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Living Well Health Club and Gym

Sarah tells the story of her visit to the Living Well Health Club and gym in Peterborough (UK). If you find the thought of joining a gym scary this should put your mind at rest

LivingWell Health Club and Gym

Click here to see Sarah at the gym!!!

Having never stepped foot in a gym before, I was unsure what to expect from the LivingWell Health Club in Peterborough (UK). I had conjured up images in my mind of "Perfect 10" females running on the treadmills, and guys with muscles to rival Arnie, pumping iron in front of ceiling to floor mirrors.

Living Well's reception area was welcoming with relaxing music playing in the background. To the left was a café with a large seating area of sofas and tables. To the right was small shop selling various bits of fitness equipment and clothing. I was greeted by a smartly dressed receptionist, who gave me a simple form to fill out and a towel. While filling out the form I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to happen to me when I entered the gym.

I was looking forward to having a work out plan drawn up and setting goals but was also anxious about actually having to use the machines in front of so many people. What if I couldn’t lift the weights? Or fell off the back of the treadmill? What would people think of me? I put my attention back to filling in my form. It asked me to tick boxes for areas of the health club I was interested in. I ticked them all. A lady named Ros then took me on a guided tour around the club.

Our first stop was the swimming pool. After telling Ros that I’m not a terribly confident swimmer she suggested I take part in the adult swimming lessons run at the club. You have four adults to a class and it costs £55 for 10 lessons. Ros then talked me through the jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas explaining how there were two of each to help cater for everyone. One of each is set at a higher temperature so that you can choose which your prefer. I thought this was a lovely touch. I was then shown to the changing rooms, which were also spacious. Communal changing areas were separated by individual cubicles and surrounded by mirrors. At each mirror was a hairdryer, cotton wool pads, hair gel and body lotion, there was even an iron and trouser press. Living Well seems to be at the luxury end of the health club business.

I was then taken to the dreaded gym! While wandering around I quickly saw that the images I'd formed in my head were far from true. A variety of people could be seen working out on a wide selection of machines. I realised that this may not be as bad as I had anticipated. Our final stop was one of the two full size studios. This was where I found my ceiling to floor mirrors. 70 classes a week are run in these studios from yoga to body combat.

Once I was ready I made my way back to the gym and was met straight away by a smiling face and a man who introduced himself as Mark, my instructor. Mark was well presented and seemed genuinely friendly, right from the start. When I told him I was nervous he soon reassured me that everything would be OK. This helped to put me at ease. I had to fill out another form that asked about what I found to be important to me health wise and how often I would be using the gym.

Mark explained to me how using the gym 3 times a week instead of just 2 would benefit me and convinced me to aim for three sessions a week. We then focused on my goals and established that I wanted to improve my overall fitness level and tone up and maintain my current weight. It was great to see that I wasn’t just been thrown into it and that my plan would be personal to me. Mark also took this time to show me a plan of the classes that are run and tell me about ‘Personal Training’. All classes at Living Well come included in the price of membership although ‘Personal Training’ comes at an additional cost of £25 for one hour with an instructor one-on-one.

Next came the part I had been nervous about. We stepped into the gym to start the induction. We wondered around various pieces of machinery. With each piece Mark demonstrated how to programme it and showed me what I needed to do to ensure that my technique is correct. He then made me have a go, which was actually quite a laugh. We had a giggle whenever my arms and legs were flying places they shouldn’t be but it was obvious that we were laughing together, not him laughing at me. I found that the more machines I tried out, the more I relaxed. As we walked round Mark wrote down the pieces of equipment I am to use and the level I am to try to work to on my progress card. I can use this each time I come to the gym to keep track of how I’m doing. As we were trying out each machine Mark explained about the areas of my body each machine works and the benefits I will get from it.

These are the pieces of equipment I am to use:

  • Treadmill – to improve my overall fitness level
  • Total body cross trainer – to improve my overall fitness level
  • Rowing machine – to improve my overall fitness level, tone up arms
  • X Robics – to strengthen legs muscles and improve overall fitness level
  • Weight machine to tone up outer thighs and bottom
  • Weight machine to tone up inner thighs
  • Weight machine to work my biceps
  • Weight machine to work my triceps
  • Weight machine to tone up my lats
  • Fit ball – to work my abs
  • Ab trainer – to work my abs

I found that I liked the cardiovascular machines and the fit balls the best as they help the areas I would like to improve the most.

I wasn’t too sure about the weight machines for my arms but I know that this is only because I find it quite hard at the moment. I am on the bottom weight, and still find it hard which disheartens me a bit, but my motivation to keep trying is that soon I will be strong enough to move up to the second weight. I will be very proud of myself when this happens!

I left the gym feeling much more positive than I had entered and had to admit to myself that I was looking forward to coming back to try it on my own.

My Living Well gym induction lasted for 1¼ hours and after I went to the changing rooms where I showered and changed. I then treated myself to a pot of tea from the club's café, which also serves breakfast, lunch and larger meals.

I left the health club feeling refreshed and surprisingly confident. I knew that I had made a positive change in my life and that with support from Mark and the other members of Living Well staff I could stick to it.

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