When I first met her we sat down and talked a little bit about why I wanted to start weight training. I told her about my half marathon and also that I was losing weight and wanted to make sure I was losing fat, not muscle. I filled out a form similar to a doctor's office, basically assuring them I was okay to work out, and then signing.
Then we went into the weight room. Here is the first thing I was surprised to learn:
You don't need to use all the machines to get a full lifting workout!!! Maybe I am dumb, but for some reason I was like, wow, I have to use all these machines? No. I don't. Out of the twenty some odd machines, I am going to be using 7 in my workouts. Many of the machines work only one muscle group. Others work several groups, and they usually have one primary muscle set being worked, and a couple others that are secondary. Most of the machines I am using are the ones that work a couple muscle groups at a time.
I have two leg machines, one for my butt, one for my lower back, a twisty sort of one for my obliques, a shoulder/arm one, and a row machine, which is for my upper back/arms. Don't ask me their real names, I have no idea.
Anyway, we went around the room, and spent about 8 or 9 minutes per machine, talking about what they each did, and how to fix the adjustable parts so that I could use them - mostly based on height and range of movement. Then I would do some reps while she watched me and told me what to change, if anything, or how I could work different muscles by doing different things. We also did a lot of trial and error figuring out how much weight I would need on each machine. Most of the time, we started lower and then I needed to add more weight. There were only a couple times when I needed to go down.
As we were doing all this, she was marking everything down on my own personal chart, so I would remember how to set everything, how much weight to use, and how many reps I should be doing. (I am starting with one set of 12-15 reps for each machine.) Then we put that paper in the filing cabinet, and anytime I go to lift weights, I get it out and keep track of what I am doing.
After that was over, we went downstairs, and she showed me the stretching area. It is a good idea to stretch after you lift. Then she gave me some free t-shirts (I guess they have a lot?) and we chatted for a few more minutes before it was time to go. I had a GREAT time, and can't wait to start lifting on a regular basis (twice or three times a week, max.). I am also supposed to set another time with her in 3 or 4 weeks so we can reassess where I am, and up my weights and reps/sets.
Hooray, hooray! Now that I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing and how to set the machines up for my body, I feel a lot less intimidated. And also because it is a relief knowing I only had 7 machines to learn.
So that is what I did tonight! All in all, it took about an hour and a quarter. I can't wait to do weights now! But I have to wait until Friday, because I am not supposed to do my plan two days in a row. I also learned that once I start lifting, I may need more sleep because that is when muscles heal, when you are sleeping. I never knew that!
If you feel intimidated of the weight room, I highly recommend getting an orientation and having a trained professional walk you through it. At least for me, it really helped a lot!