go to the gym? me?

Something that I wanted to do as part of my lifestyle change was to get in better shape. I was, and still am, convinced that exercise alone won’t fix your weight problems. You also have to change what you eat to lose weight. That being said, I do think that exercise is helpful. For me, exercise relieves stress and just makes me feel better in general.

go to the gym? me?

When I started my diet, I was not thrilled about working out. I wanted to do it and kept saying I would, but I never did. One of my friends joined the YMCA and started bugging me about joining too. I get a pretty good deal at the Y because of work, so I decided to give it a shot. As part of joining I was given four free sessions with a personal trainer. I had no idea what I was doing, so I figured it would be a good thing.

When I first started going, I would just get on the exercise bike and ride for a good 30 minutes. I would set it around 18 mph and cruise at about 80rpm. It was a good workout for just starting. A few visits later, I met with the personal trainer for the first time. We went over goals and some other things, and that was about it for the first session. He said that if I’m comfortable with the bike, just keep it up—anything was better than nothing.

During the second and third sessions, we went over how to use most of the weight machines in the weight room. I really enjoyed these because I’ve never done weights before, and I learned a lot. It was great having someone around who could tell me the proper way to use the machines and how I should do my reps and sets.

At this point, I was visiting the Y every day after work, and I was meeting with my personal trainer once a week. During the second and third weeks I would do the bike 3 days a week and the weights I knew twice a week. The fourth week we did an evil high-intensity cardio workout from hell. I’ve never been so worn out from 30 minutes of anything before. It was crazy.

Since then, I’ve pretty much done my own thing. I have 14 weight machines that I do twice a week. After about a month, the bike got boring, so I started using the elliptical machine. After about a month of those two, I decided to man up and start “running”. (I don’t run fast, it’s probably technically jogging speed, but it’s running for me.) I set a goal for myself to run a mile without stopping. At first, I would run two laps and then walk one until I had actually run 12 laps. (Indoor tracks require 12 laps per mile.) I gradually worked my up to 3 laps at a time, then 4, then 5 and then 6. After about 2 weeks of 6 laps at a time, I decided that I need to stop being a baby and just go for it. I made it. This was the first time in years, literally, that I had run an entire mile. This happened in late December. Since then I had a minor slip-up due to the holidays, but now I run at least a mile three days a week followed by 30 minutes of the cardio bike.

I tend to run Monday, Wednesday and Thursday because the track changes directions and I figure it’s a bad idea to always turn left. As I mentioned, I do the cardio bike for 30 minutes on these days as well. On Tuesday and Friday I use the weight machines. These days tend to be a lot slower in the weight room, so I don’t have to weight around as long for machines. I use the following machines:

  1. Leg Press
  2. Row
  3. Chest Press
  4. Hip Abduction
  5. Hip Adduction
  6. Abdominal Crunch
  7. Back Extension
  8. Overhead Press
  9. Seated Leg Curl
  10. Leg Extension
  11. Lat Pulldown
  12. Fly
  13. Arm Curl
  14. Arm Extension

I do 3 sets on each machines, with 10 reps per set one them all, except the Abdominal Crunch and Back Extension. On those two machines, I do 12 reps.

This is a pretty strong workout schedule, but it only takes about an hour per day. I’m still trying to figure out a way to shorten it, but for the near future I’ll probably continue with this schedule.

Next week I’ll talk about my personal progress with my diet and exercise plan.

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