If you’re anything like me, you’re relatively active. I hit the gym, go for a walk or take a yoga class. But it’s hard to exercise regularly. Frankly, life gets in the way. Between everything we as parents do in a day (and generally not for ourselves!), it’s tricky to fit in time to work-out.
As we age and lose bone mass, I knew I should make it more of a priority. But I also knew I needed some guidance and motivation to get me started.
So I made the decision to sign up for four personal training sessions at North Vancouver Recreation & Culture. Not only did I want to know what I should be doing to improve my fitness and strength, but I wanted to schedule “mandatory me time” to actually get it done. I’m a fantastic procrastinator, but now these sessions are in my calendar. No excuses.
I met Rob, the Fitness Centre Supervisor at Harry Jerome, for the first session. Day One included a short consultation, a few minutes on five different machines and some basic gym information (here’s the sign-up board, here’s how you properly wipe down the machines etc.). Not scary at all.
As we talked, what did I learn?
#1. Being a “Weekend Warrior” is not a good thing
I tend to work out once a week and then maybe fit something else in during the week-- if it works in my schedule. Apparently I’m not alone. Since it can be difficult to squeeze in a workout during weekdays, many people wait until the weekend then jam it all in. Not good, according to Rob. Hitting the gym once a week isn’t enough to improve your fitness. Plus, you have a greater chance of injury when you work out sporadically.
First note to self as I exert myself on the elliptical machine: carve in a couple extra 20 minute sessions during the week.
#2. Don’t work-out too much
Despite how keen you are, for most people it’s not realistic to hit the gym five times a week. (Nix that New Year’s resolution early!) Plus, your body needs time to rest and recover. To avoid getting bored with your routine, cross train and do other things throughout the week to work different muscle groups. All in, three times a week would be good for me.
Second note to self: Be realistic and remember balance is key.
#3. Get proper instruction so you’re doing it right
To avoid injury and get the most from your workout, it’s important you use the right body form and the equipment correctly. Trainers see lots of mistakes at the gym. Rob said my posture was good on the elliptical machine, but I tend to hunch forward when using the other machines like the lat pulldown. Who knew? Poor posture is a bad habit that can lead to problems later on.
Third note to self: Tune out all other mental noise (you know what I mean) and focus on my form as I work-out.
So, Day One is over and I’m on a rest day. How do I feel? I’m definitely much more comfortable now that I know the gym and how to use the equipment properly. Plus I have a takeaway sheet that lists everything I did so I can refer back to it. Very handy.
How does my body feel? Great, except my legs are sore (or should I say “recovering”?). My homework is to repeat that initial routine two more times this week before I head to the next session.
And I’ll get on it-- as soon as my legs can get me there.
North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission offers a variety of ways to help you develop a tailored fitness plan. Sign up for a Get Started session with a personal trainer or learn in a small group setting with the First Time Fitness registered program.
Kari Buchanan Bio
Our blogger Kari is a busy and active North Van mom with three boys who all play hockey.
A graduate of UBC and BCIT, she’s worked in marketing and communications and now is spending more time pursuing her passion for words through storytelling and creating online content.
She is an active volunteer who loves home décor, travel, health and wellness and watching her kids play sports. When she’s not working at her computer, she can usually be found watching Netflix or exploring the North Shore.
Read Kari's blog article about her 2nd personal training session.