Made My Commitment to the Gym, Got My Ass Kicked Today

Well, I did it. After going to the gym for a month, three to four times a week, I decided I liked it enough (or, rather, could tolerate it enough) to make it a regular part of my life. I signed up for two years in order to get the more reasonable rate of $38/month – the gym charges $48/month for a one-year sign up. Paying month by month? $99/month, which is insane and what I paid for the first month because I didn’t want to lock in for a two year period unless I was 100% sure I could commit to it. They have a $149 sign-up fee, and thankfully they put the $99 I paid for the first month against that fee, so it worked out OK.

I’ve been slowly but surely improving my fitness level over the past month:

  • Treadmill: when I started I could last about five minutes at incline 2.0 and speed of 4.0. Now I can do incline 4.0, speed 4.0, and walk a full mile (15 minutes or so) without needing to stop.
  • Stairmaster: also known as the “machine from hell”, I started at difficulty 5 and could only last three minutes – and after three minutes, I thought my heart and lungs were going to explode. Now I can last five minutes and only feel like I’m having a mild heart attack. A ways to go on that machine, but it seems to kick everyone’s ass…and it’s just climbing stairs. Go figure.
  • Leg Press: I started out at 225 pounds (this is a two-leg press) and last Friday I was able to do two sets of 10 reps at 315 pounds. This isn’t so much from me building muscle in mylegs as it is me getting more confident about wanting to push myself.
  • Lat Pull-Downs: I started out able to do one set of 20 pull-downs at about 60 pounds, and last Friday I was able to do one set of 10 pull-downs at 120 pounds, and one set of 20 at 90 pounds.

None of that is particularly brag-worthy, but shared as an encouragement to other out-of-shape geeks like myself out there, that even in a month if you’re committed to working out regularly you’ll see positive changes. I haven’t lost any weight yet, but I have noticed a marked improvement in my energy level on the days I work out…except for today. What happened today you might ask? I had my initial consultation with my trainer, Kirk.

I had hoped that one month of basic prep would allow me to survive the assessment, but it was brutal – sometimes the simplest things can be the most difficult, like doing push-ups while using nearly every muscle in your body to stabilize yourself because you’re balancing on a Bosu ball (imagine a ball cut in half with a flat plastic top but round and bouncy on the bottom). It’s amazingly difficult for what seems like a simple motion. Or doing squats while standing on said Bosu ball, trying not to fall over. My arms were so exhausted when I got home this morning I could barely wash my hair in the shower – they felt like rubber and were hard to lift. Even now, six hours later, I’m wiped out. One day at a time…