Getting in Shape

Joining a gym

I know this probably sounds crazy, but I am almost 25 and I have never had a gym membership before. I'm much more of an outside (and free) kind of exerciser. I like to jog, hike stuff like that. I put on a good deal of weight over the past year and a half because my FI and I had moved to live near his family in a really rural southern area. I was totally battling depression, and homesickness and indulged in a little too much southern cooking. Well, now we moved back to my hometown and with the wedding being this year and all, I reeeaaaally want to lose that extra weight! I want to join a gym for the convenience of it, but I'm actually kind of nervous about it. There is an LA Fitness close to where we live, and I plan on signing up there, because it is so close and I can use other locations so I can go work out at the gym near my sister's house with her on some days too.

I know how to use pretty much all of the cardio machines, so I'm fine with that, but I'm really not sure about the weight machines or weight training in general. Should I ask a PT for help? I'm also just worried about being the awkward out of shape girl huffing and puffing and having everyone stare at me. Is that crazy? They offer a toooonnnn of classes that I would like to get into, but I'm not sure where to start on that either. I took yoga like 3 semesters through my university and I really enjoyed it, so I figure I will take yoga. I'm curious about cycling, but I worry that it isn't for lower fitness levels and I will look silly.

I feel like I was always fine with staying active and exercising in the past, but now I am just getting nervous because I feel like I'm doing it for real and not just for fun, if that makes sense. Any advice?
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Re: Joining a gym

  • I'm the same way. I get bored at gyms but signed up last week anyway since I need to lose about 50 Lbs.

    I used to have 24 hr. fitness a few years ago and I ended up cancelling because I started Insanity and did outside running.

    This time, I plan on doing classes and weight training. When you sign up at L.A. Fitness; I think you get a trainer session for free. He/She should be able to teach you about the machines and what to use.

    About the huffing and puffing, don't worry about it. a lot of people go to the gym clueless. lol.
  • First piece of advice - less people are paying attention to you then you think.  There are better odds that since you're nervous, you'll be paying more attention to people than they will to you. So take a deep breath and do your thing! :)

    If you don't know weight machines, ask a PT or floor manager to show you how to use them.  Even if you think you can figure it out, allow them to show you proper form so you don't injure yourself.  There is likely a circuit of weight machines arranged somewhere, and it is a perfect place to start as you get comfortable with weight training (and it will make sure you hit many more of the muscle groups than you would probably remember in trying to make your own routine from the start.)

    Most of all, have fun with it, and certainly experiment with all different classes.  I always enjoy body pump, spin, and zumba, but try different things until you find your favorites.
  • I agree with Lobsters, people won't pay any attention to you because they're focused on their own workout. 

    Definitely ask a PT to help you with the machines if you need it. Better to use them correctly then to hurt yourself and that's why gyms employ PT's to work in the fitness centers. Or ask someone else using the machines. It's a good ego boost and most people don't mind. 

    I also second finding a gym with classes to try. They offer a lot of variety to help you keep from getting bored or burnt out and they provide a sense of accountability. 

    Don't worry about huffing anf puffing. Everyone starts somewhere, ya know?
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  • freebread03freebread03 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited February 2013
    Congrats on taking a big first step in deciding to join a gym!  Don't be intimidated-nobody really cares who is working out and how good or bad they are. People only notice other people if they get in their way.   Definitely take advantage of classes the gym has to offer, especially if there are different class levels (I took a step class once and didn't take the beginner class-major bad idea on my part since it's kind of complicated).  If you're unsure or trying a class for the first time, get there a little early and ask the instructor if it's appropriate for beginners, and make sure you have enough time to get set up (i.e. if you're doing a spin class) with assistance from the instructor.

    If you're interested in weights, definitely take a least one PT session-oftentimes the first session is free with a new gym membership.  Also, watch others work out-after you've been at a gym for a while and are comfortable, you'll see the same people and figure out who is friendly-you can ask people where they learned something or what muscles the lift works, and oftentimes they will offer to show you how (I started working out with a group of body builders at a gym years ago just by asking questions, and they ended up offering to show me different lifts).

    Lastly, it wouldn't be a bad idea to periodically schedule a PT session to incorporate more advanced lifts as you get comfortable with weights.  Maybe an intro session, and then 1/5-2 months later schedule another session to introduce new lifts.

    Good luck!
  • LA Fitness usually offers a few days free trial. Like Stage said, it's a good way to make sure you'll actually feel comfortable at the gym before signing a contract. They should also offer one or two free training sessions with a trainer which as others have mentioned is a great way to learn how to use the equipment. 

    I used to be terrified of the gym too, and it took me years of going to realize that no one there is concerned about me, and even if they are judging me, screw them anyway. Someone else's attitude in no way affects me or my workout. 
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  • It's true, when I am lifting weights I am focus solely on myself and not what the people around me are doing.  Just ask for help/advice if you need it and you'll be fine.  Good luck!
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  • Thanks guys, that is all really reassuring. I'm going to buddy up with my sister, so hopefully that makes me feel better about going, because I know with her at least if I feel silly we can laugh about it. I'm super excited about working out!
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