I had the gym all wrong. I was more than hesitant to set foot in a gym to work out. Actually, I was more than hesitant to work out PERIOD. Initially, I did start out at home with workout DVD’s, but with a passionate desire to get in the best shape of my life and to reach my short term goal of losing 50 pounds, I thought I would give the gym a try. So I called a good friend and asked him to get me a day pass. He did better and got me a week pass.
The image I had of the gym was so far from reality. I thought I would find a gym full of fit people looking at the fat guy thinking what is he doing here. I thought if I got on a piece of cardio equipment and got off after 5 minutes, people would laugh at me; even if only on the inside. Trying to use some of the strength training machines and not knowing how to use them; will I make a fool of myself? Bench pressing what I could handle; will I look wimpy with the amount I can lift? I pick up 25 pound dumbbells and the guy next to me is doing the 60 or even the 100 pound ones!!! Man, I didn’t want to do that.
But I have found the gym to be quite the blessing. It is vast array of multi-isms. It is muti-age, multi-color, multi-size, multi-shaped, multi-height, multi-ability and filled with people who are willing to help you. There are those who are very fit at the gym. But there are many who are just like me; trying to get back in shape and lose weight after years of allowing health and fitness to take a back seat to everything else. I have even seen a guy (an older guy too) with both of his legs amputated below the knee with prosthetic legs working out. Seeing him on a treadmill takes away all my excuses. He is one of my many inspirations at the gym.
The thing that has just kept me going though is all of the awesome folks I have met in the gym. People who have been doing the fitness thing for a while and are more than willing to help you do things the right way. It is almost like having multiple personal trainers at your disposal. My first week at the gym, I met a man named Jason who offered me help and has continued to help me some 7 months later. Always willing to answer questions and is always giving me good advice. I do a lot of research on fitness on my own and having someone like that at the gym is a big bonus. And there are so many more like that. I have asked questions of people and they have responded very kind. I have had guys push me and encourage me. It’s like I had this place all wrong. The workers at my gym are super friendly and have noticed and been vocal about the weight I have lost since joining. Congratulating me and encouraging me to press on. And I don’t think it is just because they want my money. They seem to truly care.
The gym may not be for everyone. And I acknowledge that my experience may not be typical. I thank God for my experience. There is still equipment there that intimidates me, but I am declaring this will be the week I overcome one or more of those pieces of equipment. The chest flys on the cable cross machine is one exercise that unnerves me. For those who are intimidated by the muscle bound dudes or maybe the skinny ladies. Let me tell you, for every one of them, there are 3 or 4 like me or maybe you. And you will never get in any kind of decent shape from the outside looking in. It is not as bad as you think. There are six packs, but there are also not so six packs; people who want nothing more than to improve their life.
Every time I see a ripped gray haired guy, I am totally pumped. And I have seen quite a few of them. They make this 40 something year old guy think, it can be done!! If you are on the fence about this, give it a try. Call your local gym, see if you can get a day or week pass and at least try it. The way I feel, the stress relief, what it has done for my blood sugar, cholesterol and my blood pressure is worth it. It may be a challenge at first, but like anything, it gets easier with time and repetition. The number one piece of advice I have received from all that I have talked to at the gym is to just keep coming. Keep showing up, work hard and the rest will take care of itself. What are you waiting for?