Now that I’ve started to get into exercising a bit more and I’ve got into the swing of circuits class, Laura mentioned she could create a bespoke fitness plan for me to help me tone up the areas of my body that I most want to improve. This plan is COMPLETELY FREE for all members of Hope Park Sports – we’re so lucky to have all of these amazing facilities and services for just £25 a year! Anyway, back to the fitness plan. All I needed to do was fill out a short form to say what I wanted to achieve, and the staff at Hope Park Sports used this form to put together a plan that I can use in the gym.
When the plan was ready, I popped over to Hope Park Sports to be shown the machines I should be using, how long for and what weights I should use (if any). When I first saw the plan I was a bit nervous, it looked massive and I thought it would take me a few hours to complete, but Laura assured me it would only take 45 minutes to an hour.
My plan includes some cardio work on the bike and treadmill for general weightloss purposes, and then some weights for toning up my arms, legs and stomach. Some of the exercises should be done similarly to a circuits class: a set number of reps for 3-4 exercises, a short break and then repeat the circuit. Here’s my plan for anyone who’d like to see the full list of exercises:
Feeling bolstered by Laura’s encouragements, I went to the gym after work on Thursday and had my first go at completing the fitness plan. If I’m being totally honest, the session as a whole was a bit hit and miss. It was not to do with the fitness plan, which was really good, it was more to do with my confidence in being able to use the machines in the gym!
I was ok with the warm up on the bike, and felt in my element on the treadmill which was hard work but I really felt like I was working out, but when it came to the weights and machines I’d not used before, it went a bit downhill really. The first 3 exercises I could just about manage, but I was using the lightest bar weights and I felt very self-conscious that they were the lightest weights, when everyone around me were lifting much heavier. The triceps push down exercise is done using part of a very large (but impressive!) TRX machine, but it’s not something I’ve used before and again I felt really conscious using it. The chest press machine again I used the lightest weights as my muscle strength in my arms is non-existent, but as I was using it I could feel every ebb of confidence leaving me. By the time I got to the leg curl I was feeling pretty rubbish, and I had completely forgotten how to use it, but a student was kind enough to show me what to do and he made sure I was doing it properly for my first round of reps (thank you!). I skipped the leg plate machine simply because I was terrified to use it – I’ll try that when I have someone there making sure I don’t do any damage to my legs! For the core workout at the end, I only did this circuit once as I had been in the gym an hour and I had completely lost all my confidence by this point so I felt quite silly sitting on a mat doing these exercises alone.
The reason I’m telling you all this about having no confidence? Well, I went home that night feeling pretty deflated and vowing never to do the plan again, and especially never to go the gym by myself again! However, I spoke to my best friend McNee who has been going to the gym a while, and she told me that she felt exactly the same when she first started going to the gym. The more I chatted to her, the less silly about myself I felt. Ok, so I’m using the lightest weights, I don’t know how to use most of the machines in there and by the end of an hour in the gym I am a hot, sweaty mess – but everyone has got to start somewhere! And the more I go to the gym and use these machines, the better I’ll get and the more confident I’ll feel not only in using them, but in myself, and that’s the whole point of me going on this fitness journey.
So I’m going to go back to the gym next week and do this plan again. And if I can only lift the lightest weights then so be it, I will get better eventually! If you’re reading this and you want to go to the gym but you have no idea how to use the machines, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. If you’re worried that you will look silly using the machines – that’s completely normal to feel that way but to be honest, the only person who thinks you look silly is yourself. Except you’re not silly, you’re brilliant for trying something new and doing something to make yourself feel better.
My final thought for this week is I think we all need to love ourselves a bit more and be a bit kinder to ourselves. It doesn’t matter what age we are, or how in-shape or out-of-shape we are, we are beautiful. And if you want to feel better about yourself by going to the gym and trying something new then good for you – keep going because you CAN do it!
Next post I’ll update you on how I’m doing overall with my fitness journey. Thanks as always for reading 🙂
P.s I thought it was about time I introduced myself properly – here’s a picture of me straight after giving my fitness plan a go for the first time. Red in the face, tired, sweaty and feeling flat, but also feeling just that tiny bit proud of myself that I at least gave it a go – and I WILL do it again. I’m not giving up that easily.