Making The Move To A Gym

First, let me say this is my very first post to the forum. To be honest, I've been using the myfitnesspal app for quite some time on my iPhone and iPad (the iPad version seems to have issues right now) and I love it for tracking my calories. I truly believe it has been the single most important tool in helping me to drop from 418 pounds to my current weight of 265 pounds.

Having lost over 150 pounds strictly through reducing my daily calorie intake and walking, I recently decided it was time to move into the next logical phase of my journey and that was to join a local gym.

One reason is because I live in Canada and I'm not a fan of the cold weather so this will allow me to walk on the treadmill indoors and stay warm. The other reason I joined last weekend was to begin weight lifting to make an effort to tone and tighten some of the loose skin I now have on my thighs, stomach and arms.

When I played football and rugby in high school, some 26 years ago, I was overweight then but in fairly good shape. I was a fast runner and I weight trained daily but without any real guidance. To be honest it was more to impress the girls.

But now I just want to try and increase my strength and overall appearance in time. After joining the gym last weekend, this past week I walked 30 minutes on the treadmill six days and alternated arms and legs in the weight room. I also threw in some shoulder and ab exercises as well.

I guess what I'm wondering is if I'm on the right path? Is this a good place to start before getting more intense or targeting more specific areas? Should I try planking, which I've only really heard about recently?

I do enjoy going to the gym and think I will get more comfortable there the more I go but as a larger man still I am a bit self-conscious about how people will look at me and judge. I guess those childhood bullies are still with me a bit. Having said that, most people that I've talked to at the gym have been very nice so far.

Any way, thanks for any input, thoughts or advice. I do appreciate it.

Ontario, Canada


  • candiceh3
    Well done on the weight loss. That is phenomenal!

    I think you are on the right path by doing weights. All I would suggest is to swap some of the walking for HIIT. That is, when you are walking, add a 1 minute jog into the mix every 3-4 minutes. You can google a few HIIT treadmill workouts.

    It takes less time than walking and burns more calories (and raises your metabolism more, and adds muscle if you do it right).

    Though you might want to take a break between HIIT and weight lifting your legs.
  • Bundyman
    Bundyman Posts: 42 Member
    Thanks Candice. I'll look into HIIT online and check it out. Never heard of it before. When I walk outside, I do occasionally jog a bit mixed with the walking. I'll have to look into trying that on the treadmill. The machine is still a bit foreign to me but in time I'll get a better grasp of it.
  • candiceh3
    Awesome. Took me a while to figure the machines out too. Did they give you a gym orientation? The PT's might be able to show you then. Or don't be ashamed to ask them to show you!
  • cafeaulait7
    cafeaulait7 Posts: 2,459 Member
    Congratulations! Amazing weight loss :)

    The gym is excellent, particularly if the weather is not to your liking. Get a plan for the weights and you'll make more progress or know better how you are progressing. There are plenty online, really. Find a well-used one by a pro that fits your goals and equipment, and you'll be good to go!

    The PTs might already have a great one; I agree. Just research whichever plan it is and learn the pros and cons or reasoning behind the choices. Consistency is the main thing, but you do want to know that you are starting with a solid framework :) Good luck!
  • mrsamanda86
    mrsamanda86 Posts: 869 Member
    For the treadmill, the c25k plan would work perfectly if you want to do more than just walking. I did my own version of that as I'm in a workout plan where I only do 10 minute intervals on different type cardio machines at a time. I am now able to jog at 5.2 mph for 10 minutes straight, which I have NEVER been able to do, even as a skinny kid lol
    Other than that, sounds like you are doing pretty decent figuring it out. If your gym offers a PT you could look into that and see what they would suggest. I have a guy I meet up with once a month for two days and he gives me 2 different workouts to alternate between. I love it!

    Edited because I rushed and forgot a word haha
  • MissMormie
    MissMormie Posts: 359 Member
    But now I just want to try and increase my strength and overall appearance in time. After joining the gym last weekend, this past week I walked 30 minutes on the treadmill six days and alternated arms and legs in the weight room. I also threw in some shoulder and ab exercises as well.

    First of, congratulations on your weight loss, that's a big effort! You're going in the right direction. And you're right weight training is the best next step to change your body composition around.

    I'm guessing you want to see progress without it taking hours and hours. And the best way to do that is to use compound lifts. Meaning you're doing movements that train various muscles at the same time. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the machines don't let you do. They focus very specifically on a small part of your muscles, meaning you'll need to do a lot of different exercises to get a full training. Good lifts are for example the squat which uses your lower and upper legs, butt, core, and shoulders as well if you have a barbell in your neck. Or the clean and press (lift barbell from the ground and move it to overhead) which uses most muscles in your body as well. It saves time, makes you stronger faster and will help prevent injury as you are keeping your muscles in balance. You can find more on this here:

    Now if you don't like free weight or aren't sure what to do there the machines are fine as well. But try to focus here as well on the big muscles (legs, back, shoulders) as they will give you the most result for the time spent.
  • BlindHog25
    BlindHog25 Posts: 14 Member
    Does your gym have a personal trainer? Talk to them about an introduction to the machines and see if they will create a fitness plan for you. They are running a business and it is in their best interest to help you so you feel comfortable and gain success. Tell them all your concerns and they will help motivate you. Don't worry about other people - you are already way ahead then those sitting on the couch! Joining the gym was the best thing I did and keeps me motivated, especially once you get to know some of the people there and they ask where you were when you don't show up!
  • Bundyman
    Bundyman Posts: 42 Member
    Thank you everyone for your kind responses and insight. I truly appreciate it.

    A week and a half into my gym membership and I am enjoying it a great deal. I find that so far I start off with about 35 minutes on the treadmill doing intervals. I'll walk at about 6.3 km/h for a couple of minutes and then job at 9 km/h for a minute. I burn about 360 calories in that time and go about 3.5 kilometres.

    I'll then move into the strength training portion of my visit. I usually alternate between arms one day and legs the next. I'll also throw in some abdominal, back and shoulder work as well. The first couple of days I felt some pain using muscles I hadn't used in some time but to be honest, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Depending on the day I'm usually between 40 to 60 minutes lifting weights. I'll then jump in the therapeutic pool to relax for 15-30 minutes. It's quite relaxing.

    While I don't have any official routine, I have some favourite machines I use to work the muscles I want to target. Some day in the future I may target more specific areas but I just try to get in a good general workout.

    Thanks again for the advice.