I'm in the best shape of my life.

So, a couple of months ago, I hesitantly joined a gym and posted on here asking for basic advice and such. I’ve gone pretty consistently, going most weekdays and occasional weekends and doing 40 minutes cardio, 20-30 minutes of weight training, then finishing the day with a walk/jog/run (depends on how I’m feeling). I’d felt bad this weekend, since I actually went three days without working out, and finally got to go back this morning.

Happened to hop on the scale before working out; to my surprise, it said 159 lbs. Went out to the trainers and asked to use their scale to double-check. Again, 159 lbs., compared to 175 lbs when I began going. Took my blood pressure, which has slowly but consistently edged down over the last 8 or 9 weeks. 119/75 (average over the last two weeks is 121/78), compared to 132/89 in mid-March. Resting pulse 68 bpm, compared to 85. Not sure whether to trust the body fat analyzers’ measurements, which seem flaky, but those show a huge change over time as well.

Ran my first 10-minute mile a couple of weeks ago, and ran my first 20-minute 2 miles today. Beginning to see definition in my arms and abdomen, definite muscle increase in the legs, pants are getting looser, I’m less winded when I exert myself at work…

…yay me. I’d spent the last few years bemoaning the fact that I was getting out of shape and unhealthy; it’s about time I did something about it. I feel healthier than I have in years. Now I’m starting to think about working my way up to doing a half marathon.

Editing to add: thanks to everyone who gave friendly advice when I first asked for it; I was wary of going to a gym, so being eased into it helped a lot… and getting over that “do I belong in a gym?” question was a big leap to make.

Wow, good for you! I’m glad you stuck with it!

It sure helps to track measurements/BP/resting HR, etc, don’t you think? I’m a chart and numbers person, so I love to see the change in numbers.

What’s you plan for the next few months? Maybe a 5 or 10 km race?

Oh yeah, it definitely helps to see that change in numbers. It can be a little disconcerting when checking constantly, when can be so small as to be undetectable, but I’ve tried to just check once or twice a week. I can tell if I’m hitting a plateau and need to ramp things up, or if I’m progressing nicely. The progression has been nice lately.

I think my next step is to invest in a personal heartrate monitor, to get a better picture of what’s going on when I do cardio. I exercise right now based on feedback from the gym machines, which is probably pretty far off. I’m happy about the changes in my weight and stamina and such, but I’m most concerned with fighting my family tendency toward heart disease. (Add into this that I need to visit my GP and get cholesterol levels retaken.) I’m really buoyed by my lowered blood pressure and resting heart rate of late, and I want to make sure that’s accurate.

Past that, I think a 5k race is in the offing. I’ve been shadowing the C-2-5k threads on here, using them as motivation; I was surprised today when I pushed past the first mile and was able to continue ~6 mph for another mile with little problem… it’s time to challenge myself a bit more.

Getting a HR monitor is a great investment, and please make sure you don’t just blindly follow the HR charts posted on machines and around the gym. The best bet to reach your goals through HR training is to do properly calculate your zones (you can use this tool). You need both your resting HR and a good estimate of your max HR.

Good luck, and keep pushing towards your goals!

EmAnJ - Great link! Thanks. And Kudos to you Student Driver!

It is a really good feeling. Last week I entered and completed a sprint triathlon. It was really good fun, and maintaining a level of exercise for 1 hour 40 minutes made me feel awesome.

And I can already see where I can improve for next months event - I had a mild panic when trying to swim in a wetsuit (constriction round my chest), and this made me swim really slowly (I can generally swim quite well), and I need to think about a road bike (my heavier touring bike is a bit slow). But I have a few weeks to get myself sorted for the next one.

And I am building up to a long cross-country run over the South Downs for the end of the year. It’s great being in shape.