Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fat vs Skinny Trip to Gym

Now I'm not skinny but I'm don't think I'm really FAT anymore either, hence the comparative title.  So I've joined a lot of gyms in the last 15 years or so.  I know what to expect on a first visit.  I expect the "hard sell."  I expect the tour, the push for personal training, etc.  I know how to handle all that.  What I wasn't prepared for was the different attitude I would receive from the sales guy this time.  But first, let's back up.

I joined an awesome gym in 2010 and weighing in at 230 lbs.  I went for my visit and the guy asked me "Why are you here?"  Not like in a mean way, but in a way to find out what made me come in there that day.  And I told him, "I'm sick of feeling like crap and I'm ready to commit to losing weight."  And that began the "We understand where you're coming from.  We're here to help you fulfill your dreams and reach for the stars, blah, blah, blah."  The tone was sympathetic, almost pitying in a way.  He proceeded to show me all the different kinds of people who work out there.  You know...basically he was saying "Look!  Lots of fat people come here.  You won't be left out!"  I left with the message that if I didn't join that gym, I'd die.  I'd never lose weight, eventually I would just keep getting bigger and bigger and I would die.  I NEEDED the gym.

Yesterday, it was such a different tune, I almost didn't know how to handle it.  This guy looked at my little informational sheet where I checked off what I wanted to work on and it was pretty much everything - Lose Weight?  Check.  Tone?  Check.  Build strength and muscle?  Check.  Train for an event?  Check.  His first question to me, "So what are your goals?"  Goals?  Fat people can have goals?  I explained that I have lost about 70 lbs in the last 18 months and need a good push to get the last 30 off and I've got a Warrior Dash in October that I must prepare for.  He was floored.  "You've lost 70 lbs??  That's awesome!"  He gave me the tour, talking me through the equipment and classes, sharing his own story of running his first 5k in January and how while he's in great shape, running is especially difficult for him.  He gave me a rundown of the gladiator class and all the "props" they use and how great he think it'd be for Warrior Dash training.  He asked what I've done so far and I told him I've been trying to walk and run for cardio and the Zumba and Step at my old gym.  I told him about my kettle bells at home.  He told me they have a great kettle bell class with a certified trainer that he thinks I'd like.  He also said they still have Zumba and Yoga and stuff for a less intense workout.

I guess the difference is that instead of feeding me "We'll help you not be fat anymore," I got a tailored, personalized tour focusing on what I told him I like to do.  Is it due to preconceived notions or is it due to me actually being able to vocalize what I'm looking for this time?  I think it's a combination of both.  I think when you go into a gym fat, they think you need help.  You obviously can't help yourself so you need guidance and be told what to do and how to do it.  You need to be given hope because you're obviously hopeLESS.  And for me, at least, I bought into it.  They must be right.  If I could've done it without the gym, I would've done it already.

This time, I walked in with more confidence.  A "Been there, done that" attitude.  I know what my goals are this time.  The last time, I didn't know where I wanted to go...I just knew I didn't want to be where I was anymore.  This time, I told them I abhor treadmills but like weight machines and want to focus on upper body strength  Last time, I'd work on whatever they told me to work on because I knew it ALL needed work.  I got no hard sell.  I got just a sales pitch that told me how that gym can help me reach my I've already been doing for 2 years.  Then after the pitch, I went and worked out.  Wednesday Work out - 30 minutes on the elliptical and then 20 minutes of strength training.  The gym is OK...I don't LOVE it but I think I can handle it.

So my checklist:

  • Does the equipment look easy to use?  It's typical. It's all a little older.  The cardio equipment doesn't have their own air blowers, for instance.  But I didn't see any "Out of Order" signs on ANYTHING and it all looked pretty clean.
  • Are there TV's?  haha!  Yes and No.  They have one long line of them which are tuned to CNN, Fox News, HLN, ESPN and Gold's Gym TV.  From my elliptical, I can't read the captions without my glasses so the answer to this may as well be no.  This could be a deal breaker.
  • Do they have any group classes I'm interested in?  Yes!  Several actually.  Definitely hardcore kind of work outs too...equivalent to bootcamps and stuff.  I've followed several bloggers (Catherine and Fluffy come to mind immediately) who have gotten whipped into shape with bootcamp.  I can't afford bootcamp (they're expensive around here) so this would be the next best thing I think. They also have many classes after 5 pm.  They definitely sound more hardcore than anything I've done previously and it looks like most of the instructors are men but I kind of like the idea of really kickin' some a$$.  
  • Is there a Kids' Club?  Yes but I won't use it.  It doesn't look that great and my kids didn't like the one at the other gym either.  They're in school and daycare all day so I think it just loses it novelty pretty quickly.
  • Is there a pool? Didn't ask and didn't see one so I'm thinking no...
  • Does shower/locker room look like it's cleaned and kept up regularly?  Outside of being out of paper towels, yes.  I didn't see any clumps of hair near the drains of the showers or odd colored tiles that would indicate mold.  No mildewy smell and as a bonus, there's a dry sauna in there too.  The gym also has tanning rooms...not my thing but thought I'd throw it in there.
  • Does it feel comfortable? It doesn't feel UNcomfortable.  All the machines are lined up facing the same direction so no worries about people staring at my butt but on the other hand, it's also just kind of so-so.  It reminded me of Average Joe's Gymnasium in the movie Dodgeball...anybody see that?  It's definitely a no frills kind of gym but do I really need frills at this point?  The type of frills I want, I can't afford so I need a place where I can get it together once or twice a week.   It wasn't all men at the gym but mostly men.  There was actually hardly anyone at the gym at all...but that could be because I was there at 2:30 pm on a Wednesday afternoon.  Don't these people have jobs???  LOL. That's about the time of day I'll be going on Wednesdays since both girls are in an after school program.
  • Price? $19.95/month - no enrollment fee or contract.  Also, unlimited daily guess passes and I've already asked about the fine print on that.  Anybody, anytime as long as they're with you can come in free...even for the classes.  Now if Hubby and I had any kind of the same schedule, it'd be a no brainer because we'd basically be getting 2 for 1.  Alas, that is not to be but this is VERY reasonable and doesn't lock me in so if I don't like it, I can just cancel it.  Also, by going with a no-frills gym for a reasonable price, I can save my money and add in some outside things like a rock gym once or twice a month and stuff like that.  
So that's my gym review.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do it yet.  I might try the Gladiator class Saturday morning and see how I like it.  But at the same time, I'm really scared to go do it.  It's 2 hours long!!  I think I might die.  Hmmm....decisions, decisions.  I won't be doing 10 Thing Thursday as this post was ridiculously long as it is.  Have a great Thursday everybody!


jennxaz said...

I love the classes and would be going for that but how are you going to handle not watching tv if you have to do the elliptical or treadmill? Are you going to check out any other gyms....I think you should, you didn't sound that jacked in your blog

vickyd said...

I think you should check out some other gyms because you don't seem overly excited about this one and if you aren't excited about it now will that lead to you not going down the line?

Also, about the cost of boot camps...they are expensive but my nutritionist was telling me that around here they offer groupons for local boot camps...she says that is the only way she can afford to do might want to check and see if they offer some in your area...

Catherine55 said...

That is awesome! I wonder how much the way you were treated has to do with the confidence you are projecting after a 70 pound loss. You go, Manda!! So psyched for you!! :) :)

Sarah said...

Ooooh I like the idea of a try before you buy with the gladiator class! Go see what it's like but sounds like a bargain to me. xx

♫ Drazil ♪ said...

When I went to the gym I never talked to anyone so kudos to you for saying what you want!

Leigh C. said...

Ahhhhh, my old nemesis the gym! Well, you have some good pros and cons listed. And that price! You should totally check out the class on Saturday morning and go from there. Good luck:)

Andrea said...

That's cool to notice such a difference going in and comparing gyms. You now have fitness goals and feel like you have already accomplished so much!

Hope you find the right gym!

Holly from 300 Pounds Down said...

Wow this sounds great. Truly awesome. I am joining a gym next week and I hope to have same experience