My co-ed gym experience

I’ve been rather tired of being fat for a while now so I decided to join a gym. I was going to join Curves, but that was just too expensive. It would have been $89 to start, then roughly $31 a month. The other gym however, is only $20 a month and no membership fee like Curves. Plus it has aerobics as well as weights.

Being a plump woman, I was hesitant to just shake my stuff for all to see. I dreaded it in particular because the aerobics floor shares a floor with some of the heavier weightlifting. Now I have to shake my stuff in front of big beefed up men. Ugh.

Anyway, the teacher had us lying on the floor to do various stomach crunches while the beefed up men walked back and forth to their stations when I realized I wasn’t that uncomfortable. There I was, laying on the floor, my fat spread around me like a cloak, legs in the air and I didn’t care. I was in that much pain I was just ready to get it over with.

All in all I’d have to say I had fun though my legs are so sore they kept buckling. Anyone go to Curves? Or have been to both? Which did you like better?

Congrats on having a backbone. Hate it when women whine about being self-conscious exercising in front of men. I have been working out in gyms on and off for 25 years and have never understood this attitude. Gyms aren’t where guys go to pick up chicks or gawk. I think beginners view gyms where outrageously buffed men and women sneer at the bodies of their inferiors (you see this constantly in the movies, usually comedies). Not true. I am totally focused when I work out, and from what I can tell, everyone else is too, both men and women. Even though I have been working out at my present gym for quite a while, I know 1 guy by sight…wouldn’t recognize anyone else in a lineup. I got sweatin’ on my mind…

Not a woman, haven’t been to Curves. From what I hear, though, the equipment is fairly minimal and cheap (for commercial equipment), no locker rooms, etc., and for the kinda dough you pay, not worth the money. Plus, the dickhead that owns Curves donates lotsa dough to anti-choice organizations.

My completely uninformed WAG is that what gym you go to is far less important than what you do at the gym. You could get great results from the cheap one or terrible results from the expensive one, just depending on what you do. Again, just a WAG.

In any case, congratulations.

I used to work at a curves, and for women who are just trying to loose weight and get in shape, they are wonderful. It combines light weight training and aerobics in a 30 minute circuit, and they keep track of your progress, which is kind of motivating. I felt like I outgrew it after a while… the weights weren’t challenging enough and I got bored with the circuit, but I was in excellent shape and looked great. For women who are new to working out it is sort of idiot-proof and you will get good results. I think it is easier to stick to than a regular gym. Most curves will give you a free week to try it out, which is a good idea. Their politics do suck, though.

Yeah, it’s not the gym itself. Paul Anderson was the Melbourne Olympic heavyweight gold medalist and is still (even after death) the world record holder for the heaviest weight ever lifted ever ever (without some wacky pully system or other aid). He did quite a lot of his training in basements and on home equipment that would have made the rich kids just laugh. In the days before dialed-in supplements, he drank beef blood.

I just bought the book from here:

I was afraid that the guy was kind of crazy, because the author is all about working out without weights, but it turns out that he’s an NCAA champion wrestler, international kung fu champion, and when I showed the book to one of my students, he said, “This is basically just a big wrestling workout. I’ve done all of this.” I did just a part of what he has in that book yesterday, and I’m walking like I had Paulie and Sil collect a minor debt from me with a pipe.

You don’t go to gyms to be fit, you go to GET fitter.

Most people there are being too narcissitic to notice you. The mirrors are there for them to look at themselves.

You will actually gain silent kudos from most of the people there because they will say “Good on her for doing it.”


I haven’t done Curves, but I belong to 24 Hour Fitness and while I HATE their deceptive advertising (yeah, join for $9 my patootie!) and how crazy crowded it gets at times, I like that it doesn’t feel like a meat market. YMMV at your local but while we still have a bunch of ladies in “workout outfits,” and beefy studmuffins dropping barbells in a specialised area and arrogant dorks who don’t know how to share a lane in the pool during peak times, they are very much in the minority. We show up in our grubbies, with our books and mp3 players and just sweat like pigs.

There are a lot of women at my gym, of all shapes and sizes. I haven’t seen ogling or any crap like that, everybody’s just doing what they do.

And Tcat’s pretty much right, if anybody looks at you and even processes the whole “heavy” thing, they’ll think “way to go!”

I think it really depends on the town it’s in, or the way the employees keep the shop up–when I lived in Sacramento the closest 24 Hour Fitness was a freakshow. I stopped going after a drunk guy persistently tried to chat me up on the treadmill at 3am, just fifteen feet away from the front desk. Yergh.

The women’s gym is a great marketing ploy but I think it kind of plays on a tired schtick.

People are either at the gym exorcising their own personal thigh/ass/ab demons or just plain exercising.

You have no idea how happy I am that the apartment we’re moving into next week has a gym. Now my husband and I can roll out of bed and walk the 2 minutes to it, and have the whole place to ourselves (people seem to use it mostly after work).

I hate big gyms.

Congratulations on your effort to be healthier and your wonderful attitude of not caring.

I looked into Curves but didn’t go for it. The circuit training is all they have. You can’t change exercises or build your own workout or vary the weights. Plus the Curves near me had very limited hours. No locker room. Just not what I wanted.

While I’m not a member anymore, I got used to going to the gym. Fat people, thin people, muscular people and flabby people and everything in between. I quickly got over my self-consciousness and just focused on my workout.

Good luck WomanofScorn in your weight loss efforts.

Absolutely. There’s a gym where I work, and I’ve been going in every morning for the past year. A year ago, there were some women who started exercising at the same time I did, and they have made some fantastic changes. Stick with this, do what feels right for you, don’t hurt yourself, and you will notice improvements.

Speaking as someone who probably qualifies as one of those beefed-up gymrats…if I see a really out of shape person in the gym, I’m usually kind of proud of them for getting out there. It takes a lot of guts to make a difference in your life like that. Kudos.

But mostly after an initial glance, I go back to concentrating on my routine. I have a shopping list of things I need to get done in there and, while I enjoy working out, my main goal is to get through them and then get on with my day. Most other people in the gym I’ve seen are the same way.

I never went to the gym to pick up girls (I rarely talked with anyone). However, at one gym, the Stair Machine did overlook the aerobics floor. As I would spend 30-45 minutes climbing stairs twice a week, bobbing up and down preventing me from reading, I welcomed the distraction. On the other hand, the rowing machine was too low for a good view, and I used that just as often. I didn’t go to the gym to gawk, but the setup encouraged it.

Having said that, I was just as self-conscious. I just did my best to shake it off and do what I went there to do.

Congratulations on getting yourself to the gym. That’s the biggest hurdle to overcome.

I remember the first time i went to a gym, quite a few years ago now. I was 19. I had always been a skinny guy, with a long-distance runner’s body. No chest, no shoulders, and skinny arms. The gym i went to did have quite a lot of very fit and strong people working out there.

The first time i lifted a weight, i was extremely self-conscious about how small it was, and i felt that everyone must be looking at me and laughing on the inside. But after about my second visit, i realized that no-one else gave a shit; they were either serious gym-goers who were focused on their own routines, or they were gym socialites who were more concerned with gossiping than with watching me.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and i had turned myself into a pretty fit guy with a decent physique, and when i saw someone at the gym who was obviously just starting out, it made me remember how everyone has to start somewhere.

Of course, now, a decade or so later, i’m contemplating returning to the gym, and this time i’ll be one of the slightly overweight weaklings. But it won’t worry me now any more than it did back then.

Thanks for all the replies and well wishes :smiley:

I guess I was feeling wary about people staring at me because I felt so out of place. Still do actually even though I try not to let it get to me. I know I don’t have the discipline to do any kind of work out at home because I’ve tried it. I used to do tae bo at home, and I used to go to the track but I just lose interest after a while. With this I feel more like I’m paying for it so I better go.

My goal is to do aerobics three times a week, and weights twice a week. I’m just waiting for my body to get used to the exercise and stop being so damn sore afterwards. This is probably TMI, but getting on the toilet has been the hardest thing. My thighs just don’t want to support me. Thank God for husbands, he’s been massaging my poor little legs.

Yeah, good on you and you remind me I need to quit being so slack. Regarding being sore, I found I was much less sore if I warmed up with 20 minutes or so of treadmill or bike before doing any strength training.

As a short woman with tiny, weak hands, the thing I liked most about a women’s gym was that adjustments to the equipment were minimal and easy. There’s nothing like a guy tightening something like lug nuts, or leaving his 80 pound plates on a machine. The women’s gym was $60+ a month, though :eek:

I tried a Curves workout once. I guess I just wasn’t looking for the coffee klatsch atmosphere.

This now, this pisses me off. The mirrors in the gym are there so you can watch yourself lift weights, so you can see you are exercising properly, your stance is correct, you are lifting with your left and right side together… I could go on. Nothing gets my goat more than people saying that mirrors are in gyms for the posers. :mad: :mad: :mad:

Hey - way to go!

You’ve just done the hardest step in the process of getting in shape! The rest only gets easier.

Regading being sore, may I offer some suggestions to discuss with your trainer / instructor?

When I started again recently, my trainer had me drink some milk-whey protein supplements. At first, I thought he was crazy: wasn’t that stuff just for the serious body-builders? He explained that it’s as close as you can get to pure protein, with no fat or carbohydrates, and that it goes directly to repairing the micro-tears you make in your muscles as you exercise; this ishow your muscles get stronger. It will also help you lower your body fat %. I found that with a 10 minute cardio warm-up before weights, some minor stretches afterwards, and two protein shakes / day on the day of the workout (1 right after) and the day after, I get no or practically no soreness. I also find that they make me a lot less hungry, and that I can go much longer between meals. Apparently, they’re all just as good quality, the only difference between brands is the flavour. Some brands do better in chocolate, others in vanilla or strawberry.

Also, a couple of Motrin / ibuprophen pills just before bed on the night of the work-out day can make a big difference if you can already feel yourself being sore on the same day.

Fwiw, I understand that women often are better at weight training than men because they focus on proper technique and don’t try to throw on too much weight too soon to look macho. Just concentrate on technique and attaining your rep target at every set.

By combining weights and cardio, you’re doing the best thing you can for your health.

Keep the faith!

Yeah, actually i was going to make a similar observation.

I remember on my first visit to a gym, wondering why all the mirrors were there. But i sooned discovered that they really are invaluable in helping you maintain correct form when lifting.

Sure, there are some posers who just can’t stop looking at themselves, but they are not the reason for the mirrors.

I used to go to Curves, but not anymore. Apparently, they don’t like having men press their noses against the window.