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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adventures at the Gym

I'm now about 3 months into my gym membership. I mentioned my gym a while back, when I was trying to decide what pool to join. I ended up choosing Pool #2. I started swimming there back in November, the week after the New York City Marathon, and I've been successfully swimming there twice per week ever since!

Like I said when I first started considering joining a pool, I really wasn't interested in the gym. I've realized that I hate strength training, and I don't really want to do it. Still, my new gym membership came with five complimentary personal trainer sessions, so I thought I should go ahead and take advantage of them, even if I didn't expect to get much out of it.

I've worked with a trainer twice before, both times when joining gyms. Once, back in 2001 when I joined a local gym in order to lose more weight while on Weight Watchers. The second time was when I joined Gold's Gym in 2005 in order to run indoors on hot summer days. I had just started running. Both times, I found my experiences with the trainers to be lacking. The 2001 gym only gave me two workouts with a trainer. The first one was a "fitness test" that basically killed me since I was out of shape and not used to working out, and the second gave me some instruction, but I really would have liked more time. The 2005 gym gave me an OK weight workout with a stoner trainer who half heartedly followed me around the gym while asking me tons of questions about what it was like to be a computer programmer, and if I thought he could get into the industry. Neither of these experiences gave me much confidence in my new gym's training sessions.

I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised. I had five training sessions, and they went like this:

  1. In the first session, I met with the trainer (Katie) to get to know her. She took my measurements and weight, and we talked about my fitness history. She took my requests to heart - I explained that I hated weight training and what I hated about it, and she said she'd design a program that I would enjoy.
  2. For the second session, Katie took me around through one set of each of the exercises she'd worked out. She focused on machines that didn't need adjustment, and ones that worked multiple muscle groups so that I could finish up my workout as fast as possible. I was impressed, and I really liked a few of the machines that she put me on. She also had me do some non-machine exercises, such as walking lunges and dumbbell chest presses.
  3. The third week, Katie basically took me around again, so that we could take a look at other things in the gym that I might want to do. I expressed an interest in doing assisted pull ups, so she taught me how to use that machine. I asked some questions about various pieces of equipment and she answered them.
  4. My least favorite was week 4. We went over nutrition. This wasn't Katie, this was another trainer, Amanda, who I think noted my complete disinterest in the nutrition portion. I understand proper nutrition, I just don't do it. She gave me some pointers, but nothing new, and I have to admit that I didn't get much out of this session.
  5. For the final session, I again met with Katie and we talked things over similar to week 1. I had some more questions, she answered them, and we took my measurements and weight again. I knew I had gained a couple of pounds over the holidays, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I'd lost two inches around my waist! Wow!
I get to meet with a trainer once more, the end of this month, when we'll go over the workout again and tweak it as necessary. While I do wish I'd gotten more time actually working out with the trainer, I still feel like I got a lot out of it.

I've found that I'm basically completing the workout Katie gave me in about 40 minutes - 20 minutes for lower and 20 minutes for upper body. I've been trying to tack them on to the end of other workouts. So, if I'm swimming, I'll dry off and go upstairs and do my upper body after my swim. If I'm running at the running store, I'll run over to the gym after and do lower body. I have heard people say that cardio should happen after the weights, but I really, really, prefer to do cardio first. It's just a pain to have wet hair for my after-swim workouts.

This week, I'm taking off from weight training. I know when I used to do Cathe's STS, she required a week off every four weeks, and I've been so sore from weights that I thought my muscles could use a recovery week. I've still been swimming and running, and tomorrow I'm going to try out a yoga class at the gym. That is, if I can get up early enough to make it there on time.

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misszippy said...

It sounds like you've made the most of the membership! Great that you found a trainer that clicked. And two inches--congrats!

lindsay said...

Trainers can really be hit-or-miss. Glad you finally found a decent one! Nutrition is so common-sense to me. Do I do it? Not perfectly, but I think we all know how we *ought* to be feeding our bodies...

Black Knight said...

Working with a trainer is a good way to improve and not to skip the training.
Very good job on the cross training.

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