For the next couple of posts I am going to talk about an integral part of my weight journey, namely fitness and exercise. I want to talk about fitness at the gym, at home and something important to me as a performer – fitness on the road.
Today we are going to start with the gym. Now I have stated this before, but in school I was a kid who would have faked PMS to get out of gym class so I never thought I would seek out a gym.
In fact, on this journey, a looked at a lot of gyms, and in many cases I came away with a disturbing thought. I don’t know where fat guys go to get in shape but it isn’t the gym. It seemed you had to be in shape BEFORE you went to the gym.
I got tired of instructors in size 2 spandex (and that’s the guys) trying to sell me a package without once asking me what I wanted out of the whole thing. In other words, was I there to lose weight, get fit, get in shape or something else? In most gyms I checked out, that question was not asked.
Well time went buy and I did what exercise I could and started using community centre gyms, which were OK but I got tired of watching 18 year olds in groups tying up equipment and showing off for each other.
For the last few years I had been seeing ads on TV for a local chain of gyms called Club 16 aka Trevor Linden Fitness. For those who don’t know, Trevor Linden was a hockey player and long time member of the Vancouver Canucks.
The price seemed reasonable, and was in fact better than the community centres, so I signed up to the location nearest to me in Burnaby. One of the things the gym prides itself on (and is posted in large letters on the wall) is being a club for everyone and especially important to me, that it was non-judgmental.
I have definitely found that to be true. There are members who are in great shape to be sure but it is not the kind of gym where you see people who could bench press a Volkswagen. I have never gotten the kind of “what are you doing here” looks I have gotten in other gyms.
When I signed up, they did mention other programs they offer like a program called Healthy Transformations, but there was no pressure to sign up for them. I was given a thorough tour of the place and was told what was available to me if I was interested. There are trainers and tanning at an extra charge but there are lots of free classes.
So what has been my actual experience? I tend to go in the morning just because, from my experience, it is less crowded. I have always felt getting in shape is not a spectator sport. When I go, even on weekends, it is very seldom over crowded.
Don’t get me wrong. It can be very busy but not to the point I can’t work out. There is tons of equipment and free weights, so if a particular machine is in use, I just vary my workout and use another piece of equipment or use free weights.
I generally start with cardio, even though it makes me feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel. My only complaint with the gym layout is that the view out the window when you are on the front row of treadmills overlooks a McDonalds and a Me and Ed’s Pizza place. Maybe that’s supposed to be motivation. Just seems kind of cruel to me.
I usually do the tread mills or recumbent bike. I have lower back issues so I find regular bikes uncomfortable. I have tried elliptical machines but I get quad burn in a matter of minutes. I guess I will work up to them.
I then move on to my regular workout. There are lots of ways I can do this – just machines, just free weights or combinations of both. There is even a circuit set up called Roc It. I didn’t misspell it – that’s they way it is spelled.
I haven’t yet availed myself of the classes yet simply because of my own issues. I know I am out of shape. I don’t need to demonstrate that to a group of strangers. I am hoping to work up the nerve to start that.
I know that as I get closer to my goal, I am going to have to really tweak my plan, and I think those classes would help me do that.
I found the dressing rooms to always be nice and clean. The lockers are a good size. You do have to use your own lock which is no biggie. Another big thing for me are the showers. I hated the big one room shower we had in high school. It is not a comfortable experience for a fat kid to be “on display” like that, so you can imagine that I was thrilled that they have individual showers.
I have found the staff to be very helpful and encouraging, especially the manager Shane. I had a little problem a while ago. I forgot there is an annual maintenance fee that is charged every May. After my May membership payment went through, I get a message saying that there was a payment problem.
I contacted Shane and asked what was going on. I said I had paid it already, and now they wanted a payment and a penalty for payment not going through. (I keep a prepaid credit card for things like this and hadn’t put extra on it).
Shane quickly responded and explained what the charge was. He was kind enough to waive the penalty for me because of the misunderstanding. I went in to see him and we quickly fixed everything.
I do have a couple of complaints but these are not so much the fault of the club as it is the
people who use it. One if people who don’t wipe their icky sweat of the machines and the other are people who tie up machines while they sit on their cell phones checking messages of texting. These are both wrong folks. Just saying.
So all in all I have had a terrific experience at Club 16 at Highgate, but my point of this is that you have to find a gym that works for you.
What do you want out of it? Do you need towel service or a juice bar? Remember all that stuff costs extra. If you are a beginner, please take at least one training session so you know how the machines or weights work so you don’t hurt yourself.
Are you wanting to lose weight? Get fit? Build muscle? It is important to know what you want, and to not met people sell you stuff you don’t want or need, or things that are not going to help you on your journey.
Next time, I am going to talk about some of my experiences with home exercise equipment – the good, the bad, and the what-was-that-all-about.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!