I have been asked to give an update and little more information about my experience with my gym. For those long time readers, please be patient while I share a little background you may have read before. I will try to answer all of the questions I have been asked on this subject.
Sad, but true, I did not enter a gym for me (and not a child’s sports) until right before I turned 60. I have been going now, off and on, for five years. When I began I had no balance, could not push up off the floor, could not do a sit up, and had been recently diagnosed in the beginning stages of osteoporosis. I wish so much I had started working out earlier, but I am really glad that I did not let age stop me from finally starting. I completely believe that if I had begun earlier I would not have dealt with a few major challenges over the past five years, however, the results have been impressive.
Here are the questions a few of you have asked:
- Is it worth the money to get a trainer? For me, it was worth every penny! I began my gym experience with a group of ladies (all close to the same ages) who wanted to split the cost of a trainer and learn how to work out. I needed his teaching about equipment, his teaching about warm ups, his encouragement, and knowledge. He did not allow me to do too much and his gentle prodding, as well as that of the other ladies took me further than I would have gone on my own. He would not allow me to say, “I can’t do that.” He helped me to understand why weight training is so necessary for bone strength. I know gyms can be intimidating and that it is easy to get discouraged watching even people in our own age group doing more than we think we are capable of, so beginning with a trainer and small group took my eyes off others…there was no time for comparisons. I still work with trainers but they have been instructors in classes I attend at the gym. Splitting a trainer is a great way to go. Also, one of these ladies still works out with me and her support has been vital to keeping me active.
- You write about injuries. Did they happen with the trainer? Absolutely not. Though I started the gym for health reasons, I also hoped to lose weight. One night I turned on that show, THE BIGGEST LOSER, and though I had never watched it before, I was captivated with the workouts the contestants were being put through. That week, I got on the treadmill, raised the incline, and the speed and took off…the results was severe muscle strain in my hip. My trainer was actually very annoyed with me. But, that was the first time I had to take some time off. The moral of this part of the story is do not do too much too fast.
The next time I had to take a leave has been from August 29-December, when my cat ran at my ankles and knocked me into a wall shoulder first. That resulted in a severe muscle strain in my shoulder which has taken longer to recover from than the hip. The saddest thing about the last injury is that I was at my highest level of working out and lifting weights…I was feeling and looking my best. In the area of weight lifting with my arms, I am now almost back at the beginning. But at least I am back. Please note the ER doctor said the shoulder injury would have been much worse if I had not been lifting weights.
No matter what keeps you down, remember to always get back up again. I let that phrase, USE IT OR LOSE IT, ring in my head.
- What do you take to the gym? I am very blessed to have a wonderful YMCA just down the street from where I live, so I take only a water bottle and me. I get up around 4:15AM (You read it right), and after a little grooming and getting dressed, I go through a series of stretches I have learned over time which are mostly to prepare my hips (here I use a roller, and hand-held roller for my prep work) and then I am at the gym when they open at 5AM. I have a 5:15AM Weight class two days a week, and I am trying now to return to three days of treadmill work. Then I go home to shower and get ready for work because it is so close. I stay true to this schedule because that is where my workout friends are and they have been critical to helping me in so many ways. It also gets me mentally prepared and ready for the day. I think I am more productive because I go in the morning.
- Do you do anything at home? As I said, I do stretch, but occasionally I will do small workouts. I own a 10 pound medicine ball, and some small weights. I plan to purchase a 15 or 20 pound kettlebell for home soon. I am started back with lower weight since the shoulder is still in recovery.
The results have been amazing, even with sabbaticals around the injuries. My doctor had told me I was headed toward medication for the Osteoporosis, but my bones have strengthened so much I have not needed it. The last two bone scans showed marked improvement. I feel better (feelin’ 40, right?) and I sleep better when I work out. There is literally a spring in my step. The times I have paired a better diet with the workouts, I have lost weight. I have avoided falls because I was able to catch myself with stronger legs.
If you have any other questions, please ask. I know many of you are workout superstars, but this is really for those either beginning or thinking about it. Stop thinking and just go! I am the comic relief at the gym…I laugh at myself a lot….so go with a good attitude and
Note: Some of these images are from my local Marshalls. They have a new active women’s department, and it was stocked with top brands in clothing and equipment. I also put some fun finds in the slide show below!