Day 1: Earning My Stripes
I should probably start out by saying that I have no experience with a regular gym.
Well, I do, a little, from when my mom was a member of the original version of where I go now; but I didn't have the pre-assessment and the program appointment, it was just her getting me a day pass and me lifting and biking and doing the treadmill and whatever else I thought I could do.
No, all my pay-to-exercise experience has been with Curves.
I'm sure you've heard of Curves and its various knockoffs…workouts solely for women? The main difference between Curves and a regular gym (besides the gender issue) is the fact that you don't work with actual weights. All of the equipment uses hydraulics (if that's even the right word), so you're told that the more effort you put in, the harder the machine will fight back, making it like you're lifting more weight. You also don't do reps–they have a voiceover that the play on top of the music that say "change stations now!" every two minutes or so. (I never realized the voice and the music were separate until I was there once to join or some other thing and the music was just playing by itself–which also means that whoever's in charge can play whatever music they like.) In between machines, you walk/dance/jog in place to keep up your heart-rate. (I'm also going to have to get used to cleaning machines after I use them–they never had us do that at Curves, probably because you don't sweat! [Or I never did!])
Anyway, today was my first day at a real gym with a real membership. Before we had our own Snap location (and even before Curves, which has gone out of business in my hometown), we had the Wellness Center, which was owned and operated by the hospital and run out of the basement of one of the medical buildings. (Hence the "original" incarnation I mentioned in the opening.) Several years ago, however, the hospital opted to buy out an old (empty) grocery store and raise money to completely remodel it, turning it into a gym, mini spa, salad-based restaurant and place to have cooking demonstrations and other classes. It's called Alive (or "Al!ve", if you don't mind stopping to hit the exclamation key) and they've done such a great job with it that it's hard to believe I used to shop there with my parents! (In fact, I completely forget it used to be a store until I'm not there and talking to someone about it–like right now!)
Fast forward a tiny bit to me looking through the filing cabinet…and my new program card (the one with all my seat settings and the number of reps assigned to me) isn't in there.
Go up to the counter (where the gal who has been working me was not) and one of the ladies looked in the office. Not in there. So they told me to get started on the treadmill and they'd give her a call and see what happened to my card.
I went to get my MP3 player (a Phillips that I've had for maybe seven years now–and would replace, if I ever had the money) from my day locker at the front…and I couldn't open it.
So I got my friend Dana to help me (not sure what she does, but she's a very busy gal) and she opened 27…which wasn't mine.
I said I'd been using 21, but I hadn't today, because someone had already taken it. She opened it anyway.
Finally, I tried putting my code into 51 (you set your own), it didn't go; but when she overrode it, there was Percy! (Yes, I occasionally call my purse "Percy". Haha!) Dana said that that one had been having problems and to pick another; so from now on, if I can't use 21, I'm using the one that corresponds with my age so I won't forget!
Ten minutes into my walk, one of the counter gals comes up and tells me they had to reprint my card, so it will be waiting for me when I finish.
Fifteen to twenty minutes in, I'm thinking, "Wow…did I choose too long of a walk?" (I did thirty minutes.) People were getting on and off the treadmills around me and I was still plodding along, watching the timer countdown and periodically changing the song or taking a drink. But no, when I finally went to get my card, I discovered that the girl that had established my program for me had written twenty to thirty minutes, so it was all right. I'd actually convinced myself before that that since I have a lot of work to do on my body, thirty minutes at what I was pretty sure was my optimum heart-rate (at least 120 bpm) couldn't hurt. And it was a blessing that I couldn't find my card, because it turns out they encourage you to do some sort of cardio (treadmill, spin or "nustep") ahead of using the weight machines, anyway.
Except for a few difficult-to-move seats (and one that I thought I had locked in place, but actually sent me for a ride!) and the tediousness of, "Is this enough weight? Can I handle this for a couple reps of ten?" that comes with the first day, I think I did well. I'll workout again Friday after my eye doctor appointment, then, next week…
Which one will I like best? Stay tuned!
P.S.: Okay, maybe not kickboxing…not into sticking my hands into sweaty gloves. 😛