Updated: Jan 19
This is an absolutely true story from one of our members, who has been with us for over 6 years, but she did not have an easy introduction to the world of gyms.
Sarah is in her mid 40’s and as it's a New Year, She decides it is finally time to lose some weight. She's never been to a gym before, and she has had a shoulder injury for a few years, ever since she tripped over once, it has never been the same. Sarah doesn't have much free time between her job and looking after her elderly parents, but she thinks that she will be able to get to exercise twice a week after work, and on the occasional Saturday, so she buys some new clothes and heads down to the local leisure centre to join the gym. She’s determined to make a big change so she signs up for a year's membership.
She is pointed towards a door and walks into a huge room full of equipment and even more full of people with bulging muscles they are sweating and grunting away, lifting weights and pounding away on weird and wonderful machines that she hasn't got the faintest idea how to use! Not one of the other people is even close to her age, and they all look like they know what they are doing. After waiting 15 minutes for a free machine she steps onto a treadmill between two people in their early 20's running at quite a speed. She wants to take it easy on her first day so after pressing a few buttons, she gets it to a brisk walk and inclines the deck so that there is a bit of a hill, success, she is finally exercising!
15 minutes pass, and now there are a few people who are now waiting for a treadmill behind her, (tutting and staring at their watches) and as everyone else is running and she is walking, so she decides to cut it short and gets off. After having not done any exercise for a while she's quite out of breath and a bit red in the face anyway!
So what to do now? The free-weight section is full of people, and to be honest, she doesn't really know which exercises she should be doing anyway. She doesn't know how any of the machines work, and she doesn't want to damage her shoulder, so she heads over to the mats and does some sit-ups and a few stretches that she saw in a magazine.
Almost an hour has now passed since she arrived, so she decides to call it a day, but makes a mental note to come back when it is a bit quieter.
A few weeks have passed and she's been in for a few sessions. She can now last for 20 mins on the treadmill without getting too out of breath and can even manage a gentle jog, although a few times she hasn't spent that long because of the people asking her if she was 'nearly done' so they could get on (why do they always ask her, and not the other people?!?). But although she can see that she's improving, she doesn't look any different and her body shape and weight hasn't changed at all! So she musters up a bit of courage and walks into the weights section. It feels like everyone is staring at her, but she finds a free bench and picks up 2 x 6kg hand-weights and starts to copy an exercise that the man on the bench next to her is doing. Big mistake, that one hurts her shoulder! So she tries the one that another person is doing.
Just as she starts, a young male personal trainer asks her if she wants a few pointers. At last - Someone to help her! His name is Tom and he's just qualified as a personal trainer. He explains that his sessions are £45 per hour but would do a discount if she booked 10 sessions for £400 which seems like a good deal, so Sarah agrees to go for it. Tom recommends that they do 2 sessions per week, which is what Sarah wanted to do so they book them in. It's tricky because Tom already has a few clients at the time when Sarah normally comes to the gym, but nonetheless, she rearranges her diary to fit them in. 5 weeks later and Sarah is now starting to make some progress. She's done 7 PT sessions with Tom, she had to miss one because she wasn't feeling well and Tom was on holiday for a week.
Tom asks if she wants to book another 10 sessions. Sarah would love to do this, but in the 2 months she has been at the gym, she has already spent almost £1000 - her gym membership, PT sessions with Tom, and her new gym clothes, so she thanks Tom, for his help and politely declines.
So once more, Sarah tries to do her gym sessions on her own, after all, she has learned a few exercises from Tom, and feels a bit more confident. But without him there, the gym sessions just aren't the same. Some of the men in the weight section are quite rude and she just doesn't feel like she should be there. So reluctantly, Sarah goes back to just using the treadmill. A few more weeks pass, and Sarah just isn't enjoying going to the gym anymore, her sessions are boring and she has stopped improving so little by little her sessions become less frequent until she just stops going.
After being a member for a year, and not really using it, Sarah decides to cancel her gym membership.
Now that story might sound very believable, and that’s because it is a true story of one of our members! Sarah was very reluctant to join FIT because this was the exact experience she had, the last time she wanted to lose some weight!
Although Sarah didn’t have a very good experience, we can see that this wasn’t particularly anyone's fault.
Sarah didn’t do anything wrong, she attended the gym but it just clearly wasn’t the right place for her.
Tom was helpful and professional, and even discounted his services but Sarah was still paying £80 per week, on top of her gym membership!
The other gym members might have seemed unfriendly and to be a bit of a roadblock, but they were just trying to do their own workout and probably had some of the same problems as Sarah!
But ultimately, Sarah ended up spending a lot of money, effort and time, and really didn’t get any results. You might remember, in her first session, she went through all that to do 15-minutes of walking and a few sit-ups and stretches - she didn’t need to pay any money at all to do that!
So when I was talking to Sarah, we looked at how this would have been different if she had joined Fitness In Time instead:
Firstly, she did not need to buy any new clothes to fit in! We don’t have a dress code, and there is no ego here. We just want you to be comfortable.
She would have got a thorough induction when she joined. The induction is where we talk through your goals, any injuries or health conditions and discuss a plan of action to help you achieve your goals. We then take you around our state-of-the-art gym and we show you how everything works. Most importantly, we write you an easy-to-follow programme that is right for you.
Sarah would have been doing exercises to HELP her shoulder, not make it worse! Our friendly, female coaches are experienced in a wide range of health conditions - and, we are experts in weight loss, and women’s health! We also work with physios and health professionals to sort out injuries, niggles and problem areas. Hundreds of members have improved or completely eliminated chronic pain that has troubled them for years.
She would have had a personalised gym programme to follow for her workouts. Our members get a programme to follow for their sessions. This takes into account their goals, their abilities, and the areas they want to focus on. Everyone’s programme is unique to them.
She would have saved so much time! Workouts at FIT only take 30-minutes. Our circuit training system means you never have to queue and there is no wasted time - everyone moves together. So you get the structure, community and motivation of a fitness class, but the personalised workout of a PT session! This means that workouts are easy to fit in around a busy lifestyle, and as you don’t have to book, they are easy to squeeze in if you have a spare 30-minutes.
She would not have felt like she shouldn’t be there! We are a women-only gym and the majority of our members have never been to a gym before. We welcome all ages, but most of our members are over 30 (and our oldest member is in her 90’s!). We are all welcoming and friendly, and we are experts in slimming down and weight-loss so you don’t need to feel self-conscious with us.
She would have done the right exercises for her goals. Sarah spent the first 3 weeks of her gym membership without doing any resistance training at all - which is exactly what she needed to be doing as her goal was weight loss! This is a very common mistake as most people think that cardio exercise is the best way of losing weight.
She would have saved A LOT of money. At FIT, we are here to help you, not to sell you something. We do offer very reasonably priced personal training sessions, but all of our memberships come with a monthly 1-to-1 session with a coach, and we encourage you to ask questions, and get our advice. There is always someone on hand to answer questions, give you advice and support and keep you motivated.
She would not have got bored. We write you a new gym programme every two months so that you never get bored and you keep getting results. On top of this, we run lots of challenges, competitions, and new ideas to keep your workouts interesting, fun, and effective.
She would have been with people who are like her. No one likes to stick out or feel unwelcome, particularly when you are trying something new and probably a bit out of your comfort zone. That’s why we make FIT a nice place to go. We have a wonderful community, and our members and staff come to FIT each day because they like it here! We know that you will too, so now that you have read Sarah’s story, please give us a try and take the plunge. You can book a free consultation right now and very soon you could be on your way to feeling healthier, happier, and on your way to achieving your goals.
We’ve changed the names and she was too shy to let us take a picture of her, but she kindly said that we could tell her story and hopefully inspire others and make sure they don’t make the same mistakes!