doing on those machines, and I definitely wasn’t going to just go grab some dumbbells and go right for it. The good news for me is that having a membership means that you can talk to their trainer and consult with them about your goals and they’ll put together a regimen for you to follow.
The way I thought the consultation would go and the way it actually went were pretty different. I was expecting to express my goals to her, and then she would just tell me what machines I should be using or if I should be doing more cardio than weights, yada yada. But it ended up being more than that. After I told her my goals, both long term and short term, she started by creating a five day regimen for me and wrote everything down in a packet.
Day 1, upper body. Day 2 and 4, core + cardio. Day 3, lower body. Day 5, total body workout.
Each page of the packet is a different day, and then all the machines/exercises I’m supposed to do are listed alongside how many reps and sets to do. Then, she took me around to every machine and not only showed me how to use them correctly, but helped me figure out what weight I should be doing on all of them, and wrote that weight down in the packet alongside the reps and whatnot.
She was immensely helpful, and I had previously been worried that I wasn’t going to know how to use the machines she recommended, so I was pleasantly surprised when she showed me how to do every single one. It made me less afraid that I’d look like a fool doing my exercises. I’m sure we’ve all seen photos of, and probably laughed at, people using gym equipment wrong, and I did not want to be one of those people.
So, that took care of a large chunk of my anxiety regarding exercising in front of others. It’s still pretty difficult, and I know it’s a big reason why a lot of people don’t go to the gym. They feel like everyone is looking at them, or they don’t want others to see them sweat, get red in the face, breathe hard, etc. I know that’s how I feel, at least. But honestly, this past week has proved that what they say is true, no one is looking at you. I never once felt like anyone was looking at me funny, or judging me, or doing more than just barely glancing my direction because human eyes are naturally attracted towards movement. Everyone is honestly just focused on themselves and their workouts.
I say all this as a person that looks around a lot. I don’t know why I look around so much. When I’m walking on the treadmill, I just glance all over the room constantly, and this has led me to see that literally no one is looking at me. People don’t care about you as much as you think they do.
All in all this first week, I was definitely nervous to be in a gym environment and afraid of being judged and all that, but that’s really not the case and I feel a lot better now.
Aside from the anxiety, how does the first week feel physically?
The answer is: not amazing.
Getting started can be demoralizing. When you realize just how out of breath you get from running, or the fact that you can’t even do one push-up, it can make you want to never try again. I can’t hold a plank or a wall sit for longer than ten seconds, I do the lowest weight possible on the shoulder press machine, I feel my heartbeat in my ears when I run for all of two minutes. It makes me feel bad about myself, and about my limitations.
But I won’t get better unless I try. I have to try to do a push-up if I ever want to be able to actually do one. I have to try to hold a plank for as long as I can, and try to complete all three sets of triceps curl. I can’t just sit around and hope that one day I will magically be able to go up the stairs in my own house without dying, I have to work to make that true. And while it sucks, waiting for that magic day sucks more.
So here’s to many more weeks of crunches and planks, many more weeks of bicep curls and leg press, and many more weeks of trying.