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Kickin the gym membership to the curb


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So, I've been a gym member since August and I have to admit that I am very disappointed. Maybe it's because I joined a "popular" gym. I signed on for three training sessions and was only able to get one in (this frustrates me, since I really wanted to do all three and see three totally different programs). I cannot stand how people hog things anymore. I've waited a number of times for areas and benches to clear, which totally screws up my program. I'm not talking about five minutes here either, I'm talking about sitting their butts on the flat bench for 20 minutes while I have to jerry-rig a bench out of a cardio step so I could get some kind of chest press thing done (that was ridiculous in my opinion, but I was desperate).

 

Needless to say, I'm scared. I'm just learning how to do most of my weight lifting with free weights. Is it possible to do everything at home, including legs, with just free weights or barbells? I know this may sound like a stupid question, but I've never done weights at home, so I'm new to it all. I have done resistance band training at home, which was kind of interesting, but I'm not sure if I would get the same results with resistance bands that I would with free weights. On the upside, resistance bands are much easier to travel with.

 

Help?!!? Please?!? I'm dumb when it comes to knowing what muscles I should be working on. I've read a lot about "compound exercises" but have no idea how to implement them into a workable, relatively quick program.

 

Any input would be most welcome!! In case it might be important, I am mainly weight training to lose weight and create a more shapely me, but I also love how it makes me feel, so weight loss (aka loss of body fat) would be a fantastic bonus. I also tend to increase in size when I weight train for some reason, especially in my lower area(female here, in case I didn't mention that). Is that just muscle building under the fat I already have? Or could it just be some kind of water weight?

 

Looking forward to lots of new, encouraging (hopefully) information!!

Thanks so much!!

 

Jen

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Hi Jen,

 

That's a bummer about the gym. It's tough to get in a good workout when every piece of equipment is busy, so I can definately understand your desire to workout at home. I workout mostly at a gym, but I think there are some people on this forum who do all their's at home so maybe they can answer your questions better. Is it possible for you to make it to the gym at a different time of day? Gyms are usually crowded at lunch time and after work. If you go in the morning you might be able to use equipment without having to worry about lineups.

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Thank you so much for the reply!!

 

Is it possible for you to make it to the gym at a different time of day? Gyms are usually crowded at lunch time and after work. If you go in the morning you might be able to use equipment without having to worry about lineups.

 

As much as I would love to get my workout out of the way right in the morning, I'm afraid it would stretch me even further than I already am. My commute is rather extensive (I leave my house at 5:30am); I'm not even sure if most gyms are open that early in the morning.

 

Now I'm wondering if it was a bad idea for me to cancel my membership. Hmmmm...I guess I could always look into another one that isn't so popular. I do still have 60 days left of my current membership that I can play around with. I could try going different days, but I'm sure wednesday would be just as busy as tuesday or thursday (friday, saturday, and sunday are never busy, but I can't exactly do three days of weights and three days of cardio in a weekend).

 

Jen

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Yeah, many gyms are open at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning but it's tough when your commute is already that long.

 

For your remaining few weeks at this gym, I would suggest going at least a few times during the non-peak hours (mornings and weekends) to get a batter feel for the equipment and exercises. The you'll have a better idea of what you can and can't do at home, or what you'll need to buy to have a decently equiped home gym. If you haven't seen it already, check out this thread about the pros and cons of clubs and home gyms.

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If you haven't seen it already, check out this thread about the pros and cons of clubs and home gyms.

 

Thanks for the link!! Some very compelling arguments for both sides. I guess I have much to consider. I am going to look into another gym in my area, one that is a bit less crowded around the times I usually go. I think that is my main complaint with going to a gym. I like to be by myself, especially when doing free weights (I think I look goofy, so being alone means I can look goofy all I want). Perhaps that is why I was looking to a home gym; I understand the "getting motivated at home" argument though. There is a gym here that is owned by two vegans that I am going to look into. That may be even better, since they would understand the lifestyle, nutrition, etc. better than just a regular gym. We'll see what happens.

 

I'm definitely still interested in learning about "compound exercises". Is there something I could read or, better yet, watch that would help me learn this kind of movement? I'm a stickler for form, so reading about it and then trying to do it might not fare so well with me. Would that be the kind of question I could go to a trainer and ask? Do you think most trainers would be able to show me something along those lines?

 

Thanks again for putting up with my newbie questions!! I really appreciate it!!

 

Jen

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I'm definitely still interested in learning about "compound exercises". Is there something I could read or, better yet, watch that would help me learn this kind of movement? I'm a stickler for form, so reading about it and then trying to do it might not fare so well with me. Would that be the kind of question I could go to a trainer and ask? Do you think most trainers would be able to show me something along those lines?

This is a very good place to look for information on how to perform various exercises. Keep in mind though that for many exercises, like squats and deadlifts, there are various 'correct' ways to do them which are suitable for different persons and different goals. Anyway I think exrx (the link above) is an excellent place to start.

 

In my opinion one of the biggest advantages with training in a good gym is that you can ask people for advice regarding form. It's usually pretty hard to see for yourselves if you are doing the exercise completely correct.

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lifting at home is okay if i just want to spin wheels, but if i want to get stronger/better, i need to be at a gym. not any commerial gym, but a hardcore one with the equipment i need for powerlifting and strength oriented goals. the equipment i need to have a solild workout on both upper and lower body days totals over $20,000 and i'm not referring to those $2,000 arm curl machines. aside from the equipment, i need to lift with strong people who know what they are doing and can spot any mistakes in form i am making.

 

i would advise to look harder and find a better gym. nothing wrong with working out at home if you can truly push yoursel. it will cost you though if you want to do it right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now that I've cooled down a bit...

 

I've decided to use one of the two remaining training sessions I have to revamp my program.

 

So, what should I be asking the trainer?

 

I have a feeling that the last program he gave me was pretty general (I'm sure I see other women doing the same program in the gym every once in a while). I'd like to learn some compound movements (I've heard those are good things to do). I've been doing machines for my legs (five machines, I can't remember what all their names are though); should I move on to other things or should I stick with machines?

 

At first my main goal was to lose weight, but now that I'm seeing some definition in my upper body (I started with less fat/weight on top, so naturally I would assume definition would show up there first) my focus has changed. Should I tell the trainer that? I'm afraid he just assumes that all women only want to lose weight, so he doesn't even ask (although I'm sure he should be asking, regardless). Maybe I should tell him I want to lose body fat/inches instead of just saying "weight"?

 

I think I need a new tricep exercise too.

And I need to start doing more cardio. I hate cardio, because it tends to feel long and monotonous, but I realize it's necessary to see the (hopefully) pretty muscles under the fat. The nice weather is making me want to do the Couch-to-5k program.

 

Thanks everybody, I really appreciate the help. I know answering "newbie" questions can be frustrating at times, but it pays off in the end.

 

Jen

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I'd ask your trainer to show you how to Squat, Military Press, Bench Press, and Deadlift. These are the some of the main compound exerises you have been asking about. They burn a lot more calories then exerises that involve less muscles. If your trainer doesn't seem able to do this you may want to find another gym. oh, and you should tell your trainer your goals and they should have ask!

I lot of people will break up workout days based on movements. So they'll have a squat/legs day, a pull day for deadlift and other back exerises, and a pressing day for bench and military press.

For cardio, maybe try some sets of sprints instead of a long run, I find that less boring. Also running outside in good weather isn't bad either.

 

Hope that helps

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  • 4 weeks later...

I saw that you didn't want to get bigger in your legs if you trained. That's actually a problem many women have. Train hard 8-12 reps for 3 sets on upper body, but keep your leg reps higher...about 15-20. Also, I wouldn't recommend that you do compound exercises for legs such as squats and deadlifts...those do make our legs bigger. Stick with weighted lunges (your best friend), weighted step ups (your second best friend), and isolated leg exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls. Bulking up is a misconception with women...women don't really get that big unless they use steroids. However, compound leg exercises will tend to make your legs bigger. If your looking for a leaner muscular lower body, stick with the above. Upper body.....lift like crazy!!!

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I saw that you didn't want to get bigger in your legs if you trained. That's actually a problem many women have. Train hard 8-12 reps for 3 sets on upper body, but keep your leg reps higher...about 15-20. Also, I wouldn't recommend that you do compound exercises for legs such as squats and deadlifts...those do make our legs bigger. Stick with weighted lunges (your best friend), weighted step ups (your second best friend), and isolated leg exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls. Bulking up is a misconception with women...women don't really get that big unless they use steroids. However, compound leg exercises will tend to make your legs bigger. If your looking for a leaner muscular lower body, stick with the above. Upper body.....lift like crazy!!!

 

Thanks for this info! I've been doing squats and one compound exercise that works the legs (I can't remember what it was called) so far, but I really haven't seen much of a difference. I definitely don't think I'm putting enough effort into the cardio side of exercise though, which could account for why I'm gaining weight instead of losing it. I guess it's just because I can't stand cardio, and to have your trainer tell you "oh, I never do cardio because I lose weight too fast when I do" is not at all motivating.

 

So, what do I do in my next session when he shows me all kinds of compound movements? Should I ask him to just give me a regular program instead?

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Yo, I think you can do everything at home, it just depends on your goals and stuff, and you can get what you need specifically. I'd really recommend getting a chin-up bar because that is great for working the back. It is a good way to work the back, and it is really simple. I find other back exercises to be awkward at home

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So, what do I do in my next session when he shows me all kinds of compound movements? Should I ask him to just give me a regular program instead?

 

I would recommend talking to your trainer about what that. Sometimes that doesn't always work though. I trained a girl who came in at 298 and was up to 307 because her past trainer was having her do heavy leg compounds and drop sets. She switched to me, and I had her doing some cardio and supersets for her weight training. She was too heavy at that point to do lunges, etc. , so we did a lot of isolations and floor work until we got her down more. She moved out of Pittsburgh, so I haven't seen her for a while, unfortunately. When she moved, I put a program together for her that she could do at home because gyms were going to be limited where she was moving.

If you end up working out at home, try The Firm videos or dvds...I think those are the best tv workouts out there.

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lifting at home is okay if i just want to spin wheels, but if i want to get stronger/better, i need to be at a gym. not any commerial gym, but a hardcore one with the equipment i need for powerlifting and strength oriented goals. the equipment i need to have a solild workout on both upper and lower body days totals over $20,000 and i'm not referring to those $2,000 arm curl machines. aside from the equipment, i need to lift with strong people who know what they are doing and can spot any mistakes in form i am making.

 

i would advise to look harder and find a better gym. nothing wrong with working out at home if you can truly push yoursel. it will cost you though if you want to do it right.

But does such a place exist in Pittsburgh? If so, please share. Inquiring minds want to know.

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But does such a place exist in Pittsburgh? If so, please share. Inquiring minds want to know.

 

I found a great one in Warrendale...I'm not sure exactly where you are in the Pittsburgh area.

 

It's the Allegheny Athletic Club. It's only 34.99 a month and has every machine you could think of. Tons of bodybuilders go there, so there's always someone to spot you and give you any advice you need.

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