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Help me take advantage of my corporate gym membership?

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  • Help me take advantage of my corporate gym membership?

    Frequent lurker, first time poster.

    Background:

    39yo female, lifetime overweight/low fitness. Have lost about 65lbs over the last few years with a very meat-oriented lowcarb diet.

    At the beginning of this year, I decided I was tired of being weak, and started doing Jillian Michaels exercise videos. I've dropped about eight pounds (down to 155ish at this point, from a lifetime high of 225 and an adulthood over 200), and two jeans sizes doing this, as well as loosening up some impending problems with my right shoulder.

    Coincidentally enough, while I'm starting to get really bored of these videos and wanting to do more serious lifting, my work has just given me a free gym membership. I don't want to come off as a shill in my first post so I'm not going to link, but it's a franchise called o2fitness in NC, seems like they've got the usual fare, classes, etc, and the membership comes with some personal training sessions. Maybe this is standard, I really have no idea.

    Anyway, I feel like I should take advantage of this, but I want to ask the right questions and avoid being told I should do a bunch of cardio.

    While I've made some decent progress, I'd like to be a lot stronger. For example, I still can't quite do 'real' pushups. It's hard for me to gauge my fitness beyond that. I can deadlift about 80lbs, maybe more, but that's about all the freeweights I've got so I don't know. I'm also not sure, even having watched a lot of videos and whatnot, that I'm doing any of this stuff with good form.

    I guess I'm looking for advice on talking my way past the trainer, who I assume is going to see a chick and think I want to spend an hour on a treadmill three times a week. And should I say I just want to do free weights, and ask for instruction on form, or let them steer me towards those weight machines?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    A decent trainer will ask you what your fitness goals are. Then you say:

    "While I've made some decent progress, I'd like to be a lot stronger. For example, I still can't quite do 'real' pushups. It's hard for me to gauge my fitness beyond that. I can deadlift about 80lbs, maybe more, but that's about all the freeweights I've got so I don't know. I'm also not sure, even having watched a lot of videos and whatnot, that I'm doing any of this stuff with good form."

    And then the trainer - if he or she is any good - will say "ok, let's have a look at some good warm-ups for weight training, I'll show you the weight room and go over how to use everything, we'll look at some basic lifts and proper form, and set up an initial workout routine for you."

    Trainers are supposed to train you in the way you want to be trained. Nobody needs coaching on how to use an elliptical or even a treadmill, really - the trainer will probably be happy to have something to actually DO.

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    • #3
      It maybe rather repetitve (because it gets said all the time) but do Starting Strength. Its a newbie program for barbell training and after you 'finish' the program you'll have a good foundation of strength and be far more knowledge about exercising and that will allow you to know better what you want to focus on.
      A steak a day keeps the doctor away

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      • #4
        Difficult to say whether the trainers will be any good but my advice would be to leave them in no doubt as to why you're there. Just say: "I'm here to get strong and I want you to show me how to Deadlift, Squat and Press. Then I need you to write me a programme based around these exercises."

        Come back to the forum, let us know what they have given you and (if possible) post some video of you lifting. We'll all be happy to give you some technique pointers if the coaching isn't up to scratch.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
          Difficult to say whether the trainers will be any good but my advice would be to leave them in no doubt as to why you're there. Just say: "I'm here to get strong and I want you to show me how to Deadlift, Squat and Press. Then I need you to write me a programme based around these exercises."

          Come back to the forum, let us know what they have given you and (if possible) post some video of you lifting. We'll all be happy to give you some technique pointers if the coaching isn't up to scratch.
          +1.

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          • #6
            Just discuss your goals and the trainer should build you a program around that. if not, heck it was free anyway and just move on.

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            • #7
              If I didn;'t know... I'd want to learn how to:

              Squat
              Deadlift
              Bench Press
              Standing Overhead Press
              Pullups
              Dips

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              • #8
                Further to Arthur's point, I'd also want to learn progressions on how to get to pullups, dips etc if I wasn't yet strong enough to do one yet.

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                • #9
                  waste of time?

                  I have a question about the whole gym scene. I signed up for my gym because of all the fun, mostly cardio, classes. They have step, dancing, cardio kickboxing, "sculpt" (5-8 pounds) interval training, spin, etc. So I recently started eating primal and instead of going to the gym for an hour or two doing cardio, I switched to walking everyday and LHT 2-3x a week. I have been going to yoga and pilates whenever I can as well. I LOVE cardio kickboxing though and I actually enjoy spin. Am I wasting my time though in these classes and just going back into "chronic cardio?" I would like to think I'm getting a good workout while I'm in these classes but I don't know if its beneficial or if its hurting me. Just curious, Thanks!

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                  • #10
                    If you love those classes, just incorporate them into your week but dont sacrifice LHT and sprints. They're not exactly chronic cardio as most are under an hour.

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                    • #11
                      Agree with Jens. Most of the classes at gyms are scheduled, start to finish, for an hour, including warm up and cool down. Plus, spinning and kickboxing are more interval like than steady state cardio. If you enjoy them, do them and don't worry about it.

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                      • #12
                        Guys--

                        Usually I am much better about NOT posting a thread and then failing to acknowledge replies, but I wasn't getting my thread subscription notifications at first. (So I didn't realize there had been any replies.) I appreciate the responses and the feedback.

                        The stuff about asking for instruction on the basic lifting sounds like exactly what I would like to happen, I guess I just had gotten myself worried about how to word it. So I'll go with that and see what shakes out.

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                        • #13
                          I just wanted to follow up on this since some of you were kind enough to reply. I've been to my two initial training sessions (well, fitness assessment plus one actual workout). The PT I got was a kid just out of college who had been at the place for three weeks. He was not super confident and I didn't get a lot of advice on form--we just weren't communicating well. This is what he ended up giving me:

                          Chest press - incline dumbbell
                          Pullover (on bench with dumbbell)
                          Shoulder press (seated on bench with dumbbell)
                          Row (seated with cable)
                          Leg press - hack squat (this was on one of those machines)
                          Reverse crunch
                          Planks

                          I had problems with both normal squats and deadlifts, so those were left out. I feel like I'm not doing them right and I couldn't really explain to him why; it's also tweaking my right knee. HOWEVER, I was fine in the hack squat machine, so I guess I'm going to at least start with that.

                          I have a long torso and relatively short legs, and I think this is part of my problem with the squats and deadlifts, maybe something about my lower back (not pain, just weak). People tell me I should feel it in glutes, hamstrings, but I only feel it in my thighs (quads?) and knees. I guess, since the kid was not really able to help me, I'll just keep watching youtube videos and hopefully building up some more 'core' strength.

                          If anyone would care to critique the routine, I'm certainly open to variation. I know there are many, many exercises out there, and that eventually I probably need to be able to build my own routine, but I'm trying not to info-overload and confuse myself.

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                          • #14
                            Is there more than one trainer there? Did you try to just bodyweight squats?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by thessaly View Post
                              If anyone would care to critique the routine, I'm certainly open to variation. I know there are many, many exercises out there, and that eventually I probably need to be able to build my own routine, but I'm trying not to info-overload and confuse myself.
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