I just wanted to get this out there. After two weeks at the gym, I’m starting to settle in and get comfortable. Here are my current impressions:
- I work harder at a gym. I don’t know if it is pride, excitement or what. I end up with shaky muscles at the end of every workout.
- I work less. See number one. Two days a week are plenty. After the first round of the smith machine, I couldn’t walk for two days. While it is building on what I started at home, my legs are starting to look like my arms.
- I’m still finding things out. It is hard to just go explore. There are always people there, and they are strangers, so I am a bit uncomfortable with just playing. I just found out, after seeing someone else use it, that there is a piece of equipment perfect for doing I’s,Y’s, T’s and W’s. I might even use some of the machines. Maybe.
- I have worked up the nerve to do some crazier stuff. There are foot pegs on some of the weight benches, just the right height for hooking my feet under to do hamstring curls.
- It is still strange to do things that would be embarrassing in other circumstances. I don’t make eye contact with people too often, and they ignore you too. Or if they do watch you, they are surreptitious about it, which is fine by me. You can laugh at me, as long as I don’t know it.
- I’m still in no-woman’s-land. While there are women at the weights, we are still outnumbered, something like 8 to 1.
- I don’t know how someone who is not exercise savvy would join this particular gym and get anything out of it if they didn’t get help from a trainer. Just having the equipment there, without direction, would be very daunting and uncomfortable.
So that’s the state of things now. I will keep updating this as I go.
So I finally broke down and joined a gym. I joined Planet Fitness, a big chain here, because it was cheap and convenient. I had little idea of what to expect, other than what I have heard others say. My first impressions were mixed, but mostly positive. The girl behind the desk, on the day I checked the place out, immediately made eye contact and asked me if she could help me. When I went back to sign up, the young man was equally helpful and friendly. I went back today to work out. It felt so strange. First, they made it clear I could move anything I wanted to, anywhere that I wanted to, which I did. I did somewhat of the same workout I would have done at home, using mostly dumbells, the swiss ball and the pull up contraption. I tried out the smith machine. They don’t have a squat rack per se. They do have a bar and weights. It’s hard to describe, as I have never seen equipment like this before. I think I could have just taken the bar off the thing they had it on, I don’t think it was a machine, more of a rack? rest? Maybe for bench pressing. There were a lot of guys over there, and I felt intimidated. I did my clean and presses and my deadlifts with the dumbells. Ouch, talk about having to stabalize yourself! Everything felt so strange, having other people there. I got a REALLY good workout in, in my excitement to try things, I definitely overdid it a bit. My one shoulder is sore, I did some t pushups with weights I wasn’t used to and over balanced on one. As you can tell from the way I’m writing, my feelings and thoughts about it are all over the place. I’ll let you know more when I get more used to it.
I was officially challenged by both the Fitjerk and Lou Schuler to lift heavier. While it is easy to blow off the Fitjerk, (how could you not want to with a handle like that?) Lou wrote the book(s) on lifting. So applied my little brain to getting around some of the physical and logistical problems I have had with getting to heavier weights. The logistical problems are (were?) my equipment. The physical is my wrists and my fear of hurting something that would take me out of the game. Since mid-winter, my right wrist has been bothering me when I bend my hand back. I think I did something to it learning to cross country ski.
I originally started doing front squats, realized that was a non-starter, and switched to back ones. I had been snuggling up under the bar from behind, but that was bending my wrists as I replaced the weight. Now I come under from the front. My only fear with that is if I over balance, the weight will roll forward onto my head. I do take some of the weight off to do cleans, my upper body just isn’t there yet. I’m pretty stoked, I went from 58 to 72 lbs already. I know, I should be lifting more weight with my lower body, but I am trying to get my upper body, especially my wrists, up to speed. I need to be able to manhandle these weights around to some extent, so I can’t be doing lower body lifts that my upper body can’t handle.
Here is my pullup bar with straps for doing hanging leg raises and a little help with those wicked wipers.
The bad news is my weight set, while stating on the box it is a “hundred pound set”, is not. I have (4)10, (6)5 and (4)2.5. The bar weighs 12 lbs. Now, I’m no math wiz, but I get 92 every time I add that up. Depending on how dedicated I am this summer, that might last me till August at the rate I am increasing at now. I’ve already made up my mind that I will join a gym this fall. I have been lusting after a squat rack anyway, and the very kind emails that Lou has sent me have made me realize how much better it would be to have some kind of training program.
Just to put it in writing, my current goals are:
1. To do a handstand pushup-no feet on the wall
2. To bench press my own weight
3. To do 20 swiss ball pushups with my feet up on the higher part of my Bowflex – so my feet are slightly higher than my body.
4. I just added this one after seeing Charlotte’s blog- the scorpion yoga pose.
It will be slightly harder to achieve these now that warm weather is here, bringing back all my other activities that were put on hold for the winter. I have every confidence that I will need to write a new list by next fall.