Gym Chronicles: Learning the Ropes

The adventures continue with my first week at the gym…

So I’ve joined the gym, scheduled my free personal training for the first day (click here to read that fiasco) and packed my bag the night before. I’m all set! Or so I think…. Once I get to work, I realize I’ve forgotten both a towel and an armband. No big deal, I can make due without the towel and armband for my first day. Once I get to the gym however, I realize I’ve also forgotten a lock! Soul Cycle was the last ‘gym’ type thing I had been to and they have locks for you built into the lockers. Oy!

I change, shove my purse and bag into a locker that’s broken, hoping no one will use it and go ask the front desk if they happen to have loaner locks. At this point, I am already wary of the gym in general, but I have goals and I was so excited to join the gym, I am not going to let this deter me! The front desk doesn’t have a lock for me to borrow but the kind gentleman told me he would place my stuff behind the counter while I workout. Better than nothing!

img_4871With my stuff secure and the trainer busy, I go and get in my pre-planned HIIT session on the treadmill while I wait for him. Earlier in the week I had looked up glute workouts to do at the gym so I had a rough mental list of exercises I wanted to do that day. Once I completed the HIIT workout and figured out my trainer was now unavailable, I set out to do the glute workouts.

Here’s where the fun begins…. I go to the leg press machine, I had done this in the high school weight room (some 12 years earlier!) and I didn’t remember it being too difficult to figure out. I got this!

Lesson #1 in gym etiquette, no one re-racks their weights! So I unload all the weight the previous lifter had put on there and left what I think I can lift. Enter Lesson #2, a woman asks me if she can “work in with me” since the other machine is being used. Now I am a gym novice so I had no idea what this meant and being the polite girl that I am, of course I said yes, not knowing at all what that meant.

I tell the Kind Lady who is working in with me that I have no idea what I am doing and this is my first day at the gym with weights. She looks like she knows what she’s doing and I need any advice I can get. Kind Lady tells me to lift the seat on the machine to work the glutes more and so I make my way into 3 small sets of leg presses. While I am doing my sets (remember I don’t know at this point I am supposed to switch off with her) the smith machine next to us opens so she moves over there to do some workouts.

I finished my leg press sets and tell her I am done. She says “already!?” and I shyly remind her that I am just starting out. I ask her what other exercises are good for glutes and she tells me the smith machine she was just using is great for weighted squats.

So off I go…. I set up, and begin my squats. Kind Lady RUNS over to stopimg_5583 me before I hurt myself! Apparently, I was doing it every way WRONG! HAHA! So I move around to the other side, move the bar from my neck to lower on my shoulders and she so kindly shows me where to place my feet and how far to squat. Seriously, I am so indebted to this Kind Lady for showing me how to do this machine and not hurt myself! She was my much needed gym angel.

After that, I call it a day with many mental notes to look up, in greater detail, just how you do each and every workout I plan on doing in the future. I left the gym that day feeling totally deflated but I was not giving up. I had some research to do but nothing is going to stop me from crushing my goals! Little did I know, more mishaps were in store for me next week….

P.S. For any fellow gym novices, this Huffington Post article will help you with the gym etiquette I wish I had known. xo