An oneiromancer's first day at the gym

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    An oneiromancer's first day at the gym

    It's been 111 days since I started my darebee journey with wrinkled printouts of classic warmup, battle angel, and easy abs. My first solid goals achieved are being able to jog a mile without feeling terrible (it in fact makes me feel great now), some work on my abs, a tracked diet where I'm finally eating enough, and finally developed a tangible desire to keep working out until I die after seeing progress (countering depression, weakness, and other health problems).

    Today I went to a gym for the first time in my life and started a free 7 day membership. I had no clue what the machines were called and had a lot of general anxiety about rolling up to a gym fresh. What if the machines are gross, how do you wipe them down, what do you need to bring, how packed will it be, will I be the person riding the machine backwards and get stuck in the cables, etc?

    I did as much research as I could and asked folks about my worst fears in the unofficial hive discord chat. My conclusions were:

    1. All I need is myself and a water bottle
    2. I've gotta ask questions
    3. Every gym should have wipe down thingies (this gym has moist towel dispensers)
    4. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps with weights for whatever exercise you're doing
    5. Kinda pick a focus (e.g. "shoulders") and if you can make a list it'll ease anxiety
    6. Can't overdo abs (if you're out of things to do)
    7. Hopping on a treadmill or stair machine is a thing to do for 10-20 minutes if you feel awkward
    8. May not have to worry about showering on your first visit so don't get too crazy about planning that out

    So I did it. Drove over to the gym with:

    1. Bag containing: water bottle, Strength Training Anatomy book (Delavier), a pad with shoulder exercises listed out, and extra socks/underwear
    2. Clothing I could see my muscles in
    3. Old running shoes
    4. Serious desire to crush it without getting hurt

    My list contained shoulder press, pull machine face pull, lateral raise bent over, lateral raise, and lower back bench (3 sets of 15 each).

    Walked in and met the owner who gave me a tour while I told my darebee story about crawling out of depression. He was like "you seem to know your stuff" and I said "I have no idea what any of these machines are called or what they do." Got a full tour and made sure I went over every machine on my list of exercises (pull machine, row machine) in extra detail. There's a 7 day free trial (I got upped to 10 days free which is nice) and after I got my key fob for scanning in I went to it.

    - Shoulder press with dumbbells standing: 15x5lb, 15x7lb, 15x8lb
    - Pull machine face pulls: 15x12.5lbs (3 sets)
    - Lower back bench (I FELT THIS ONE) 12, 10, 5, 3
    - Lateral raise bent over with dumbbells: 15x3lb, 15x5lb, 15x3lb
    - Lateral raise standing with dumbbells: 15x3lb (3 sets)
    - Row machine 25lbx15, 40lbx15, 40lbx15
    - Face pull (machine again): 15x17.5lb (3 sets)
    - Stair climber for 8 minutes

    I felt amazing and got over feeling nervous almost immediately. Having giant mirrors to watch your muscles tense with each rep helps a lot; I have trouble even feeling/knowing what muscles I have and know I'll be doing some brain-body mapping like this for a while. I was able to calibrate how much weight was good fairly quickly by starting light and upping it the next set if it felt too easy.

    When I got on the lower back bench it felt impossible that the damn thing wouldn't tip over and land me on my face. After my second set though I started to have less vertigo and was able to really go at it. Holy smokes does lower back bench work.

    I'm really excited that the gym has a standing kick/punch bag so I can resume fighter's codex with a real target instead of air kicking.

    I honestly don't feel super tired but know that DOMS is delayed from my first goes at doing squats.

    Special thanks to Ryuji for some really specific advice on # of reps, where to start, what to expect, etc and the rest of the hive for constant inspiration.

    Fractal vortex of appreciation

    Way to go!!!


      I like to read stories like these, good move!