1st day at the gym (now with finished article on pg. 2)

Discussion in 'Fitness Health and Exercise' started by Pink!, 28 February 2011 Social URL.

  1. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    Heya,
    I hope no one finds this too irritating.

    Basically I'm at university taking English and Creative writing, and for my Journalism module this term we're doing feature writing. I've chosen to write an article about my joining the gym as an overweight person, how it felt, and what the experience was like.

    I need to include some form of interview or some quotes from people I've spoken to, and who better to ask than those who supported me through my own insecrities of gyming-up?!

    So, I was wondering if you could sum up your first gym experience for me in a couple of sentences.

    Were you intimidated or excited? Did you fear that everyone would be looking at you? Did you find that people were kind or cruel?

    What advice would you offer an overweight person considering joining a gym?

    Thank you!
     
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  3. MaisieMoodle

    MaisieMoodle Full Member

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    I'm not a member of a gym at the moment but on one of my previous weight loss episodes I was a member of Esporta.

    I found the whole experience very positive. The staff were kind and helpful (possibly because they were after my cash but hey ho!) and I genuinely loved going. I was pretty big when I was going but I never felt intimidated or embaressed, I felt proud that I was doing something about it. To anyone overweight who's considering it I'd say just do it :D No-one will be looking at you or thinking you shouldn't be there; people are too concerned in themselves and their own workouts...... everyone is there for the same reason at the end of the day - to lose weigh and/or get fitter :)

    HTH :)
     
  4. sugar_lipswales

    sugar_lipswales Silver Member

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    I had all the usual fears about going to the gym for the first time, I thought everyone would stare at me and the gym bunnies would make me feel like I shouldn't be there. But at the end of my induction I came away with a different attitude, I may be big but at least I'm in there doing something about it rather than sitting on my backside getting bigger! The staff really helped me with my exercise programmes and were very encouraging. I'd tell anyone thinking about joining a gym to go for it, it's nowhere near as scary as it sounds and the rewards are so worth it!
     
  5. Hannahkw1

    Hannahkw1 Silver Member

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    The first few times I went with my friend and it was fine, really excited and enjoyed it (probs because we were talking more than working out). The first time I went on my own I was petrified!! Came close to not going in at all, all sorts of things went through my mind like maybe I should just go out for a run or do an exercise dvd. I worried about whether I was wearing the right thing! About how unfit I was, about what I was going to do etc. My first time was me glued to the crosstrainer for an hour, completely dying! I thought that people would be laughing at me, thinking I didn't belong in a gym. To be honest what I found was that people just left you to it. No one cared if you were there or not, let alone what workout you were doing or what you were wearing!

    I've got to say that since I joined my new gym, I have completely changed my workouts over the past year! I went from literally using the crosstrainer for 1 hour 3-5 days a week, to a really varied workout including weights and all the different machines! My new gym is very friendly, quite small and everyone says morning and hello! It's a lot more personal, which at the beginning was quite intimidating, as I just wanted to get in and out without people talking to me (like at the last gym), but I've definately got used to it now!

    I would say for somebody to definately take up the offer of an induction (I declined at both gyms and regret it!) and to just bite the bullet and go! If you will be going out your own I reckon it's best to go the first time on your own, as taking a friend along will just give you a different picture of the gym session. Use lots of the machines and don't be afraid to ask people's advice, no one is going to bite your head off and they are all at the gym to get their bodies and health better! Make sure you remember that some of these people were in exactly the same position as you are. Enjoy it!

    (Sorry for the essay, I rambled!!!)
     
  6. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    Thank you so much!
    You've each made some really good points there!
    I'll deffinitely be quoting each of you.
    I find it amazing that no matter how scary it was to join up, we all ended up really enjoying it. I always thought I'd hate the gym, but that seems to be a common misconception.

    Thanks again, this is wonderful!
     
  7. Woodland girl

    Woodland girl Gold Member

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    The Cheeky girls work out in my local gym. I felt HUGE compared to them! Lol
    Staff very nice though and no one actually looked at me :)
     
  8. great things

    great things Gold Member

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    it was a very long time ago when i first joined a gym. i felt like i wouldn't have the time to join one. i did and it was a ladies only gym so i felt more comfortable. i stayed there for ages but then outgrew it. since then i've been a member at 2 other gyms.

    i love the one i'm at and was overweight when i joined and am not now. i think that being overweight affects your confidence when joining a gym and you do feel a little self conscious thinking that others are watching but now i don't care. it think being a normal weight makes you think more about what you are doing and if you are doing it right. i'm not bothered about looking at others big or small. i think the average gym person thinks this way. i look around the gym to take in what others are doing to see if i can pick up a few tips but i don't look to poke fun.

    no one has every made fun of me at a gym and i would think it very small of someone if they tried it on with someone else.

    tips. just go for it. focus on what is best for you not if anyone is watching cause they don't. they're too busy watching themselves to be bothered watching anyone else. if you do a class take a middle position so that you can see but you are not too obvious if you feel worried that people are going to watch you.
     
  9. gina_b

    gina_b Les Mills Fitness Freak

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    heya :)

    first time i went in i was a bit nervous about it, worried id not be able to use the machines properly and look stupid. but the staff were lovely and showed me how to use everything, got me to show them i could do it first before i was let loose on the equipment!
    glad to see people of all shapes, sizes and ages in there too!
    only negetive i saw was that some of the equipment was being hogged and i couldnt use it due to it being in use by the same two people switching who uses it every few mins!

    nice selection of things to do, inc handweights and a few stability balls :)

    there was always a member of staff at the desk aswell in case i needed any help

    advice to anyone overweight using the gym:
    dont worry about people looking at you or staring, there all in there for the same reasons! some people are overweight and do nothing about it, but you are doing something about it and thats brilliant! just blast on some ipod or mp3 playey, go into your own little world and just work your butt off :)
     
  10. great things

    great things Gold Member

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    :D LIKE! too true.
     
  11. gina_b

    gina_b Les Mills Fitness Freak

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    :D i start up converstaions with people next to me too if im on the bikes or treadmill, they probably think im mad.... (confidence is up defo, i wouldnt dare do do that before!)

    hate when my ipod dosent work though :( it goes through phases of not liking me
     
  12. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    This is really great guys!
    I was wondering how you'd feel about my PM-ing you and taking names, or if you'd like to be anonymous.
    I don't know how to reference this site in my essay, so I'm going to say that they were e-mail interviews. ...
    Just realised that you may not look back to this, so I might just PM y'all and ask ;)
     
  13. great things

    great things Gold Member

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    sure. i don't think people would mind. if you don't hear back from then then they must do lol. just go ahead with me.
     
  14. great things

    great things Gold Member

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    yep, i've done that before. great way of meeting people. there was a really thin lady at our gym that never spoke to me, not that i spoke to her. i started doing zumba and she turned up to it too, since then i've spoken to her just simple things like. we're here again. she says yep and we all stand in our own same spots in the studio. it is so funny. i hate having people being in my spot. i get used to seeing myself in a mirror or looking in a certain way in my classes and i hate it when i'm not in my spot cause it can get confusing. lol :D
     
  15. gina_b

    gina_b Les Mills Fitness Freak

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    if someone gets my spot in attack/combat i dont like it one bit.... im always early to make sure that my spots not in use :p
     
  16. great things

    great things Gold Member

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    what are we like :D
     
  17. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    I'm sure that a possessive attitude towards one's 'spot' is perfectly natural...and not a bit insane...quite sure ;)
     
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  19. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    Well, this is it so far, there's still a few bits that I'm not happy with (the underlined bits mostly, but a few other ares too), but I just need to leave it for a while and then go back to it. Let me know if you see anything you think needs to change.




    Feature article on joining the gym – structure based on Caitlin Moran’s features in The Times – most notably ‘Who Scares Wins, Doctor’ – 17 Feb 2011.
    Gym’ll Fix It
    With the Olympics around the corner and Britain about to be beset by some of the best athletes in the world, is it time that we shaped up?
    This intrepid reporter braves the danger, technology and sweat-bands of that hitherto un-clambered mountain, the gym.

    Surveys have found that almost 4.5 million UK adults have a gym membership (of course only 27% of those people regularly go, but still, the intention was there). Some people think that joining the gym is terrifying, like Hannah (KW1) who told me that ‘The first time I went on my own I was petrified!’ and others feel that it’s invigorating, like Maisie (moodle) who said ‘I was pretty big when I was going but I never felt intimidated or embarrassed, I felt proud that I was doing something about it.’, and some just find it a boring necessity, like A.H. who said ‘It's a bit of a chore to be honest, especially if you haven't been for a few weeks, it's really hard to get back in to the swing of things, so with all of these contradicting opinions I decided that I simply had to find out for myself.

    Walking into the gym for the first time you’re bombarded by the sound of the clunking, hissing and thumping of various machinery as it’s being powered by a vast array of zealously healthy people and the odd fellow fatty or pensioner.

    There is music in the background, songs that are barely discernable over the racket to begin with, but add the furious pounding of your own heart and your poorly disguised ragged breaths as you sweat it out on a treadmill or cross trainer, and it’s barely worth mentioning. Of course, all of the fitness freaks have headphones plugged in and iPods strapped to their arms; they know better than to trust the gym to provide the soundtrack to their work out.

    I may have been slightly dramatic; it’s not quite that intimidating really. Yes, the first time you walk up to the desk and ask the slim blonde or buff brunette about a membership it is a little daunting, but they’re paid to be nice to customers, whether they’re tiny little slips of things dressed in the smallest swatches of lycra, or a podgy writer hoping to combat some of those desk-incurred pounds. In fact, Sugar (lips) from Wales reports that at her gym, ‘The staff really helped [her] with [her] exercise programmes and were very encouraging.’ And I wouldn’t expect anything else, from people paid to stand around and take the odd call, not to mention the personal-trainers (who often wander around the gym offering advice when they’re without a customer) who can earn up to 55k a year in some gyms.

    Once you’ve paid a ridiculous amount of money for a membership, trackies, a t-shirt and pair of shiny new trainers boasting some sort of genius new sole that will either make you feel as though you’re walking on air, or will make your bum as neat and round as Felicity Kendal’s in her dungarees, it’s time to actually work out. You’ve learnt how to use the machines; you vaguely remember what buttons to press to get the whole thing going; where to start? The rowing machines seem a safe bet, no where nearly as scary as the weights or treadmills. You sit down, strap your feet in, (just in case you lose so much weight whilst you’re exercising that you float away), push the requisite buttons, slide the weight dial to a suitable number, grab the horizontal bar and, well, it’s time to start pulling.

    Five minutes in you think you may die; pass out from dehydration due to the vast amount of sweat you’re losing, fall off the seat and expire in a less than elegant pose thanks to the fact that your feet are still attached to the machine. Ten minutes in you feel amazing, as though you could do a hundred years of this exercise malarkey and never feel the strain. Fifteen minutes in you lie somewhere between the two, suitably knackered, but on the right side of death, for now anyway.

    After a truly poor effort on the treadmill you’re sweating and taking a break, a plastic cup of water in hand (of course the fitness freaks have their own fancy ergonomically shaped bottles to sip from as they glow serenely whilst running faster than you’re sure is possible). You glance briefly around the room to try to decide what to tackle next, you’ve heard that the cross trainer kills calories dead as effectively as a semi-automatic rifle in a Texas high school, so you should probably try that. Once again having pushed a myriad of buttons the screen flashes at you encouragingly; it’s a cross between cycling and running, with your arms moving in tandem with your feet, hands sticky on the heart rate monitors built into the handles. After literally three minutes you’re back to greeting death, why do people put themselves through this? After seven minutes you can’t feel your legs and your brain is floating in a fuzzy space where the sweat collecting in every niche of your body seems unreal. At fifteen minutes you decide it’s time to stop, you’ve done very well for your first ever time at the gym and you’ll do better tomorrow, maybe even have a go on the weights.

    You wobble to the exit, stumble down the two sets of stairs on imaginary legs (the stairs themselves being some sort of Darwinian plot to keep the weaklings from ever even entering the gym, God only knows how you got in then) and stagger to the car. Well, that went far better than expected, no one openly pointed and laughed, you weren’t nearly as dire as you thought that you’d be; you’ll be back tomorrow you decide, make that membership fee worth it.

    Of course in two weeks time you’ll be going to the gym wielding headphones and a water bottle; probably not in lycra just yet, but maybe one day. It gets easier day after day and you wonder how you could have ever possibly been afraid to go to the gym when now it seems like such a normal thing to do, almost essential really. The endorphins zumba through your blood stream making you grin and charge towards your day wielding your iPhone and a Starbucks (skinny, of course). The clunking and hissing and thumping of various machinery is a soothing soundtrack to your mornings, at least until you plug your headphones in.

    So is all of that sweating really worth it? An NHS survey showed that almost a quarter of Britain’s population is obese, and as something that only comes second to smoking in causing preventable deaths, it’s not to be taken lightly. We have been told time and time again about the health risks involved with being overweight, (heart disease, cancer and infertility to name a few), so why are so many people still obese? Aside from a couple of medical conditions the only reason that people put on weight is because they eat too much and don’t move enough.

    Programmes such as ‘The Biggest Loser’ garner over 4,000,000 viewers on ITV each week, and celebrity magazines constantly feature pages on who’s gained what or who’s looking too skinny, so people are obviously interested in weight, or at least watching other people losing it.

    One of the people that I spoke to, let’s call her G&T, said ‘I think that being overweight affects your confidence, and when joining a gym you do feel a little self conscious thinking that others are watching.’ Gina from Preston was quick to say ‘Don’t worry about people looking at you or staring, they’re all in there for the same reasons! Some people are overweight and do nothing about it, but you are doing something about it and that’s brilliant!

    So, in this dreaded month, halfway between the barely lost pounds of Christmas, and Easter balancing on the horizon, will you decide to join the gym (and actually go)? I hope that I’ve shown that it’s not too dreadful of an experience, and as Hannah (KW1) says: ‘just bite the bullet and go!



    xxx
     
  20. kgallacher

    kgallacher Full Member

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    I joined the GYM about 3weeks ago, me and a friend go three tines a week, two classes on a monday and wednesday and a cardio work out on a friday, I was very scared at first but I look forward to going. And love the feeling of achievement after each session :) xx
     
  21. Hannahkw1

    Hannahkw1 Silver Member

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    Brilliant piece of writing!!! Well done! :D
     
  22. hannata

    hannata I can haz cake?

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    haha i was laughing throughout. Wonderful piece xx
     
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