Joining a gym can be a crucial part of your weight loss program - FOX 13 News

Week 78

Joining a gym can be a crucial part of your weight loss program

By Lisa Spodak ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com
Provided by WorldNow

Week 78 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -1 lbs
Change overall:  -95.5

I got so many great and encouraging emails after last week's blog!  I'm working on answering them all, but in the meantime wanted to say "thank you" here.  I really appreciate all of the support!

I'm still struggling with sticking to my program right now.  I'll do well all day and then binge at night.  Of course, my idea of binging (three or four Hershey's Kisses, a couple of pieces of cheese and a 100-calorie pack of cookies or cupcakes) is drastically different than it was 18 months ago!  But still, a few hundred calories a day can add up.

On the other hand, I lost weight this week!  So I must be doing something right.

I think the big difference is that no matter what I'm doing as far as eating, I've been consistently very good about sticking to my gym regimen.  And that's obviously helping to make up for the lapses in control with food (an important thing to remember when I get to maintenance - exercise will still be crucial to controlling my weight).

When people comment on my weight loss, a lot of them ask me what I'm doing.  And when I answer "Weight Watchers and lots of exercise" they want to know what kind of exercise I do.

Here's a look at a typical weekly gym schedule for me.  Sometimes I'll do something every day, sometimes I'll shoot for 5-6 days a week:

Saturday:   Spinning class.  I've just started Spinning, so I only make it about 30-40 minutes before I have to stop (I'm building up!).  I'll usually follow up with an hour on the treadmill.  When I'm training for an Avon Walk, Saturday will often also be the day I do a long walk (10-15 miles) outside.

Sunday:  Pump (weight training) class.  On a really ambitious day, I'll do a Rebounding (cardio on a mini-trampoline) class later in the day.

Monday:  Either an hour on the treadmill or take a rest day.  When I do the treadmill, I do a random hills program at level 10 (inclines ranging from 1% to 7.8%) and 3.5 miles per hour.

Tuesday:  Rebounding class

Wednesday:  Personal training session

Thursday:  An hour on the treadmill or rest.

Friday:  Personal training, an hour on the treadmill or rest.

My mom insists that I've always been active and a natural athlete.  But, as impartial as I'm sure all moms are, I don't feel like I've ever naturally gravitated toward exercise.  Especially in a gym setting where everyone seems in much better shape than I am.

Feeling intimidated by the gym can deter people from going. So here are my tips for finding and going to a gym:

1) Find a convenient gym.

If you can't easily make the gym part of your routine, you won't.

Find a gym that's close to your home or close to your work or somewhere in between. I belong to a gym that only has two locations in the city, but they are both on the way from home to work. I also rent a locker at the gym so I can keep my shoes and a change of clothes there so I don't always have to lug a big bag.

2) Give it a test run.

Most gyms will give you a pass for a day or a few days so you can try it out.

Make sure you go at the time you would normally go so you can assess how crowded it is, how clean it is, etc. You want to approximate what your typical visit will be like.

3) Sign up for at least one training session.

Many gyms will give you a free training session when you join. Even if they don't, it's probably worth it to pay for one.

Talk to the trainer about your goals and ask him to show you how to use the different machines on the gym floor. He can also recommend specific exercises for you to do. Depending on what you can afford, you may want to sign up for follow-up visits. Even if you go once a month, he'll be able to help you tweak your workout and continue to progress with your goals.

4) Try out the group classes.

Honestly, this was one of the hardest things for me. I'm severely rhythmically challenged, I have awful balance, and I have some knee issues that make certain exercises difficult. Plus, you know, there's the being overweight in a sea of skinny gym rats factor.

But group classes have turned out to be one of my favorite parts of going to the gym! You just have to remember that everyone is there for their own purposes, not to judge you. Also, as much as the instructor may be egging the whole class on and exhorting everyone to do more, you can always go at your own pace and do only what you're comfortable doing.

Classes also add variety to your workout and can help keep you from feeling bored.

5) Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Whether you're asking a trainer for a tip on a machine or talking to an instructor about trying a class for a first time, just remember that they are there to help you get the most out of your gym membership.

I tell the instructor about my limitations and ask them for modifications and I've found that most are more than willing to engage and help. In fact, now that I've started getting friendly with the instructor who teaches two of the classes I go to, I find myself more motivated to go - especially when she asks me earlier in the week if I'll be there on Saturday or Sunday!

I find it incredibly amusing that though nobody would call me skinny yet, a lot of my friends would argue that I have turned into a gym rat.  And if I can do it, so can you!

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