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24hr Fitness/ Gold's Gym Personal Training

insp86

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Hey-

I need to lose weight. I'm resigned to the fact that my metabolism has slowed and I've become increasingly inactive as I've been more seriously into my studies (24 year old graduate student). My goal is 15-20 pounds by next May. Realistically, it isn't going to happen until the new year/semester because of finals then a couple of vacations... so we're talking about 4 months.

Right now I'm thinking my best bet would be to join a gym and pay for something like 8 half hour personal training sessions, once a week for two months. I figure that paying upfront and scheduling them at reasonable intervals will function as motivation.

My questions are...

Is 15-20 pounds in 3.5-4 months a good/reasonable goal? Trying to drop from about 185 to 170-165?

Is paying a few hundred bucks in gym membership/training wise or wasteful? Think I could just do it on my own or at my university gym?

Does anyone have any experience with personal training at either Golds or 24 hour fitness? Obviously it'll vary from location to location, but I'm curious...

Any other advice/suggestions? As soon as I get back next semester I'm going to be going from basically inactive to a real workout schedule, so any advice in getting going in that regard would be appreciated as well.

Cheers!

-Insp
 

feynmix

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As a grad student, I would save the money on a personal trainer and the gym membership. University gym is more than adequate, and in fact, better. If you just want to loose weight, I would say 3-4 days of cardio (30-45 mins) will be more than enough. 4 months for 15-20 lbs is a very reasonable goal, IMO.

Honestly dude, no need to get fancy if you need to loose weight. Just invest in some decent running shoes (from a running shoe store), and hit the treadmill or the streets. Start off slow, and focus on just being able to run/jog for a time period. Start with 1-2 miles, and slowly in a few months, you will be able to do 10k like its nothing. Good luck!
 

insp86

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Thanks man...

What do you think about doing it on an elliptical rather than running? I'm a little intimidated by the idea of just jumping on a treadmill (it will be January and running outside won't really be an option for awhile). A buddy of mine lost weight last summer using one and now swears by it. I'm old enough to not care that they're mostly used by 103 pound girls, if they work they work.

Originally Posted by feynmix
As a grad student, I would save the money on a personal trainer and the gym membership. University gym is more than adequate, and in fact, better. If you just want to loose weight, I would say 3-4 days of cardio (30-45 mins) will be more than enough. 4 months for 15-20 lbs is a very reasonable goal, IMO.

Honestly dude, no need to get fancy if you need to loose weight. Just invest in some decent running shoes (from a running shoe store), and hit the treadmill or the streets. Start off slow, and focus on just being able to run/jog for a time period. Start with 1-2 miles, and slowly in a few months, you will be able to do 10k like its nothing. Good luck!
 

Oldboy

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I was in a nearly identical situation 2 years ago and decided to hire a personal trainer at the local LA Fitness. I worked with him twice a week for 2 months and for the money I spent it was not worth it. Each session was $40 for a half hour of training - which is a waste since half an hour is not enough time for a proper workout! Besides, anyone who goes to the gym regularly has probably noticed that gyms go through A LOT of personal trainers. You'll be lucky to find one who has been there for more than 6 months. After 18 months of lifting on my own I honestly believe I know more than 95% of the trainers at my gym.

Your better off doing some research on the bodybuilding.com forums and coming up with a plan of your own. Or better yet, if you have a buddy who lifts weights have him/her set you up with a good routine and - most importantly - teach you proper form. I'd start with a simple 3 or 4 day split and then take it from there. Losing 15-20 lbs over the next few months is a piece of cake!
 

feynmix

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Originally Posted by insp86
Thanks man... What do you think about doing it on an elliptical rather than running? I'm a little intimidated by the idea of just jumping on a treadmill (it will be January and running outside won't really be an option for awhile). A buddy of mine lost weight last summer using one and now swears by it. I'm old enough to not care that they're mostly used by 103 pound girls, if they work they work.
Elliptical is fine too, but I would mix it up. 3-4 days of cardio, do 1 day of elliptical + maybe 10 of jog/run of treadmill, another day of bike + elliptical, maybe another day of rowing machine + running, etc etc. Just to give you some motivation. I was about 5'11 190 lbs in September of last year, and by December, I was running 8 miles easy. I have been at 160-165 lbs since January 2008. I still remember my first run, it was over a 2 mile lake and I felt like I was going to die after that run. Gradually, I built it up by increasing distance and keeping at it. When I run now, 4 miles is basically minimum. I just did a 8 mile run today + 10mins on the rowing machine, and I will probably do something similar tomorrow. Cardio is great. Once you start doing it for a few week regularly, not doing it or skipping it will make you feel weird. Make sure you drink enough water, and give your body adequate time to recover.
 

briancl

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I don't see how a 30 minute session would be of any use. If you want to spend a few extra dollars to get motivated and learn a few exercises, then go for the full hour. After the trainer shows you what you are capable of, and after you start to see some results, you'll probably be able to handle it all on your own.
 

thekunk07

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most personal trainers aren't worth their salt IMO. don;t know why they have skinny men and fat men doing one handed presses on bosu balls.
 

Big A

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I worked out with a trainer at Gold's for over a year and had some pretty good results. Then I stopped going all together and gained a bunch of weight. I started back with the intent of getting a trainer but couldn't find one I liked (or trusted). Started working out by myself a 4 months ago and have dropped 30 lbs and gotten more muscular and stronger than I ever was with my trainer (full disclosure: I am still a bird-chested weakling).

Here's how I did it:

1. Lift the heaviest weight you can for only 3-4 reps. Then drop it by 20-30 lbs (depending on the machine), do as many reps as you can, drop another 20-30, do as many reps as you can, and repeat until you get to about 50% of the weight I started with. DO NOT rest when dropping the weight - stop for as little time as possible to remove plates or move the pin. You only need one set of this per exercise, it is hard.

Also, you should move from exercise to exercise as quickly as possible. Plan your workout ahead of time, and if a machine or bench is in use, move to the next exercise - don't wait. Ideally your heart rate will stay around 120-130 bpm through your entire workout.

Next, work out one body area per session, once per week. I do chest / back / legs / shoulders / arms. Try to use compound movements instead of isolation movements (i.e., squats instead of leg extensions) . Obviously, you need to use some isolation movements on shoulder and arm days.

Finally keep track of what you are doing, do the same stuff each week, and ramp up the weight a little each week. Even if you just add 2.5 lbs you have to increase the weight.


2. DIET - this might be more important than the actual exercise - Do not eat white bread, white rice, white potatos, or extraneous sugar. Don't drink non-diet beverages or beverages with sugar. No gatorade, sweet tea, coke, etc.

3. Do eat wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, but in moderation. No more than a handful per day total (of all 3 combined)

4. Make a conscious effort to eat more protein and more vegetables.

5. DO NOT count calories. It isn't necessary.

6. One day per week eat whatever you want, and I mean whatever. Cake, cookies, pure sugar from a spoon, whatever. My weight loss didn't really ramp up until I started doing this - it seems you have to eat crap occasionally to convince your body it isn't starving. Your body got used to all of those juicy carbs, when they disappear I think it must slow your metabolism or something.

6. YOU DON'T NEED EXTRA CARDIO. Unless you really like it, don't do it. Your workout should take about an hour - during that entire time your heart rate should be in a good zone. More cardio is overkill unless you are an endurance athlete. I do zero cardio except for jogging once a week, and my resting heart rate has dropped 5 BPM, my VO2 Max seems to have increased, and my endurance is better.

7. Get plenty of rest. Go to bed earlier. You need the sleep to recover. Don't overtrain.

*****

As far as trainers go, it is hard to tell a good one from a bad one. I recommend hiring one for a session or two to learn how to safely do squats and deadlifts - after that, it is not necessary.
 

thekunk07

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^some good suggestions, but specificities don't apply to individuals. too much variance in body type, strength, metabolism, etc.
 

unexpected

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dude,

I actually went your route last March. Since then, I've dropped about 70 lbs. I hired the personal trainer, and I think for the state I was in, it was worth it.

I was basically a slob and was really, really lazy. I had absolutely no motivation to ever go to the gym, and my diet was a mess.

Now, I'm running my first marathon in two weeks!! (I know, I know, I sound like a commercial).

I've spent a ton of money on my personal trainer (almost $4,000...yikes...), but I think it was worth it b/c:

1) It helped me go to the gym consistently. In the beginning, I saw my trainer 3x a week. On days I didn't really want to go, I had to go, b/c if I didn't cancel more than 24 hours in advance, I would eat the session.

2) It helped me make better diet decisions. Not in the sense of the trainer helping me with my food choices, but in the sense (fuck, yeah, I can really have McDonald's, but then what the hell is the point of spending all this money on the personal trainer?)

The trainer was not that useful in terms of the actual workouts. The workouts were definitely good, but you can achieve the same thing on your own. Getting the trainer helped me with my consistency and discipline. I honestly don't think I would have been able to accomplish everything that I've been able to without the trainer- I've had so many "I'm gonna get in shape!" periods in my life followed by the "fuck it, it's okay being fat" flameouts.

So, I say get the trainer if you really struggle with the discipline and schedule. There's no reason to rush this though- The gym is always willing to take your money. Just wait 2 months, go on your own and see if you make progress. If you're not making progress, then get the trainer. Doing this will also let you skip the beginning of the year period when all the gyms jack up their rates.

I will say this though. 20 lbs is not all that difficult to lose. You could probably lose that in 3-4 months if you were casual about it, and 2 months if you were disciplined like crazy. The key though, is not going to be exercise. I know, I know, everyone will say "just run 30 min a day and you'll lose the weight", but diet is the most important thing.

It was a lot easier for me to lose weight when I was only running 20-30 miles a week as opposed to the 50-70 miles a week I'm running now. Subconsciously I eat more now, b/c my body wants a lot more food. I've been trying to fight this by portioning out all my meals, but it's so damn hard. It was a lot easier to lose weight when I was focused on lifting, with some really light cardio, and just being absolutely ruthless with my diet.
 

unjung

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Your university gym doesn't have trainers that are cheaper than Gold's?

I did have a trainer for six months and I was pretty happy with him. I had no idea what to do in a gym before that, and when I'm in a new environment, I like a little guidance, so it was helpful for that. He also pushed me a lot harder than I've been able to push myself since. I am tempted to sign up with him again just to work more on my core.
 

plhoang

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Costco has 2 year memberships for 24hr priced at $180 or so for the two years
 

knucks

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Ok, you want to drop 15-20 lbs. That's all fine an dandy, but realize this:
As you improve your diet and start whatever training, your body will probably hold less water than it is now. 5-10lbs less.
So your "real" goal is 25-30lbs, FWIW.

As far as cardio goes, there's nothing wrong with elliptical, but for fat loss I've had amazing progress (although VERY boring) walking on a treadmill for 40-45mins at a low HR.
 

teddieriley

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If you don't know what you are doing or know how to put together a program, and don't have time to research, get a trainer. Make sure you get an experienced one. Ask questions about whoever they assign you - like how long they've been doing it. If the trainer does not assess your goals in the first visit and by the second visit doesn't have a plan for you, ask for a different trainer (and a session back). Some are good, some are a waste.

My dad joined 24-hour and got a membership that came with 5 sessions or something. They gave him a new trainer who was a joke and didn't know what he was doing. He made my dad, who hadn't worked out at a gym before, do multiple sets of 15 rep work with more poundage than a true beginner should handle, especially with legs. Dad told me he couldn't walk for a week. I asked what the trainer made him do, and I was pissed. F'n trainer was a dumbass. But i've worked at 24-hour with some really good trainers who really educated themselves.

Last thing you want is to waste your time not knowing what you are doing and not being motivated. If you think you can just hop on an ellyptical a few times a week and eat less for a few months, and look great, you're kidding yourself. Sure you'll lose some weight since losing weight is the simple formula of burning more calories than you consume, but there are effective ways of doing it, and the way most people do it (the ones that go to the gym for years and never look any different).

If you got the money, dont' have the time to learn on your own, get the trainer, after asking the right questions.

Good luck!
 

Mauby

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If your goal is to drop about 20 pounds, then there's nothing better than cardio. Your university has a gym which you're already paying for in your tuition, so just use it, instead of buying a membership for a health club. Paying for all that personal training on top of the healthclub membership is a double waste. (Some of those trainers are certified through some $200 correspondence course through the mail dontchaknow.)

Go the bookstore and browse thru the nutrition books because you also have to pay attention to what you're putting into your body if you want to drop weight. Nutrition is even more important that cardio for dropping weight. As for the cardio, running, swimming, cycling, eliptical...mix it up. Don't let your body get used to one routine. After a few weeks, start lifting light/medium weights once a week...maybe try to get up to twice a week. Or instead of lifting, if your school has a climbing wall, give it a go. 20 pounds by May is a very realistic goal...it all comes down to your motivation. See if your school has one of those morning "boot camp" workout programs if motivation is a real problem.
 

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