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The Gym for Regular People?

PlanetFitnessYou may have noticed me around the site recently. I’m a beginner to the fitness world and trying to become the best FBG a girl can be! I’ve never been much of a gym person. I can probably count the number of times I’ve walked inside a gym on one foot. Going to the gym requires getting in a car and working out in public, in a room full of Greek-sculpted fitness gurus. No thanks! That’s definitely not the place for this girl!

My younger sister Natalie recently acquired a membership to Planet Fitness. For $20 a month she can visit the gym as often as she likes and bring a guest for free. It’s a bit of a drive for me, but I figured “What the heck, I should see what this place is really all about.” It’s the gym for regular people, right?

We walked in and must’ve looked like we’d been there before because nobody really greeted us or offered assistance. I was feeling just a tad outside my comfort zone — an introvert, new to the fitness world. New experiences are scary! Natalie knew how to get us signed in and we dropped our valuables in a locker.

First Impression of the Gym

Wow this place is huge and hoppin’! I tried not to look directly at anybody (introvert alert). Is that something you do? Do you pretend you can’t see anyone else? I didn’t want anyone to think I was watching them.

Natalie asked what I wanted to do first. “Ummm, whatever you like to do,” I replied sheepishly. I seriously didn’t even know how to answer because the gym words I know are elliptical, treadmill, weights, muscles and sweat.

She told me she usually likes to start by stretching, then do some cardio, then work out various muscle groups on machines, and finish with cardio. Sounded like a plan!

They have a stretch room, which makes so much sense. Nobody wants to be bending, butterflying and splitting for an audience. Luckily there were only a handful of people in there with us.

Next we climbed on an Arc Trainer, something I can only describe as a smooth gliding elliptical. We were on those for maybe 10 minutes and I was feeling the burn! They seemed pretty self-explanatory, which I appreciated.

We rotated around the gym attaching ourselves to various machines. Natalie explained and demonstrated how to use each machine. There are little drawings and instructions on each, but I learn best by watching and doing! It made me wonder if a new member would get a tour with demonstrations. Natalie said she learned by reading the instructions.

It wasn’t long before the gym was packed! Rows and rows of people tuned into their machines. They have a line of TVs along the ceiling. You can put your headphones into the machine and select which TV you want to listen to. It felt like we were standing in a post-apocalyptic, robot-training zone.

The gym had a lot to offer, especially for the affordable fee. They had ample equipment, nice facilities, a spa room, and offer pizza and bagels at certain times of the month (SCORE!). The walls were bright and plastered with encouraging words, like “Judgement Free Zone.” It definitely felt like an inviting, everybody’s-welcome gym. There were people of all shapes and sizes at different places on their fitness journey. That alone inspires me.

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But it’s also still a gym. It’s still an indoor room, full of strangers movin’ and groovin’. I much prefer to be outside whenever possible. But the advantages are a climate-controlled atmosphere with a wide range of equipment. The best part of the whole experience was spending the afternoon with my hilarious, supportive sister. She’s definitely a FBG.

Natalie and I post-workout.

Do you visit a gym? What have you experienced? —Katie

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