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I'm scared of the gym

Discussion in 'Female Health & Fitness' started by guava, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    I'm satisfied with my progress in my cardio and in my strength training, but I'm not making any gains any more.

    My exercise bike is not my favorite piece of equipment, but that's what my husband bought, so that's what I use. I've been going to aerobics class three times a week, but her patterns are too complicated for me to get enough intensity out of the workout. So I'm looking forward to switching to the treadmill at the gym, and maybe trying out the rowing machine.

    My muscle workouts, I've been doing at home with dumbbells. I'm using 3 1/2 kg dumbbells, and I'm just not feeling the fatigue, even after three sets of 12 reps. So it's time to graduate with this as well. But to what? I'm comfortable with the basic routine that I'm following now, which is a full body workout with 10 different exercises. Perhaps I'm best just to continue with this workout using the gym's heavier dumbbells. :db:

    I've taken a look at some of the equipment at the gym, and it's really hard for me to make heads or tails of it. I can't remember what it has, but it's a very small gym, so just the bare minimum - two multi-purpose machines with a couple of different benches and some free weights. It's a private gym, in which I'd most probably be using the equipment all by myself, but people could quite possibly pop in now and then. So I need suggestions on what kinds of things are safe to do alone.

    Ha, I'm much more comfortable at home, where I can sweat in peace, and not worry about other people barging in on me. :flex:

    Suggestions, please.
     
  2. FionaMaeve

    FionaMaeve Well-Known Member

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    You could add the machines to your workout and maybe the barbell for curls. Other than that, I would stay away from exercises that use the barbell unless you have a spotter or a safety cage to catch the bar when your muscles fatigue. (That means no barbell bench press, no barbell squats, etc.)

    Do you have the book "Body for Life"? If not, you might want to pick it up.

    It has great instructions for all kinds of dumbbell exercises and basic machines. Helps in showing what all those machines are for. Of course, I'm sure that the same info is online somewhere. (I just like to have a solid book at hand.)
     
  3. Chim-Chim

    Chim-Chim Well-Known Member

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    Scared of gym

    Most machines at the gym just give you a different option to do excercises you can accomplish with dumbells. If you get confused with the machines and feel more comfortable with the dumbells then I say stick to using them. You should increase the weight until you are getting a good workout, but not tiring with the first set and study the variety of excercises that can be done with free wieghts. However, after saying that I will add that most machines have a diagram showing you how to properly use the machines. It is possible the gym your speaking of has these posted on the machines as well. Most of the time, the machines are not as hard to use as they look, they just seem intimidating. I wouldn't use any kind of equipment that you think you might need a spot for (i.e bench press, squats) Other than that, I would say you are set. ;)
     
  4. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic Well-Known Member

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    Hi Guava,

    My suggestion is to ask for an orientation session with the gym trainer/owner/whatever. While you might not want to take his or her workout advice, s/he should be able to give you a good run-down of proper machine technique and usage. Once you have that base of understanding, you can make a more educated assessment of what exercises will work best for you.

    :gl:
     
  5. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    The gym is not my friend

    Ugh! :(

    So I went to the gym today. I didn't have fun.

    I thought I'd stick to just the dumbbells. The plates were spread in various spots around the gym. I located what I thought I needed, unscrewed a bunch of things, and screwed a bunch of things back together. My dumbbells at home are 3.5 kg, so I thought I'd try the 2.5 kg plates on the dumbbells to make 5 kg. Not a good idea. WAY too heavy for me. So I put on the smallest 1.25 kg and it still seemed as heavy as my home set. I suppose the bar itself has some weight. I did a bit of the stuff that I normally do at home. Then I tried some curls with the barbell with 5kg on each side, and it didn't feel right for me. I couldn't keep good form with it.

    I found a machine to do lateral pulldowns with, and it was okay, but I think the weight was too light. I didn't want to have to bother with finding the right weight plates to add and stuff. I found a machine to do a chest press, but the handles were turned around the wrong way, so I took them off, but couldn't line them up the other way. I also found a machine to do a butterfly press, but the arms were uncomfortably far apart, and didn't seem to be able to be moved. I also tried a lying curl with high pulley, but the bench didn't go high enough up for me to reach the pulley properly.

    I could ask my aerobics instructor to help me through the exercises, but she's already shown me most of it. She agrees that most of the equipment is designed for men and doesn't work very well for her.

    For now, I'll stick to my workouts at home, even buying heavier dumbbells if I have to. It's such a pain to move all those plates around at the gym, and the equipment doesn't seem to give me any better a workout than what I can get with dumbbells, as Chim-Chim pointed out.

    Both treadmills were busy, but I got to try the rowing machine. It was sorta fun, but I don't know if I'd want to make a work-out out of it.

    When 5kg dumbbells feel like feathers to me, I'll give it a go at the gym again.
     
  6. Gohan

    Gohan Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear you didn't have a good time. :( Good luck with your home workouts, though. :gl:
     
  7. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, it sounds like a crappy gym. Do you have any other options? I'd look for a new gym, myself.

    :confused:
     
  8. mikey

    mikey Well-Known Member

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    what kind of gym is it that you go to? is it one of those fittness centers that many apartment complexes have for resident use? If you need help learning about the equipment find a member of the staff and ask if there is anyone that can show you how to use the equipment there. Or if it is just an apartment complex fitness room and you can't find any staff to help ask your neighbors that go there if you can work out with them a few times. I know it's not easy meeting new people and then working out with them but it could be to your advantage to get a work out buddy or two. Buddies can show you new excercises and you can help keep each other motovated. I am looking to find a work out buddy who's schedule fits mine. :gl:
     
  9. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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    I remeber back when I went to the gym, the personal trainers there said that the machines there are basically made for 6 ft tall men.
     
    #9 Fudgam, Mar 6, 2004
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2004
  10. JimH

    JimH Well-Known Member

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    I sympathise. All I can suggest is perhaps it's worth going back and asking if other women use that gym. If they do, you could try to find out when and go along at the same time to get some 'user level' help. If there aren't, tell the gym that they're missing out on 50% of their potential customer-base! Let them know how you found it difficult to use their machines and play 'hunt the plate', too!

    As for rowing/treadmill, have you tried an elliptical machine? I was using an exercise bike and recently switched to an elliptical. I find it much nicer to use, no sweaty saddle problems :o , and it feels more natural to be using both legs and arms whilst I do my cardio. Mine cost me the equivalent of about 9 months gym membership :)

    :gl:

    Jim
     
  11. Chim-Chim

    Chim-Chim Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear about the gym

    I agree that is sounds like a crappy gym. It also sounds like whoever is using the gym also has poor manners. There is no reason for you to have to walk around to find plates to load your machines. Anyhow I wanted to tell you something that my old personal trainer told me about the row machine. When I worked with her, she had me do the row machine in my workout which kind of surprised me since it is an older machine and a lot of people don't use it. However, she told me that the row is one of the best machines to use because it works nearly all of your muscles at once. Unlike the eliptical, treadmill and bike it works your back, abs and arms as well as your legs. After hearing that I was more willing to use it. Maybe you will have better luck next time you are at the gym. I would check into another facility it you can, maybe one that has a women's area. Otherwise you might end up hurting yourself trying to use the machines because they are geared towards a mans figure. Anyhow, good luck! :tu:
     
  12. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    Yes, it's not a great gym, but it's my best option right now. It's free, and it's just a few feet from my front door. Like an apartment gym, yeah. As I said, I'm really not a gym kind of person, so I've decided to just put heavier dumbbells on my wish list for home use. (I've got my eye on a set with 1 kg, 2 kg, and 3 kg plates, with a 3 kg bar, so that should be pretty close to any combination I might need.)

    I think the rower will be a nice change once in a while, and I might occasionally use the dumbbells at the gym instead of my own (I realized that the two 1.25 kg plates, PLUS the bar makes 4 kg, which is better than the 3.5 kg I have at home)

    Nobody really runs the gym, it's non profit, so they're not worried about a customer base. The women that use the gym are only using the bike, treadmill, and rower, I expect, but I'll keep my eyes open.

    I've never heard of an elliptical machine. I'll have to look around for one if I ever do decide to look for a new gym.
     

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