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Where to start with this gym business?

(25 Posts)
flowersonthepiano Tue 07-Nov-17 21:39:11

OK, first things first, I'm not in great condition. I'm 47, obese, bordering on morbidly obese (but was properly morbidly obese until last year, when I lost four stone - mostly on the BSD), and have severe arthritis in both knees. I walk about an hour a day with my dogs, and a few weeks ago started swimming a couple of times a week, which I'm loving and building up gradually. I've also just joined got a week free trial pass with the gym where I swim. I had the so-called 'induction' today, which consisted of a pleasant-enough youth showing me how to program the exercise bikes, waving his arms at the rest of the equipment and saying 'they're all the same really', and doing something similar with the resistance training equipment 'bands??'
Can any of you lovely people give me some sort of suggestion how to get started with all this stuff? How long to people spend on each thing? I'm particularly interested in building up my muscle strength to help with the arthritis, so if anyone has any suggestions for that I will be eternally grateful smile

flumpybear Tue 07-Nov-17 21:47:53

Can you afford a personal trainer day for around 3-6 months? I’m doing just that and she’s keeping my interest and showing me what to do to lose weight and strengthen certain parts of my body too smile

flowersonthepiano Tue 07-Nov-17 21:58:37

Hi flumpybear thanks, I'm not sure I'm ready to splash out on a personal trainer - although I suppose it's a very justifiable thing to spend cash on - I'm feeling quite extravagant contemplating commiting to gym membership tbh.....good to hear it's working for you though smile

timshortfforthalia Tue 07-Nov-17 22:09:10

There are lots of different theories and science about the most effective use of gym time. Lots of people will say learn how to free lift weights, others will advocate using cardio machines at an intensity that keeps you in fat burning zones. Others will suggest you put together a hiit intervals programme for yourself. All really confusing tbh.

I think I would say try to be consistent and get there regularly. At this point it almost doesn't matter what you do, as long as you keep doing it. So you need to find what you enjoy, explore all options.

Id recommend exploring: building up endurance on cardio machines. Trying loads of different classes offered
Ask to rebook your induction, with a view to putting together a little routine. Maybe fork our for two or three sessions with trainer to get you lifting or putting together another type of. Routine.

Good luck! And well done on weight loss.

Escapepeas Tue 07-Nov-17 22:17:50

I know you don’t want to pay for personal trainer sessions but it might be a good idea to book one so you can get advice on the best things to do for your shape/health and what you want to achieve.

I do a combination of aerobic, cv and weight/core classes as I want to build general fitness and strength while concentrating on my stomach.

Good luck and well done for getting started!

Misstomrs Tue 07-Nov-17 22:28:33

Surprised by th number of people saying to try a PT. when I was overweight I would have hated that! I also hated classes but everyone is different.
I just went along three / four times for a week for an hour each time and tried things. I didn’t stress about the intensity of the programme or what other people were doing, I just tried the machines out. I pretty quickly ditched the treadmill and weights. Because I wanted to lose weight I had an interval programme on the cross trainer 40 mins, step session (10 mins) and then the rowing machine (10 -15 mins). I made it harder as I got better. In the end I lost 3 stone and was a mega fit size 8-10.
To be honest, either you will like the gym / it will work for you or it won’t. The key thing is to find what works for you. It might be running, a home DVD, classes or the gym. Either way, good luck. You achieved so much already - you’ve definitely got this smile

Misstomrs Tue 07-Nov-17 22:30:17

PS - not a covert boast, post baby with a husband that’s away a lot I haven’t found the right solution for me now. I am no longer a mega fit 8-10

VivaLeBeaver Tue 07-Nov-17 22:33:29

Classes will keep you motivated. Body pump is great.

When I started off at the gym I used to search instagram for stuff like gym videos or weightlifting to get ideas of stuff to do, different weight exercises. I mainly used the weights machines at first and now domfree weights. With the machines aim for 3 sets with each set been between 8-12 reps. When you can do 12 reps in each set the general advice is to increase the weight.

RavenWings Tue 07-Nov-17 22:34:25

I'd concentrate on developing a habit of going first, before rigidly setting up a programme. Creating the habit of going is very important - even if some days you're too tired to do much more than stretch, at least you've gone in. I'd be a bit wary of running personally if you've arthritic knees. The rower, bikes or ski machine might suit you.

A personal trainer is great for starting off to teach you correct form and get you comfy in the gym. There's a bit of an ability range with trainers ime so look carefully into them if you pick one.

Also, I'd look at diet if I were you - if it's weight loss you want, diet is the way to go. Tracking what you eat on my fitness pal for a week or so would give you a good baseline, and then just changing one habit a week worked well for my friend. I think her first change was dropping drinking Coke - and now months down the line she's lost four stone smile

flowersonthepiano Tue 07-Nov-17 23:08:13

Thanks all - such a lot of good advice smile Especially thanks to viva - that's the sort of thing I was after - how many reps etc. - I think I had the weights set too easy today. blush I was doing 20 reps no probs. ..see what I mean, no idea!

flowersonthepiano Tue 07-Nov-17 23:24:53

Oh and on the weight loss. I would love to be a healthy weight and I know that the key to this is diet, but I don't want to focus on it right now. I was drinking quite a lot and am doing quite well at keeping that under control at the moment (posted about that elsewhere on mn) & am starting to really appreciate the extra energy I have as a result and just want to focus on getting into a good routine with the exercise. I will get back to focusing on my diet when I feel ready.

MsMartini Wed 08-Nov-17 11:29:51

OP, I agree with the pp about reps - I do 8-10, one min rest between sets, three sets. More reps on some machines (no idea why, just what I was shown). Put the weights up gradually. And focus on the machines that use the big muscle groups - leg press, chest press etc - and also holding or carrying a weight and doing squats, press-ups (start on an incline if too hard), weighted lunges. If you can do a few classes to learn techniques that will help. I don't do much on the cardio machines but when I do I do intervals - minute fast, minute slow sort of thing.

MsMartini Wed 08-Nov-17 11:31:28

NB, I am 51 and my knees have stopped creaking smile and I can now jump - this is through strength training not running.

Growingboys Wed 08-Nov-17 22:50:13

The diet will improve as your exercise regime firms up.

If you’re going to the gym first thing you don’t want to be drinking the night before. And if you come home buzzing from the gym you won’t want a drink as you’ll feel so saintly.

So sort your exercise out and the diet will follow. I promise.

flowersonthepiano Thu 09-Nov-17 00:38:52

Thanks MsMartini and Growingboys - I hope you're right re. the diet. I'm already thinking I will have to avoid the booze on Friday (iusually mange to go without Mon to Thurs, but then fall down on Fridays) because I'm planning a gym trip Saturday morning smile

flowersonthepiano Thu 09-Nov-17 00:41:00

I am also up late working now, so that I am free to go in the morning - I hope this enthusiasm continues!

katmarie Thu 09-Nov-17 00:48:42

There are some good apps out there which will show you how to do routines and suggest good exercises for your goals. I used one called Sworkit a lot in the gym, as they have a lot of exercise you can do on the mats with weights, kettle bells etc, and it made a change from the resistance machines.

The other thing I used to do was watch the personal training sessions going on while I was on the treadmill and pinch exercises from them to do myself, if they looked good and not too hard lol!

I lost about 3 stone through diet and exercise, and going to the gym regularly was a very big part of that, I found I needed to keep it interesting, if I did the same thing every time I got bored and so some days I would do cardio and weights, oher days, swim and floor exercises, other days I’d go to a class, or work out with a friend. That way I never got bored.

Congratulations on what you’ve achieved so far, it’s brilliant you’re already starting to feel the benefits, and you should be really proud of yourself smile

Sodaface Fri 10-Nov-17 18:50:46

How long did it take you all to lose the weight??

I’ve been at the gym off & on for the last three months & the weight loss is only starting to happen now.

NamasteNiki Fri 10-Nov-17 18:59:54

Oh and on the weight loss. I would love to be a healthy weight and I know that the key to this is diet, but I don't want to focus on it right now.

Then it is not going to work.

I used to be a bit overweight. A BMI of 26 which is just into the overweight category.

I wondered why oh why did I never lose weight. I went to the gym 4-5 times a week, yoga, pilates, body attack, body pump, aqua fit, zumba, etc. Virtually no weight loss.

Then I looked at what I was eating. Put myself on a calorie restricted diet and lost nearly 20lbs this year so far.

Slow walking for an hour burn about 150 cals....easily replaced by 2 biscuits.

Aqua fit for 45 mins burns for someone of my weight about 220 cals. Easily replaced by a packet of crisps.

It simply doesn't work unless you tackle the diet too.

flowersonthepiano Fri 10-Nov-17 21:21:12

I think you misunderstood me Namaste. I don't expect the exercise alone to achieve weight loss. I am trying to get into a healthy routine and become more active. As I mentioned, I'm really enjoying my swimming and feel healthier both physically and mentally for it. I'm hoping that by getting myself in a better place, I'll feel ready to tackle my diet properly and also get into healthier habits with that. soda I lost the 4 stone in about 6 months. For the first few months on 800 cals a day, which is not sustainable. I am moving towards a healthier lifestyle gradually now. So far today I haven't had a beer/wine, which is the first time on a Friday night for a long time halo

timshortfforthalia Fri 10-Nov-17 21:42:52

I get you flowers, about wanting to focus on exercise. I am quite mental and for me, exercise is a core habit. If I do that, then the rest of the stuff falls into place (going to bed, eating properly, not drinking.) it also keeps the obsessive side of me obsessing about exercise rather than other more destructive things.

Did you get to the gym today?

flowersonthepiano Fri 10-Nov-17 21:56:07

Thanks tim - I know exactly what you mean about a focus for the obsessiveness grin. Not today, no. But I went yesterday & swam and am planning a gym trip again tomorrow while my son's in his swimming lesson.

nbee84 Fri 10-Nov-17 21:58:10

Re the diet flowers - well done so far flowers and you're right that sometimes you just need to take the focus off food for a bit. I find that going to the gym regularly and feeling an improvement in my strength, tome or cardio makes me want to eat better.

Good luck with your healthier lifestyle x

spidey66 Mon 13-Nov-17 13:57:20

I would definitely do classes in your situation. Try a variety to see what you like. If you want cardio, try zumba, spinning, body combat/attack (though attack and combat can be tough on your knees so tell instructor first).
Body pump and conditioning can be good to introduce weights.
Aqua is a gentle but fun way in especially with bad knees.
With classes I find you've got the motivation of an instructor in front of you with being too embarrassed to just walk out lol.

spidey66 Mon 13-Nov-17 13:58:59

Also pilates/yoga might help your posture and in turn your joints.

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