[-$99,029] My Gym Crawl Update 1

gym crawl 2

[My debt balance has increased since my last post because of unpaid accrued interest.]

Recently, I wrote about my desire to get into shape and drop fat while I drop debt. The first step was a “gym crawl” where I try out a few gyms over the course of a week with the goal of finding a place that I liked and that fit me. A couple of years ago, I tried joining a gym, but didn’t feel very welcomed, so I wanted to avoid that fate again.

So, what happened?

Well… I never managed to gym ‘crawl’. I just gym sat.  I went to one gym and… kept going back to it.  I have been taking strength training, circuit training, cardio and spinning/cycle. So far the novelty of the gym (studio) experience and the variety within the classes has been keeping me motivated to go. I hope I can stick with it long term.

I will try the other gyms in time, but for now this one is working well enough. One drawback is that all the gyms are not close to where I live. It is a 2 mile walk each way, which I wouldn’t ordinarily mind if I weren’t having so much foot pain. I’ve been hobbling back and forth since I started. I’d love to be able to run/walk the distance, but my foot pain makes running anywhere impossible. I suppose I should see a podiatrist? I know I need new footwear which I will buy soon, but that will likely only help so much.

I always go to the early morning classes before work and on the weekends. So I leave for the gym at either 5:10am or 6:10am to get there in time for the 6am or 7am class. If I have any 8am meetings at work, I have to take the earliest class. On those days, getting out of bed at 4:45 in the morning is pretty rough, but I’ve been sticking with it.

gym morning

So far I’ve been getting there about 4 times per week. I’d like to go 5 or even 6 days a week, but I know I have to ramp up to that. I don’t go on days when I’m very, very sore because I don’t want to overdo it and injure myself. And my feet need breaks from all the hobble-walking.  I’m looking into public transit options so I don’t have to walk as much.

If I have to take public transit, I’ll miss the walk over there and back. For part of the journey, I walk along a street of colorfully painted, yet modest homes. They are very pretty to look at, but they make me really long to have my own place. I don’t even want a house, just an apartment to myself. I’m so OVER having roommates, but alas, I can’t afford student loan debt and personal space in this outrageously expensive housing market, so that dream will have to wait.

gym trx

The gym itself is very small, tiny even, but it makes good use of the space that it has. The classes so far have been great. You really feel like you’ve worked out at the end. In particular, I’ve really taken a liking to spinning. I’ve only ever taken one spin class before in my life so I am a total noob at how to do it. Spin is great and brutal. I hate it and love it at the same time. I was trying to think of how to describe my spin class experience when I ran across this post below on an online forum and thought the writer summed it up well. I didn’t have the incline issue that she did, but the rest is pretty much accurate, lol.

“So yesterday I went to a group class at my gym for the first time. I’ve kinda felt I wasn’t getting enough done on my own and can’t afford a personal trainer so I decided to go to an open class in spinning.

 

First of all, I probably picked the single worst bike in the room. The spinning room elevates up with platforms the further back you go, and I decided to stay in the back since there were fewer people there. Big mistake. By the end it was so hot in the back I was sweating buckets, and it was kinda awkward having to run out to fill my water bottle three times during one class.

 

Second, after about 20 minutes I was certain this was the day I died. I was leaking down on the floor and had almost broken my ankle three times trying to stop the bike while forgetting I had a break. The rest of the class was spent going through the five stages of grief as I contemplated my own mortality and what a pathetically short life I’ve lead. By the final stage, acceptance, I was pretty much at peace, yes I’ve only lived for 20 years and 361 days, but I’d spent them well.

 

And just as I was ready to embrace eternity the trainer barked that the class was over and we should stretch before we left.

 

What? What do you mean the class is over? I just accepted my own demise and then you tell me it’s over and I’m still not dead?

 

….. I’m going again after work today. Wish me luck.”   (Source)

That was pretty much my experience. I felt like I was dying during the class and would rather be taking an outdoor ice bath in the Arctic tundra, but after the class was over I felt great and wanted to go back. Yay, endorphins!  I think spinning may help me get more cardio in given that running is not an option right now.

gym mr chow

The classes are small so you get some personal attention as well. The instructors, who are experienced and vary in style, will go around and help you correct your form.  The instructor we had this morning was a very perky young thing with bounds of energy. At the end of class when we were all exhausted, she had us do a final set of moves, but she made each one harder than the last.

gym face

By the end she was asking for one handed push-up planks with scissor plyo kicks something, something, lol… I wasn’t even able to follow what she was saying at that point because I was laughing. I was on the floor on my hands and knees just laughing to myself. There was NO WAY that my body was going to do THAT motion anytime soon. Thankfully the instructors are really cool about us doing our own modifications.

gym baby lift

Yeah, that’s what I look like trying to lift any weight at all.  It can be intimidating though because I am ALWAYS the weakest, slowest, most out of shape person in the class; as in ‘lacking the upper body strength to do a single pushup’, weak. So, yeah. It’s a little lot distracting when ‘Ironwoman Athlete’ next to me is doing advanced moves beyond even what the instructor is doing. Sigh. I just try to keep my eyes on my reflection, or the floor, or even close my eyes if I need to shut it all out. I have to do modifications for almost every exercise and it’s a little embarrassing, but everyone starts somewhere, right?

gym meme not impressed

So far, vibe has been ok. There were a couple of classes when I was first starting out there that were quite clique-ish. Picture it, six women who knew each other cycling on either side of me and literally only talking about their babies and husbands and the additions they were making on their houses…. I was 0/3. I had nothing in common with them. Those couple of classes made me a little discouraged, but I’ve kept going. I’ve found that some classes, especially the ones on the weekends, are mostly made of friendly strangers that are just there for a workout, which is what I like. I hope that keeps up.

I’ve only been going for a few weeks but I already feel like some of my clothes aren’t quite as tight as they usually feel. It’s probably just my imagination, but if not I’ll take it as great motivation. I haven’t taken any measurements. I don’t own a scale so I have no idea what I weigh. My goals are about how my clothes fit and how my body looks in them, and out of them, more so than numbers. I’ll know I’ve achieved my goal when I see it reflected in my mirror.

A bit of inspiration? Check out this woman who decided to lose weight and took a selfie everyday to document her transformation.

gym-membership

Yes, as much as I like this gym, there is a downside, a big one. This place is expensive, even for this area. I doubt I’ll be able to keep coming here long term. I have a month pass and once it is up I’ll move on to try the other gyms. The other gyms have classes, but most are in the evening after work. Evening classes are much harder to get to for me, both in terms of logistics and motivation. We’ll see how that works out.

Summary
Overall, so far, so good.

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW) [All posts on one page]

6 comments

  1. zeejaythorne · July 20

    I’ve always been intimidated by spin classes. They look so damn intense. Solidarity in the footpain runner problem. I have not been able to run in 2.5 years. Finally saw a podiatrist and he said it was my back pain causing the foot pain. Still nada on getting me back into form. Sigh.

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    • My spin class does not look intense, so it’s not intimidating. Some spin studios are set up to look and feel like concerts with darkened rooms with platform leveling for the bikes, lasers, loud music blasting, the whole nine yards. My class is not like that at all. It depends on what style you like and have access to. It’s a good cardio workout and helps increase muscle and power in the legs. For me lately, its been a stand-in for running, which I can’t do right now because of my foot pain. Try a class at a couple of places. Maybe you’ll like one.

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  2. Cynthia · July 21

    Good for you! I always go by how my clothes fit too.

    That monthly pass sounds like a good idea. Hard to get a vibe on a place in only a few sessions. Hopefully, you will eventually land the most reasonably priced, friendly gym.

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    • Yeah, I’m surprised that I actually look forward to going! I hope this isn’t just a novelty phase and that i’ll be able to stick with it long term. But I’ve taken the first step, so I’m happy with that.

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  3. Isabella · July 22

    Good for you for doing this. Just keep going and ignore the conversations going on around you if you feel left out. Be friendly to everyone and just do your business. After all, that is what you are going to the gym for! I myself am back on a bicycle (I am 64, remember) after thirty years! (I bought a folding back, which is perfect for this granny). At first, I was so self-conscious about riding, but guess what? Nobody laughed at me! I bike for 30 minutes straight (and pretty fast) around a large apt. complex in my urban area. And I really think that some of the younger people that I see could not do this.

    I wave to the early birds who are on their balconies during these lovely summer days. I feel great and you will too. Already I am losing inches and pounds and have tons more energy. You will too if you combine this with a good diet and enough sleep. I can guarantee that the world will look brighter when you feel better. Keep up the good work!

    PS Is there a YMCA in your area? Their rates are terrific. I plan to look into this month-by-month when colder weather comes. (I’m in Minneapolis.)

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    • Thanks, Isabella. I’m working on the diet. I stayed away from junk food for two whole weeks! That’s a record for me. But eventually, some of it re-entered my diet, but I’d say that I’m still eating 65% less junk food than I used to before I started going to the gym. I’m going to work on improving that. Yes, there is a YMCA a little further away than the current gym. I will check them out.

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