The weighty issue

warning: crazy rant ahead from an exhausted new-gym-goer.

Not sure what to make of it. I love exercising – but the new routine doesnt quite seem right for me.

While I do get a kick out of being able to push 15 and 20kgs on the machines, it leaves me exhausted. My eyes hurt like hell for the rest of the day. I dont quite know why. The internet didnt throw up much conclusive information.  It’s always been this way – way back in the BC (before child) days as well. And so I never moved beyond the humble 2.5 kg dumbells. I never weight trained. Stuck to good old free exercises.

But this new gym seems to have a set belief. That everyone MUST do weights. Heavy weights.  I count anything beyond 10 kgs as heavy.  I see 45 yr old aunties and 55 yr old uncles doing more weights than me – every day. The instructor pushes me to do 11kg ie 25 pounds on the machines for upper body; and 30-40 pounds for lower body. Just because I can. He asks me why I’m cribbing – esp since I manage to pull through the 15 reps. I tried telling him I’ve been carrying around a kid the last few years – currently weighing in at 14 kgs. I’m kinda used to it.

This workout routine leaves me drained. By 10 am, my eyes hurt like I’ve had a few night outs. The rest of me is fine though. No muscle ache. But the eyes refuse to stay open. Dont know what to make of it.

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I hate upselling. Every alternate day one or the other trainer walks up to me, coaches me for a while; and then pushes me to sign up for their personal training program with the spiel that it’ll ensure the weight loss – esp the 10 kgs I need to loose. They just keep insisting I need to loose weight – 10kgs. I’m 64 kgs. The ideal weight for my height is 54kgs. Hence I MUST loose 10kgs. It’ll be good for me.

They never stop to listen to what I want from exercising or why I signed up.

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Now why did I sign up – because I want to get back into shape. Meaning I want to get fit. I’ve had it with feeling flabby. I want to get back to the way I used to be BC. I like that light feeling. That no flab, well toned, fit as a fiddle feeling. And the energy levels.

I’d tried ‘exercising’ on my own the last few months. But I lack the discipline. More often than not, it came down to a 20 min walk, 2 or 3 days a week. Which is pretty close to nothing :)

So I signed up with a reputed gym for a fitness program. Hoping the fact that it’s paid; plus the environment would kinda force me to er, actually exercise.

And while I’m not quite thrilled with it, it is forcing me to question my beliefs about exercising and fitness. For eg

– This is the first gym I’ve seen that’s so packed. It’s large. It’s well equipped. And yet it’s always packed. Even at 6 am sharp when it’s pitch dark outside.

– It’s packed with “fit” people. Most of the early morning crowd is lean and well toned. Few are a ‘bit flabby’; and very few, if at all, are actually fat.

– It’s not a ‘young’ crowd. Large portion is the 30+ age group; and a sizeable 40+; men as well as women.

– EVERYONE does heavy weights and machinery. Age no bar. Gender no bar.

– Very few, if at all, any people do free exercises; or abs.

– There’s no ‘proper’ warm up or cool down that at other places was always drilled as being mandatory. And instructors dont pay attention to the breathing.

Normally, I would’ve walked away . But everyone here looks fit. And I’ve paid up for a few months. I’m wondering if I’m missing something – are my exercise notions outdated?

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3 thoughts on “The weighty issue

  1. Richa, which gym is this? If you are not comfortable naming it here, you can mail me at sumit.dhar@gmail.com.

    I am looking for a gym which focuses on weight / strength training (preferably in Whitefield). And this looks like what I might be seeking.

    And as they say, one man’s meat… :)

    Cheers,
    Sumit

    PS: Regarding the pain in your eyes, could it be connected to “Exertion Headache.”
    http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/archive/index.php/t-6983.html

  2. Hey Richa,

    It does sound odd to me that most people are doing such heavy weights. I’d suggest taking a tour of another “good” gym for comparison.

    Usually in my workouts here I use 6 pound dumbbells, and I see a max of 10-12 pound ones by the “really good” guys. Focus is on reps (3 sets of 20) and form. Also mix it up with lots of abs (50 crunches, 25 bicycles, planks, pushups) and cardio (1 min sprints) – that’s a typical popular bootcamp group-ex class in our gym.

    • Ya. That’s also the kinda stuff I used to do earlier.
      I finally got them to re-work my routine after 1 week of er haggling. New routine seems better. But now the instructors are pissed and keep pointing out that it must be something else that was causing my fatigue and headache – not the weights – since everyone else is doing them just fine :)
      In the new routine they’ve “reduced” the weights and given me more cardio and free exercises. That put in many more variations and reps of each – just to make sure i get some exercise. This time around they kinda forgot that I’m in gym only for an hour, not 3. It’d take atleast 3 hours to try and do everything that smart ass wrote down on my card. Instructor insists it needs to be done each day. I’m now negotiating with him to break it up as upper bod, lower bod, cardio on diff days.
      Sheesh. I thought all gyms and fitness programs share some common maxims. This place though is simply outta this world. As a consequence – i’ve been there only 10 days this month.

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