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Goin' to the Gym - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Goin' to the Gym
I wrote a couple days ago that I was given a free two-month membership to Ballys health club. This is both true and not true at the same time. I could have written that I got suckered by the Ballys salesgirl instead -- but this is also both true and not true at the same time.

What happened is that my sister and I went to redeem our certificates, and we had to listen to a sales presentation. We could either get 2 free months, OR we could use the certificates toward a discount on a standard Ballys membership. At first I was totally against it, but as I thought it through it sounded like it had some potential. Basically for what averaged to $10 a week I could use the club, go to all of its exercise classes, plus I would get 3 free personal training sessions.

My yoga class is $10 a week. I have been wanting to sign up for a pilates class also, probably also for $10 a week. Ballys offers both of these classes, plus a variety of other aerobic-type classes.

What clinched the deal for me is this: they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If I try everything in the next 30 days and decide I hate it, or the classes aren't worth it, I can get all my money back. I would have used the place for only half as long as my original certificate, for the same amount of $0, but I would have gotten 3 trainer sessions in its place.

If I try all the various classes they offer and decide that I like the classes, it will be worth $10 a week. I've have as many classes as I wanted, plus full use of a workout facility that is right across the street from my office.

It's totally worth at least giving it a try.

Tuesday I had my first personal trainer session. He worked me really hard! He had me do all kinds of weights, squats, pushups, dips, and so forth. He took it a little easy on my legs because I'd told him about my knee, so I think he worked my arms extra-hard in retaliation. I tell ya, that guy was MEAN.

Tuesday my muscles were so fatigued I barely had the power to lift my arms above my head. Wednesday (yesterday) I woke up to find my arms, chest, and back so incredibly sore! I could barely pull on a button-down shirt. Just the feel of a cat bumping into my chest caused me to involuntarily yelp in pain.

Today I'm still surprisingly sore. It hurts to left a can of diet pepsi to my mouth, because my triceps are still so sore and tight that I can't bend my arm all the way. I literally can't reach my left shoulder with my left hand. Ow ow ow ow!!

Yesterday I didn't go back to the gym. I had to shovel my driveway before work anyway, and I decided that was plenty of exercise. Especially given how sore I was.

This morning I was supposed to have my second training session. He had to cancel at the last minute though. Standing there by my door, already wearing my gym clothes, listening to his voicemail, I briefly fantasized about just crawling back into bed for another half hour. But yay me: somehow I forced myself to the gym anyway! I had a good all-cardio workout (taking it easy on my poor agonized arms). 10 minutes stationary bike, 15 minutes elliptical, and 4 minutes walking backward on the treadmill, then almost 15 minutes jogging on it! (I've been intending to get my knee used to running again forever, but even so this is only my second time actually jogging for more than across a parking lot.)

I'm still figuring out how to do this workout-before-work thing though. I've been trying to wear my gym clothes and bring toiletries and office clothes in a bag, but I keep forgetting stuff. Tuesday I forgot a towel and dress socks. That meant no shower for me, just splashing and soap, and wearing my sweaty gym socks all day (ick).

This morning I thought I was doing great, remembering everything, until I looked for my bra. Whoops. There was no way I was wearing my sweaty sports bra all day today, so.... Well. Fortunately I'm wearing a nice silk jacket and a button-down shirt, so I don't think it's really noticeable.
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encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: January 20th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
"so I don't think it's really noticeable." Are you sure?

People at my gym say "why do you pay $15 a month for a locker?", I say, it costs me 50 cents a day for them to wash/dry and put them away in the locker, plus I don't have to remember to haul all my stuff to the gym plus my minimal toiletries (a hair brush). Oh, and towels are included in my membership, plus soap, shampoo (not the best but passable). And if I workout in the morning and come back in the afternoon, I'll have already clean and dry clothes.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 20th, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
ooh, that does sound nice. I wonder in Ballys offers anything like that? I'm guessing not, or the salesgirl would have been raving about it.

Where I used to go had all kinds of nice little perks like that -- lots of clean towels, hand lotion, soap, etc, but it was subsidized by my previous employer. Quite a bit more expensive than this place now that I have to pay it on my own.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: January 20th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nearest Bally's to me is in San Antonio, an hour away. Most of the big gyms here are similar to what you have, bring your own towels (which I hate), no private lockers, usually crowded, and standing in line to use the free weights or machines, which I why I pay about $10 more a month for a good club with all the amenities and not having to wait around or have all the muscle bound and/or spandex types.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: January 20th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
just be careful with Bally's... they're slick sales people and not always working to protect YOUR best interest. remember back in 95/96 when i joined so i could work out with you and Missy? i paid them in full for my 3 year membership when i took out my consolidation loan. then, after the three years ended, they started electronically auto-debiting a membership fee from my checking account. the worst part was that when i had originally signed up with them, i set up my payments on my Visa, but they had somehow hijacked my checking account routing and account numbers - i had NEVER authroized it.

it took a ton of phone calling (they didn't have an 800# and don't make regular numbers readily available) and having to have my credit union block them from debiting me to get them to leave me alone. i still get "come back we miss you" postal mail spam from them. again interestingly enough, i've moved THREE times since i originally signed up with them, but they have managed to follow me to my current address.

i don't care if Bally's offered me Godiva after a workout, or one-on-one nookie with Justin Timberlake - they will never ever see a dime of my money ever again. be careful with them.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 20th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yikes, thanks for the warning. They did warn me that a *letter* is required to cancel, not just a phone call. And I put notes into my Palm to make sure I look into it in time... but now I'll know to be extra careful.

(On the plus side, L and I got a family membership, and I made her be the primary person, so if they hound anybody it'll be her not me!!! heehee.)
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: January 20th, 2005 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah i did the letter thing, twice. i think they're just really persistent and figure if you don't pay attention they can scam your money.

i've heard good things about a Boot Camp program they offer... i hardly used my Curves membership more than once or twice a month, so at this point it's not worth it. maybe in the future, if when i get a more regular work schedule, i can work in a regular workout schedule (:
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: January 20th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
By the way, congratulations on keeping up with the workouts!
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: January 20th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Way to go!

Did you have to sign up for a personal trainer?

At my gym they are extra so I don't have one.

I guess I have something to look forward to at dinner
or to not notice at dinner anyway.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 20th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Way to go!

The package she was selling us came with 3 free sessions, which is what I'm using.

Maybe, if I don't manage to stop at home at some point!!
jennlk From: jennlk Date: January 20th, 2005 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't forget to stretch! especially the tight/sore muscles (but you know that, right?)

Watch the treadmills. My doc and my trainer say I should never ever ever walk on a treadmill, much less jog. They'd rather I run on the track than on the treadmill. Treadmills tend to exaggerate any little fault in your form, and thus exacerbate joint stress.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 20th, 2005 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good point, yes! I love stretching, but I mostly focus on my legs. I've been doing some arm-stretching, and kneading the tight muscles. (Still owie!)

Interesting, I've never heard that. They had me walk on a treadmill some at my physical therapy appointments, both forward and back, so I guess it's not tooo bad. Especially considering all the snow and ick we have outside. (This gym doesn't have a track.)

I just like the idea of easing my way into running in a controlled environment.
asyatka From: asyatka Date: January 20th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
They are very pushy with their personal training program. After you three session are over, they will lock you in a room with sales people, trying to sell you more sessions. I don't regret I did it, since it did help me to get into a better shape.

You can also ask for another trainer. My first trainer was a neurotic guy, who yelled at me all the time. Things had improved after I switched to a female trainer. She stretched me after each session to prevent next day soreness and talked to me about what I wanted to get out the training.
thenisaid From: thenisaid Date: January 20th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hair of the dog

Sometimes the only thing that resolves that post-workout muscle soreness for me is the next workout. Strange, but true.
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: January 20th, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love stretching, it's one of my favorite parts of working out.

Bally's was hell to quit. I signed up for a lifetime membership, but mid-way through my payments they switched to a non-lifetime membership, and then charged me too much. Ugh and Ugh.

Oh, and ... poing! hehehe. I don't have those kinds of problems.
atdt1991 From: atdt1991 Date: January 20th, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps this icon is more appropriate.
funball From: funball Date: January 20th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bally's is evil

I've had similar experiences with Bally's. They really kind of suck as far as getting out of the contract with them... Up until about 2 years ago, I would still periodically get letters from them about money they say that I owe them and I have had nothing to do with them for over 10 years.

As for forgetting things, you might want to leave a permanently packed reserve of essential clothing in your gym bag so that if you forget to pack something one day, you at least have a back-up waiting for you... That's how I got through 15 years of rugby matches!
_goodintentions From: _goodintentions Date: January 20th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want to sign up for a gym sooooooooooo badly, but every place I look you have to be 18 or over. Stupid stupid stupid.

And they wonder why our youth is so fat -.-
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: January 21st, 2005 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you tried the Y? (YMCA/YWCA)
_goodintentions From: _goodintentions Date: January 22nd, 2005 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
No I haven't thanks for the suggestion!

I'm 14, so all the 18+ rules suck for me.
thelifeofbrian From: thelifeofbrian Date: January 21st, 2005 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe you'll want to leave an emergency bag in your car with those essentials that really aren't that noticeable...

All of this confirms my decision to bring the gym to me (i.e., it's in my basement). Though some mornings I wish I still had the excuse. (12 degrees, 4 inches of snow? I guess I can't go to the gym in this weather. Oh, yeah, I just have to go downstairs....)

Hang in there, it's the first 2 or 3 weeks that are the toughest. After that, you're through the wall and on your way.
homeless_one From: homeless_one Date: January 21st, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Life on the Treadmill

You might want to consider keeping your knee (and yourself) off the treadmill for a while. I am no doctor, but you might want to choose -- say -- an exercise cycle over the treadmill. That lkeg has been hurt and out of action for a while. You don't want to reinjure it.

Build it up slowly. Cycle gently to get motion. Lift weights gently to build strength. Swim if you have access to a pool. Walk up stairs.

You are a competitor. You will know when that knee really is ready to pull its weight. Untill then, work it gently.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 24th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Life on the Treadmill

Oh I did a fair amount of cycling over the summer/fall, so it's gotten fairly strong. I was "cleared" by my doc to start running carefully a little after 6 months. (Now I'm at 9) I definitely don't overdo it!

My biggest problem is side-to-side motion, but it's hard to find a gentle way of doing that. Skating cautiously helps.
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