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Joined gym but no exercise plan
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NotMeNoNo · 05/06/2022 08:42

I joined a local gym (national chain) in March. I'm 50+, unfit and a complete newbie to any exercise except a few Pilates classes. Aim is to generally get fitter/slow the middle aged decline.
I said I was a complete novice and would need a really clear exercise plan and check ins and was assured that would all be provided. I've had some introductory PT sessions but they were more of taster sessions than anything I could go away and work on. I've now been told the only way to get ongoing support and a written training plan is to sign up with one of the PTs for £££ a month, nearly 3x the basic membership.

Apart from feeling I understand their business model a bit better now Hmm I'm not exactly sure how to move forward.
Is this standard for gyms? We have to see out the year at this gym so I need to find a way to get the best value from it.

It just seems a bit all or nothing, I don't feel I need a PT standing next to me every session but probably support to start and a review every few weeks. What questions should I be asking them?

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Newjobformoremoney · 05/06/2022 08:45

Yes PT sessions are always expensive and on top unless you’ve gone to a very expensive gym (5k per year in my area). Ask if they have online programs.

alliteratively find out how much ad hoc sessions are and then do one a month?

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Noisyprat · 05/06/2022 08:50

There's loads of stuff on-line to get you started. I'm not a member but you can join James Smith academy and get an initial plan to start you off.

You could also book a local PT and tabs them in as a guest? Or pay them to do some sessions at their gym and then workout on your own at your own gym?

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WWYD3 · 05/06/2022 08:51

Yep, completely normal- you're paying for access to the equipment not to the expertise (unless you pay for the PT)

Good luck!

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magaluf1999 · 05/06/2022 08:53

This does sound a bit rubbish. But i think it is the business model of some gyms. Its a real shame they were not clear they cannot provide you with any basic programs.
Do any of the PTS offer a trial session? Could you use this to get some guidance them say its not for you.

What is your fitness goal? How many times a week do you attend? Are you active on none gym days. Do they have classes like spinning etc there?

If you answer some of the above we can help. You can also use youtube to look up exercises to do in the gym. Lots of great resources on there.

Weight yourself. Take a photo of
Yourself in leggings and a sports bra or your underwear. Take measurements of thigh, hips, waist, chest, arm. A good PT does this to help you measure progress every 8 weeks or. So photos and measurements help so it isnt all about the scales and you see progress even if the scales stay the same.

You 'could' sign up with a different PT who
Does online only. Mine is 60 quid a
Month for online only. For that she gets to know you and then you get access to an app where she puts your personalised workouts on (with Demo vids). No upfront payments and once month notice to cancel. So you could just do it for a few months till you to to grips.

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glamourousindierockandroll · 05/06/2022 08:57

Yes, what you're expecting isn't normal for a gym. It's simply a facility and you would need to pay for personal training sessions; trainers are often self employed in my experience.

From what you say, consider one session with a PT, then a session once a month or so to see your progress. I've had sessions with different trainers over the years, and they are good for giving advice about form and the intensity you need. I've always found them kind and easy to talk to and have seen them working with all sorts of ages and abilities.

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PlumpkinPete · 05/06/2022 09:00

I think it can be a bit variable. I joined one gym and paid for an introductory session and got weighed, measured and a beginner's programme (nothing too complex: X min of exercise bike, this interval prog on the treadmill then these two weight machines and this set of stretches). They gave me a card to tick off each time I did it which was a good motivation.

At another gym, I paid for an introductory session and got a fairly disinterested guy checking I knew how to use all the equipment safely and telling me I should do yoga rather than Pilates to stretch afterwards (but no specific stretches). I was disappointed.

In the short term pp have the best suggestions- online programmes or a one off session with another trainer

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NotMeNoNo · 05/06/2022 09:07

I'm about 2.5 stone overweight, desk job, fairly unfit but no actual illnesses or injuries.
Reason for joining the gym is to get more support as previous attempts to get into running etc have just stalled when my knees started hurting. Hoping to improve fitness, strength posture and lower stress so I can make some progress losing weight.

The gym has loads of classes and online resources but they don't seem to start where I am. I literally can't do a push up I'm afraid. Also I work FT so limited to evenings and weekends.

I could go 2-3 times a week if I had a focused plan to work on but feel at a loose end ATM.

I'm just disappointed I guess as everyone said your gym will set you up with a training plan and it hasn't been the case!

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Iamanunsafebuilding · 05/06/2022 09:09

The really good PT at my gym is happy to do a one-off session or more regularly. He trains my DD and to start with he would message her what they had done in the session so she could replicate it by herself in the gym. Now she's in a groove of what she wants to achieve so he doesn't message her the plan unless she asks him! He is self employed and really flexible

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ExtremelyDedicated · 05/06/2022 09:10

You don't even get that much support at mine. An online induction (to tick the liability box) then there are qr codes and diagrams on the machines plus one member of staff in a vast gym. I have been using an independent PT for the last few
weeks and it has made a huge difference, she also does online training which is less expensive. I am much more confident with the equipment and settings now.

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NotMeNoNo · 05/06/2022 09:15

I'm going to speak to the training manager next week about which PTs they have available. I'd be ok with 1-2 paid sessions a month but it would be nice to have continuity. And If I'm going to pay a trainer it would be easiest if they were at the same gym.

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Divebar2021 · 05/06/2022 09:16

I was a member of an independent gym where you were allocated a trainer and provided with a programme on starting. Unfortunately it closed this year and I’ve unfortunately gone and joined Anytime Fitness which Im really sad about. The staff there are the most disinterested I’ve ever come across and Im incredibly uncomfortable on the gym floor. Im paying my former PT for a programme though. What are the classes like OP? Do they have any body pump? The classes at mine are apparently half arsed which is a shame but you could maybe start off with a weights based class while working out a programme. One of the trainers is also running a 6 week beginners “lifting” course for women which I’ve seen advertised. Are they running anything like that?

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NotMeNoNo · 05/06/2022 09:20

Thanks this is all useful! I guess I'm not confident in exercise (was the slowest kid at school etc) so it's easy to get knocked back.

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ExtremelyDedicated · 05/06/2022 09:20

My PT is independent but only works at that gym, she prefers it that way as she organises her own bookings, clients etc. I found her through local FB groups.

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HermioneWeasley · 05/06/2022 09:25

I’d try out some different classes and when you find what you like, commit to those. You’ll see a big improvement going regularly and the instructor will help you out.

only thing you really need instruction on is how to lift weights safely

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ColouringPencils · 05/06/2022 09:26

At my gym the induction was literally just showing you the equipment and that was it. I thought that was normal. It seems a bit like going to a swimming pool and expecting them to provide swimming lessons (although I would love someone to show me how to properly do front crawl!).

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ColouringPencils · 05/06/2022 09:29

I am not confident either @NotMeNoNo but my confidence grew when I realised a lot of people at the gym are like me. I had avoided it for so long assuming everyone would be super fit. There are a few people like that, mainly younger men, but I would say the vast majority are just trying to improve their health/lose weight.

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magaluf1999 · 05/06/2022 09:30

From what you have described with injuries and weakness id focus on strength training in the gym. If three times a week. One upper body, one lower body and one full body. Strength can be using the weights
Machines and also your own body weight. Such as squats, lunges, planks (start on your knees) and press ups (wall push ups help for beginners).

Then if you want weight loss you can sustain you need some lifestyle changes so as well as monitoring your diet you need to up activity levels. I would be aiming for 10k steps a day.

If you do the above for a couple of
Months you will notice a real difference

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Divebar2021 · 05/06/2022 09:32

At my gym the induction was literally just showing you the equipment and that was it. I thought that was normal

Ive probably been a member of 6 or 7 gyms over the years and pretty much always had an induction session with a programme. ( I mean it may have been crap but it was something). I wouldn’t expect much from a cheaper “no contract “ place which seem to be popular now.

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ExtremelyDedicated · 05/06/2022 09:38

I've been a member of various gyms over the last 25 years or so and have always had in-person inductions and a programme set, with reviews every couple of weeks. I only joined my current one last year and was a bit shocked at the online only induction / complete lack of programme setting, I assumed it was a covid measure that they've kept for the long term.

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ExtremelyDedicated · 05/06/2022 09:40

Especially as last time I joined that particular one they insisted on a three session induction before you could set foot in there by yourself.

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NotMeNoNo · 05/06/2022 18:37

Thanks, I feel a bit better informed now anyway Smile

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MsMartini · 07/06/2022 08:32

OP, just picking up one of your points: that you can't do a push up so can't start classes (which I think would be a good way to start).

I do calisthenics (lots of push ups) and even in classes specifically for that, there are women and sometimes men who can't do a push up properly. A good push up is a hard move! I would be astonished if a normal high street chain gym ran classes unsuitable for people who can't. They will give adaptations. Super-fit/strong types tend not to do classes at high street gyms IME - it is too hard to find ones pitched right that fit in with their programming. I wouldn't do body pump as a beginner because of the risk of injury with high reps if your form isn't right.

My old high street chain gym ran one class for people new to fitness, returning after pregnancy etc, that focussed on the basic moves, but all the classes were pitched at beginners up. Ignore the copywriters stuff about finding your inner beast - talk to the staff or other gym-goers and get recommendations.

I started at about your age (in a high street chain gym with good classes, where I learned loads) and five years later am happily stuck in and doing lots of new stuff! Go for it

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NeededAction · 07/06/2022 08:44

I’d suggest looking at online coaching too- preferably with someone who is local to you, who also does in-person sessions as and when. Yes, it’s another expense, but then you have someone knowledgeable who can write your program for you - x reps on such and such at y weight progressing to z reps at b weight for example. This way, you can have a check in session every 6-8 weeks, in person but ultimately it’s just you and your gym, following someone elses instructions. PM me if you’re st. Albans way lol, I know a great guy!

Also, have a look at some books maybe? I have the same issue with knees and running so borrowed a book called “ready to run” and it is choca with stretches, different exercises etc that I am able to follow as a layperson (I’m not a PT!)

also well done for joining a gym! :)

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NotMeNoNo · 07/06/2022 11:34

Thanks. It's a Virgin gym. There are a lot of classes and programs/resources on their app but as I said it's just knowing where to start. They are bringing out some entry level classes but as I said they are during the day. I'll see if I can go in on the way back from work and speak to a grown up about the classes/PT. And it's a good idea about a local independent PT, there's someone I know who was doing classes outdoors in lockdown.

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MsMartini · 07/06/2022 12:16

My said first gym was a Virgin one 😀. Yes, the starter ones are more often in the day but beginners who work in the day did come to the evening ones - get some advice about where to start and then try to get there a few minutes early so you can chat to the trainer. I started strength training with Virgin grid classes and the instructors would show newbies the basics before and after the classes, and give them eg unweighted versions during (so air squats rather than barbell squats for example). There were small groups so they could correct form. I also loved aquarobics and a class called tone and stretch (???) when I started - tho they may be daytime. Pilates also really good for foundational strength and developing good form.

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