A Week of Working Out

Posted on November 9, 2022 Posted by Athena Scalzi

Athena Scalzilast week, my dad and I got Planet Fitness memberships. I’ve never been a member of a gym before, unless you count the YMCA, but I never actually worked out at the YMCA, I usually just accompanied my grandmother to go swimming sometimes.

Anyway, we got our membership, and today marks one full week of going and working together! So I wanted to write about my impressions of the gym so far and my experience with work last week. Not necessarily like a specific Planet Fitness review, but just how it feels to go to the gym and be in that kind of environment. Because it’s a pretty unfamiliar area for me, and I’m willing to bet it’s a daunting place for many, too.

I knew when I got my membership that I wanted a professional to create a training plan. I’m not going to go in there and pretend like I know what the machine is doing, and I’m certainly not going to pick up dumbbells and go straight. The good news for me is that having a membership means that you can talk to your trainer and consult with him about your goals and he will create a regimen for you to follow.

The way I thought the consultation would work and the way it actually worked were different. I was hoping to express my goals to him and then he would just tell me what machines to use or if I should do more cardio than weights, yada yada. But it ends up being more than that. After I told him my goals, long term and short term, he started to create a five-day regimen for me and wrote everything on the package.

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Day 1, upper body. Days 2 and 4, core + cardio. Day 3, lower body. Day 5, total body training.

Each page in the package is a different day, and then all the machines / exercises I’m supposed to be listed together with how many reps and sets to do. Then, he took me to each machine and not only showed me how to use it correctly, but helped me understand what weight to put on everything, and write that weight on the package along with reps and so on.

He was very helpful, and I had previously worried that I wouldn’t know how to use the machines he suggested, so I was surprised when he showed me how to do each one. I’m not afraid of looking like a fool when I practice. I’m sure we’ve all seen photos, and probably laughed, people using the wrong gym equipment, and I don’t want to be one of them.

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So, that takes care of a lot of anxiety about exercising in front of other people. It’s still pretty hard, and I know that’s a big reason why a lot of people don’t go to the gym. He feels like everyone is looking at him, or doesn’t want others to see him sweat, red face, breath, etc., at least I don’t know. But honestly, this past week has proven them right, no one is looking at you. I never felt like someone looked at me funny, or criticized me, or did more than look in my direction because the human eye is naturally attracted to movement. Everyone is honestly just focusing on themselves and training.

I say all this as a person who looks around a lot. I don’t know why I look so bad. When I walk on the treadmill, I just look around the room constantly, and it makes me realize that no one is looking at me. People don’t care about you as much as you think.

All through this first week I was always nervous to be in a gym environment and afraid of being judged and all, but it really didn’t happen and I feel better now.

Aside from the anxiety, how do you feel physically in the first week?

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The answer is: not really.

Getting started can destroy morale. If you know how out of breath you are from running, or the fact that you can’t even do one push-up, it can make you want to never try again. I can’t hold the plank or the wall sit for longer than ten seconds, I do the weight as much as possible on the shoulder press machine, I feel the heartbeat in my ears when I walk for two minutes. It makes me feel bad about myself, and about my limitations.

But I won’t get better unless I try. I have to try to do push-ups if I want to work correct do one. I have to try to hold the plank for as long as I can, and try to complete all three sets of triceps curls. I can’t just sit back and hope that one day I can miraculously walk up the stairs in my own house without dying, I have to work to make it right. And when it sucked, waiting for the magical day to suck another.

So here’s to weeks of crunches and planks, weeks of bicep curls and leg presses, and weeks of tryouts.

-AMS

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