I wrote last week about my increased understanding regarding the impact that exercise can have on mental health and outlining some of the actions I had planned to try and improve my levels of activity.
One of those actions was to join a gym which I did and I picked up my membership card last weekend but this evening was the first time I actually went for a “workout”. I am still working on a plan and when / how many times a week I will go to the gym so today was just dabbling a bit. I did the following:
- 5 minutes on a rowing machine
- 4 sets of 5 reps on a shoulder press at 10kg
- 5 minutes on a cross trainer
- 4 sets of 5 reps on some machine you stick between your legs
- 5 minutes in a sauna
- 5 minutes in the spa pool
Doesn’t sound a lot but I was knackered by the end of it… Once I have a plan in place the emphasis will be on strength training but as I said, just dabbling at the moment.
Things I learned
As the title of this post suggests, there were a few things I learned from my trip to the gym today and thought I would just summarise a few of them below….
Check How The Lockers Work
I had assumed for some reason that the changing room lockers would work in a similar way to those in public leisure centres where you just stick a pound in and get it back when you’re done. The gym I’ve joined (Virgin Active) require that you have a padlock if you want to secure your stuff whilst you are working out.
I was able to purchase one from reception but it cost £10 and was a bit annoying as I had one at home that I could have brought. Still, my own fault for not checking….
Ask Someone to Show You Around
When I walked out of the changing rooms I was a
bit exactly like someone who had walked into their local supermarket to buy some groceries during a store refresh. I didn’t have a clue where the fuck anything was (this is a bit of a sore point with me at the moment as my local supermarket is going through a store refresh – seriously, they have put the eggs in a really weird fucking place :/ )
I ended up wondering around randomly for a while (including nearly ending up in several areas that were Women only) and randomly selecting machines to try based on having a vague idea on how they might work. This was totally my bad, I signed up online and really should have asked for someone to show me around on my first visit.
Read the Instructions on the Machines
I won’t go into too much detail on this, mostly because I am too embarrassed but suffice to say I spent several minutes trying to work a machine that was meant to exercise my thighs with my arms… The instructions are there for a good reason. Read them.
Take foot covers out of pockets before going in the spa pool
Virgin Active Kindly provide a dispenser with foot covers to put on when walking down from the changing room to the pool and Spa area. Once I got down there I thought I’d put them in the pocket of my pool shorts to use when I got out and walked back upstairs.
So I was there, chilling in the Spa pool and heard two ladies next to me laughing. I looked around to see what they were laughing at and discovered that my foot cover things had made a break for freedom and were floating around the pool like mini inflatables. So yeah I guess I’ll buy some flip flops or something instead….
How Did I Feel Afterwards
Part of the reason I decided to make today my first visit to the gym was that after a pretty good run over the last few weeks my mood has been pretty shit over the last 24 hours or so and thought it would be a good time to start trying to add complimentary approaches to my medication.
I made a few gym faux pas on my first visit but I guess the most important thing is how I felt afterwards.
As you can tell from above, I didn’t do anything particularly intense today but I can honestly say I felt better for getting out of the house on an evening and actually doing something active. I also took a lot of inspiration from looking at the people around me and seeing other people trying to improve their health (whether it is for mental or physical reasons really didn’t matter to me)
It was definitely a positive experience and I am looking forward to my next visit, My good buddy Emma mentioned Fitocracy as a useful app for putting together a gym plan and will be giving that a try over the coming days.