Healthy Adventures: Joining a Gym!

Updated: Jul 26, 2018

I have been more or less ambivalent about gym memberships--I could take them or leave them and usually left them. In my 54 years, I’ve only been a member of two different gyms and dabbled with only two to three informal exercise programs. I grew up playing outside and that didn’t cost anything. I’ve often tried to imagine explaining to my grandmother, who had a garden and chickens and could do just about anything, the concept of paying to get exercise. (I’ve also tried to imagine explaining to her why we have four dogs in our house and have spent at least as much on them as we have our children. There are some things too embarrassing to imagine!) I digress.

The search for the perfect exercise program began with research. What could I, an obese 54 year old with a couple of messed up knees, really do? And, just as prohibitive, what could I afford? Who knew there were so many options?! I did a quick spate of karate about 15 years ago (I achieved green belt, I’ll have you know) and really enjoyed it, but I wanted something more aerobic. Kickboxing seemed like a good fit, but then there were the knees. There were boot camps, yoga, tabata, ufc, krav maga, pilates, and so many, many more options! Did you know that people want A LOT of money to take their classes? I need to quit teaching school and develop a workout program for fat, gimpy middle-aged-ish women and market the dog out of it to get a small, but lucrative, piece of the exercise industry. Again, I digress.

Finally, I looked into Lifetime Fitness in Alpharetta, GA. What drew me to Lifetime was the variety of classes, especially the water classes that seemed to be a good place to start for those with questionable knee health. We took a tour with Michelle and liked the facility.

There were tons of machines that I had no idea what to do with, but I saw rowing machines (I like the rhythm of rowing), a wide variety of free classes, basketball and squash courts (which I do not plan to use), indoor and outdoor pools (which I did plan to use), a climbing wall that I want to use, and great locker rooms with steam rooms and saunas. (The steam rooms have eucalyptus--so good!) There’s even a spa, hair salon, kids’ program, and cafe. A veritable one-stop-shop of wellness!! Lifetime membership rates and joining fees seem to change periodically, but I recommend that you check them out.

We joined, and now the hard part started. To get the most out of a gym membership, you have to actually go to the gym--in workout clothes. Eek!!! As I’ve been going there for almost six months, I now realize that there are many “normal” people that do not intimidate me just by sight, but, on those first couple trips, I didn’t see those people. I just saw those beastly fit people walking around with water bottles, earbuds, and attractively sweating. Thank goodness for Jasmine!!!

When we joined, we were given a free onboarding session with a personal trainer, and I got Jasmine!! She made the whole thing doable. She relieved some of the mystery surrounding those tons of machines, showed me the ones for me and my gimpy knees, and showed me how to work them without hurting myself. We also ran into Tonita, studio coordinator for that gym, who had been a neighbor in our apartments. She assured me I would do great and even offered to take a couple of classes with me!

Now I could breathe!

And that was just the first day!!!! I was on my way. We’re several months into our Lifetime membership, and one or both of us are there five to six days a week. I don’t necessarily feel like a pro, but I feel comfortable in my own skin there. Now, the next step...going to the pool!

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