Adventures at the Gym: Take 2

Nearly a year ago I wrote about a little adventure I had at the gym on campus during last year’s Get Fit challenge. It wasn’t an exciting adventure by a long shot, but it did involve what I incorrectly said was my first treadmill run (I had forgotten about that one time I ran on the treadmill during college), as well as tourists taking my photo through the window while I got very red and tried not to faint, and then I took classy selifes in a random basement bathroom:

photoSadly, that adventure was my lone excursion to the gym last year… talk about an absurdly expensive gym visit! Even with the significantly discounted trial membership… holy smokes! When Drew and I joined a gym in our city last month, I made the conscious decision to not let such a colossal waste of money happen again.

And then we went the rest of the month without going to the gym. Good job, guys!

Well, last night we finally christened our memberships, hoping that at least some of the New-Year-New-Me people would have slowed down their resolution gymming so we could actually fit inside the building. It was still a bit crowded, but we were able to get our gym on, so I consider that a success.

My gym history is a bit checkered:

  • Tried out the high school gym once during the winter, which really meant draping myself on the equipment with my friends while we chatted, only to be chased away by football players who actually wanted to work out.
  • Went to the gym with my roommate about 3 times sophomore year of college, which consisted of her hogging the single elliptical machine while I either embarrassed myself on the rowing machine or rode one of the stationary bikes.
  • Took a weight training class senior year, during which I was left unsupervised to figure out my own circuits. Mostly used the elliptical machine I never got to use sophomore year.
  • Got a trial membership during Get Fit ’08. Ran around the indoor track once or twice, then played around on the elliptical the two other times I went. I am clearly obsessed with elliptical machines.
  • Joined my local gym in the last town I lived in. Took the introductory personal training session in an attempt to figure out what I was doing. Almost fainted due to the intensity. Returned to the gym one or two more times, but was turned off by the level of meat-head-ery that was present.
  • Got another trial membership last year. My solitary visit is chronicled here.

…so, as you can imagine, I was a bit overwhelmed last night as I tried to figure out what I should do. I had googled “good gym workouts for runners” on my phone during the ride over, but failed to get any advice on the sort of machines I should be using. Thankfully Drew was there to give me some pointers.

I warmed up with 2 miles on the stationary bike, which was a) awesome because it has a tv screen with a little course you can follow that includes inclines and stuff, and b) not a very gentle warmup because my competitive side took over and I wanted to beat all the little computerized cyclists on the course with me. So basically I wore myself out within my first 10 minutes in the gym.

After Drew and I had cycled for a bit, we stared at all the machines and tried to work out a plan of attack (read: Drew did that while I chugged Nuun and tried not to collapse thanks to my jelly legs). Drew figured a legs day would be good (despite the fact that I already had jelly legs), so he took me around and showed me how to adjust and use each machine. We worked on quads, hamstrings, calves, hips, and our backs for good measure before stretching and calling it a day.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Holy weak hamstrings, Batman! My hammies were my hardest workout, and the only part of my legs I couldn’t complete reps for. This is good – now I know just how desperately I need to work on them!
  • This wasn’t news to me at all, but my calves are tight. Tighty-tight-tight. Stretching my left calf – even as gently as possible – at the end of the workout made my eyes water. This needs to be fixed.
  • For my next legs day, I need to remember to wear compression shorts under my regular shorts… or 2-in-1s. The hip abductor machine is not so much fun without them. Thank God that machine faces a wall.

    Hip abductor machine (source)

    Hip abductor machine (source)

  • I need to eat better and properly hydrate before gymming it up. I’m embarrassed to admit what I ate for lunch yesterday, and I felt pretty dehydrated leaving work. That meant I was guzzling Nuun and shoving plain spaghetti in my face before scarfing some chews on my way to the gym. Not the best approach.
  • Leg workouts of the type I was doing yesterday might not be the best idea when I’m recovering from tendonitis in my foot. I may have set myself back a bit again 😦

I have a feeling my gym adventures will be much more plentiful than they were last year, which bodes well for my Get Fit minutes! (It helps having a husband who wants to work out too, because with our powers combined we managed get ourselves out the door.) I’m looking forward to working on my arms and core too, especially after doing so poorly with my pushup test at the Get Fit kickoff event on Wednesday, as well as seeing how this cross-training helps my running!

How do you fuel/hydrate before going to the gym?

Do you have any good workouts/circuits you’d recommend to a newbie?

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9 thoughts on “Adventures at the Gym: Take 2

  1. I call the hip abductor and adductor machines the “slut machines,” and in my humble opinion, they should ALWAYS face a wall.

    Anyway, good on you for getting to the gym! I hope your foot isn’t actually set back and you are just being paranoid πŸ˜‰

    • Ha! That’s the perfect name for it. I second your opinion… there’s no need for one of those things to ever NOT face a wall! (And I hope I’m just being paranoid about my foot!!)

  2. At my gym, only half of the abductor machines face a wall. And there was always some pervy guy across the way when I would have to use the ones that didn’t face the wall. Ugh. I admit that I usually just do the circuit room, then it’s kind of a plan but kind of lazy too. Good luck with future gym adventures!

    • I’m not the biggest gym lover either, but I’m way more apt to hop on a bike/treadmill/circuit machine than go for a run outside in the winter, so it seems like a necessary evil πŸ™‚ I’m trying to get my courage up to try out some classes too!

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