Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I feel oriented!

Tonight I had my weight room orientation. My first though was "YES! I am excited to work with this trainer!" I have seen her around the gym a lot, and she seemed great. And it was true. She was very nice, and great to work with. She was very good at explaining how machines worked, what muscles they worked, etc.

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!


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  2. No wonder my legs hurt for a few days after my race - I was having problems sleeping and not getting enough.

    That sounds awesome that you were able to have that walkthrough. I *hate* lifting at the gym because I feel out of place since there are a lot of guys there with big muscles and then there's me who can't lift crap. But when I was with my trainer I didn't care, I just did what he told me to do and that's that. I figured, once he showed me how to do everything the right way and do things that worked best for me, it didnt' matter what the other people were doing.

    Anyway, all those machines are awesome once you know how to use them!

  3. I'm excited for you! The weight area at any gym is always a little intimidating. Also I like to bring a friend or find someone to work out with when I explore the use of other machines... It makes it fun and I don't feel like a dork who doesn't know what she's doing...

  4. That is SO awesome that you were finally able to overcome the weight room fear!

    I dropped your name in my post today but I'm not totally sure I was accurate...either way...I hope that's ok!