to think I'm too old, fat & uncool for their gym?

(38 Posts)
MariefromStMoritz Thu 25-Apr-13 07:04:14

OK, so I have recently returned to work after having a baby. Things have been extremely tight financially for the past year, but things are improving now that I am back at work. As a treat, I decided to join the gym for one month in order to kickstart a new fitness regime. I am not sure if I will continue with the gym after this, or do my own thing at home. I had major surgery when my DD was born along with some time in ICU so I feel I need the support of a gym and professional instructors, at least to begin with.

There are 2 gyms in my town, both very close to work. One is Fitness First, and I went there to sign up and told the salesman that I wanted to pay monthly. He tried every devious way possible to extract a full year's membership from me so in the end I didn't join up.

So the other gym here is marketed as a 'boutique' gym grin. It is all very stylish and when I went to have a look around, everyone was very friendly. There was no hard sales tactics and I immediately fell in love with the gym and wanted to join up. But it is expensive. Like, more than double that of Fitness First. I dithered a bit, but then my DH said that because I had had such a difficult time physically over the past year, he was happy for me to join.

So, I joined this gym. On Day One, I had an Induction. I explained that I did not know how to use the machines so needed to be shown. I also needed a Programme that I could follow. He didn’t do any machines with me, but did all floor work which he called a ‘Fitness Test’. I asked him if these exercise would feature in my Programme, and he said they would. So Day 2, I turn up and find my Programme. It is basically a list of machines. No settings, no timings. I complained. The management emailed me immediately and were very apologetic and made me an appointment with another trainer. So, Day 3. Induction with new trainer. She also did lunges, etc with me but when I asked her about a Programme, she said she didn’t do them! So back to square one. I complained again and the Head Trainer said he couldn’t see me until next Tuesday, but in the meantime he would write me a Programme and leave it at Reception. So, Day 4, today. Pick up my Programme, do the cardio, get to the machines… I couldn’t get them to work. I was pulling and pushing and looking for an ‘on’ switch… nothing. I felt so stupid. There was nobody around to ask as the trainers were both with PT clients, so I showered and left.

I feel so upset because all I wanted was a written Programme that I could follow: what machines to use, which settings and for how long. And to be shown how to actually use the machines. Is that too much to ask?

As I was leaving I looked around at this beautiful, stylish place with all these beautiful, stylish people and it occurred to me: maybe they don’t actually want me there. I am old and fat (compared to their other clients) and I just don’t look the part. AIBU to think this?

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 25-Apr-13 07:09:35

It's not good that you did not get a proper Induction. This is standard procedure I would have thought, so that you don't damage yourself by mis-using the machines. If you sued them, eg for a ham-string injury, they would be on dodgy ground, I think.Have only scan-read, but you are being seen on Tues, is that right? How long have you paid for?

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 25-Apr-13 07:10:47

It doesn't sound like the best gym for anybody. Looks nice, but not backed up by the service. A bit fur coat and no knickers...

MariefromStMoritz Thu 25-Apr-13 07:12:40

I paid for one month. All of the other punters seem to have Personal Trainers. I think I am the only one working out on my own. Perhaps I should add 'poor' to the list of 'old, fat and uncool'. grin

peggotty Thu 25-Apr-13 07:12:46

Yabu to think it's some kind of conspiracy against you based on how you look.

Yanbu if you were to think that your induction wasn't up to scratch and hadn't been tailored to fit your individual needs.

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 25-Apr-13 07:14:29

So. Good news is you only signed up for a month. Make the most of it while you are there, then run like the wind. Is there any way you can walk/cycle/jog with a friend instead for free?

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 25-Apr-13 07:16:14

It sounds like it is just a bit rubbish tbh, but when you are feeling overweight and self-conscious it is easy to assume it is this.

Rosa Thu 25-Apr-13 07:19:37

Don't give up think sod them I am doing this for me as I want to. Get your months worth and then re consider. i would phone speak to the manager and ask him to show you how the machines work seeing as no other trainers have bothered. insist as this is what you signed up for.
Go put on your earphones work out and feel better about your size and what YOU are aiming for , whether you are a 12 or 22 you are doing this for yourself ....

MariefromStMoritz Thu 25-Apr-13 07:26:46

Thanks girls. I feel much better already.

Yes, I can find other stuff to do (open to suggestions). I was just so, so scared. I imagined myself half way through a Jillian Micahels DVD and my uterus ruptur. That's why I wanted to go to the gym, just in case

ParsleyTheLioness Thu 25-Apr-13 07:29:31

Nah, you can't damage yourself by walking grin. If you were in North Staffs, I would offer to go with you.

annielosthergun Thu 25-Apr-13 07:29:52

Oh I hear you - but don't lose heart! I always felt so self conscious returning to a new gym after a break, like everyone was watching me and (secretly!) laughing at the fat one who couldn't remember how to use the machines! But after a few weeks, when you've cracked it, you will realise that ou are focused on your workout and not noticing anyone else at all so don't panic!

1. The PTs often use inductions to sell PT sessions. You are at your most unfit so most likely to sign up. It's annoying - but those lunges they did with you are great exercise. Try and do a few if you go back to the gym!

2. I did a few years with a personal trainer - we rarely used machines for weights - though they are better when you don't feel so confident

3. Gyms love people who turn up regularly and improve their fitness and muscle tone, I am sure, totally sure, that they have just messed up because they are used to people who vaguely know how the machines etc work and it has nothing to do with hoe stylish you are!

Good luck! Give it a couple more goes and if you are still unimpressed you can always leave but fingers crossed your proper induction (3rd time lucky!) is better and you feel much more confident after

EmmaBemma Thu 25-Apr-13 07:59:12

Yes, it's nothing to do with how you look. It's just basic laziness and unprofessionalism.

Incidentally, I'm a regular at the gym and I never pay much attention to other people there, and if I see someone looking a bit new and flustered I feel, if anything, sort of "good on you", as I know what it takes to get started with a fitness regimen. I did have the trouble you did with the cross trainer when I first went - was trying to turn it on for ages, was very confused by lack of power cord, had to get someone to help - turns out it was dynamo-powered and you have to start using it to get it to turn on automatically! I was mortified, but really how are you supposed to magically know these things. Everyone was new once.

MariefromStMoritz Thu 25-Apr-13 08:48:24

Yes, I think you are right, EmmaBemma. So I'll do my month then go native!

Twattybollocks Thu 25-Apr-13 08:58:10

It's just a shit gym I'm afraid. Dh and I own a gym which is very much a spit and sawdust job, it's not sleek and shiny, but all the people who go there go to get fit/weight train and not to ponce round in Lycra lookin good. I suggest you look round for a small family run gym not a chain and when you go in look at what people are wearing. Cycling shorts trainers and a tee shirt are the norm in our gym for ladies, as many of our clients are 40+ and in any case they don't go to the gym to pose they go to train!
Also somewhere that does Single sessions would be a good bet so you don't end up signing up for somewhere that you don't feel comfortable with.

pinkdelight Thu 25-Apr-13 09:10:26

If you've lost a week due to their incompetence, demand an extra week free, or some other kind of discount. If you're paying a fortune, it's just not good enough. Or get your money back and try the manager at Fitness First again. Depends how much you've got to spend. Like someone above, I did a short period with a PT not at a gym and we never used machines, but it was way more effective in getting me back to fitness swiftly and safely. A lot of them do discounts if you book a block of five or 10 sessions.

MariefromStMoritz Thu 25-Apr-13 10:59:50

Ooh, Twattybollocks, you own a gym. Would it be really cheeky to ask what you would recommend I do to get the most out of this month? Thanks.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 25-Apr-13 11:07:32

Just a thought, OP. If you are going to spend all that on a gym maybe you would do better with a personal trainer? I had one for nearly a year when I was training for a marathon and we are still friends and train as friends now. She was absolutely brilliant. A super healthy, vibrant, down to earth woman in her 50s, VAST amount of experience. It was such a positive experience and I still follow the programmes today when I can.

I would do a session with her once a week (usually) and she would set me the programme for the following week. I have never felt so all over fit and well.

Another suggestion is MUTU system which is a online training thing for mums after they have had babies. The woman who runs is is so lovely and positive, you get a programme to follow which includes videos and you can connect with other women who are following the programm online.

Might not appeal to you at all but just wanted to share the things that have worked well for me as someone interested in fitness who has never enjoyed gyms. Good luck, it sounds like you have had a very tough time of it in the last year or so.

Cherriesarelovely Thu 25-Apr-13 11:08:38

Sorry, one more thing. I trained with my PT outside most times with very little equipment and had a tiny amount of equipment at home, gym ball, a few weights, skipping rope.

2rebecca Thu 25-Apr-13 11:22:57

You shouldn't need a personal trainer with a good gym. I would phone up and tell them that you need someone to go through the machines with you asap as at the moment your money is wasted. I just go to the local council gym but the machines and how to work them was discussed. When I went to a private gym years ago on joining I was given a personal plan with how many reps on what settings etc but now I just start low and build up to what I'm comfortable with. If there are machines I'm unfamiliar with I either ask for help or watch someone else use the machine.
I would be refusing to leave until I had been shown how to work the machines. It shouldn't matter if the trainers are with PT clients, the gym should ensure it always has a spare trainer to deal with any problems. You have paid for a service and should be making them provide it. An induction of a gym should ensure you can work all the machines in the gym that you want to use.
Having said that with most machines you can press the buttons and get the hang of them fairly quickly, or watch other people.

I go to the local council run gym and you can pay as you go or sign up for membership (I pay around £35 per month and can use the gym and swimming pool at that sports centre or at any others in the same local authority). The induction is included in the membership and they go through how to use the machines, what settings to use, etc. You can see one of the instructors to set up a programme for you too - also included in the membership price. I dont go to the gym much but to try to do 5-6 classes per week of body pump, zumba, powerhoop, etc. I find the classes more social.

LessMissAbs Thu 25-Apr-13 11:41:01

Please, please stick with the gym, if only to dilute the number of annoying, middle aged men who strut about staring at us few women there! (especially the vile one in tight, shiny cycling shorts that revealed the entire structure of his private parts, who insisted on jiggling up and down on the mat next to me, unfortunately he had the face of an 80 year old). Honestly its not all like that though!

But...you have to be a bit self-motivated OP! Stop complaining and get doing. The weights machines are easy enough to work out yourself, or life free weights - google the technique on the internet, or simply ask another gym user or instructor - people aren't mind readers so if you don't ask, you don't do.

Much as personal trainers can be useful for people who've never trained before, IMHO they are an expensive waste of money. They can't give you self motivation, and it is perfectly possible for anyone to do gym work on their own. Stuff what other people think, just get on with it and do it!

Fillyjonk75 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:47:04

Going to the gym again has made a vast difference to me. But you have to decide what you want from a gym. And the one you're at doesn't sound very good at all. But what I would say is, while full inductions, chapter and verse on the equipment, fitness and fat tests and a full programme used to be par for the course in the inductions at gyms, they now try and sell you personal training to deliver this. However, if you really don't know what you are doing, I would recommend a few personal training sessions anyway.

I had a conversation with a mum yesterday that made me realise I got very different things from my gym than she got from hers. I just want decent equipment, for it not to be too busy, and a good range of classes at times I can attend. I pay £36 a month at the council gym. I go to the gym, work out for just over an hour and go home again.

She pays twice as much, goes to a posh gym, sits in the jacuzzi with her friends, has nice lunches in the cafe, using it more as a social/country club.

niceguy2 Thu 25-Apr-13 12:00:19

Gym's are crap. Full of people watchers. I also hate how sweaty the air gets and i find it hard to motivate myself. The treadmill bores me to tears and the weights are always monopolised by body builders.

I discovered BMF several years ago and it's got me fitter than I've ever been. People talk to you, you have a laugh. Many of the regulars will be coming to my wedding later this year. There's people from all walks and all shapes & sizes. The instructors push you and the team spirit motivate me far more than watching the TV on a treadmill. I also never have to sniff anyone's sweat since i'm outdoors. An hour doing that and I'm far more knackered than a couple of hours at the gym.

Couldn't recommend it enough if you are self conscious about the gym. I find they are soulless places.

fromparistoberlin Thu 25-Apr-13 12:05:42

yabu to think its about you and how you look

they are just shite!!!

MariefromStMoritz Thu 25-Apr-13 13:08:09

yabu to think its about you and how you look

they are just shite!!!

Ha ha! This made me laugh so loudly, everyone in my office is looking at me grin

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