Friday, April 22, 2011

This Might Just Work

I joined a health club about three weeks ago. So far, the experience has been decidedly different. Normally, the exchange goes: "Here's my money." "The equipment is over there." The attendants are so beefy that chubby little ol' me is too intimidated to ask, "how do you work this damn thing?"

Total Health is run by the local hospital. It started as Total Rehab, a physical therapy/rehab center. They moved into a larger facility, added aerobic and weight machines, changed the name and allowed the public to join.

After getting a release from my doctor because of certain conditions, they conducted a health assessment. They check your height and weight, do a simple treadmill test, hook you up to some sort of body composition analyzer and ask you questions about your reasons for joining, your health goals and problem areas (i.e. mine were my right shoulder, lower back and knees). Then, they do something I have never had any exercise facility do for me as part of the membership at no extra charge. They developed an exercise program for me.

At the end of the health assessment I set up an appointment about 2 weeks out. In that time, the... oh, let's call him a health consultant... prepares an exercise routine designed to strengthen my problem areas and move me toward my fitness goals. I met with him last night and it turned a usually random and futile experience into something meaningful.

We first went over my goals again and discussed how to get the best benefit out of it. I had to reaffirm my commitment to 3 days a week and was told the sessions had to be at least an hour. Then he took me around to each of the machines he thought would be most helpful at this stage. He demonstrated each machine, told me what muscles it would work and how it would address my problem areas, and had me do a set. He told me that the last few of each set should require some effort and after each machine he would ask if I felt the weight level was correct. All of this he noted on an exercise sheet that is available for me each time I come in.

Finally, he showed me some stretches that will also help my problem areas and loosen up key areas, like my hamstrings. All through the process he made sure I understood that they were available at any time for questions about how the machines work, spotting a set to make sure my form is right, and advice about changes to my routine. He even told me to be sure to let him know in a couple of weeks how my shoulder is progressing to see if we need to make adjustments to strengthen it better or not injure it further. Honestly, part of my shoulder feels better already.

I feel like this is a partnership rather than a business relationship. Because they are associated with the hospital and are still a therapy/rehab center they are genuinely concerned with my progress and whether problem areas are improving. I feel like I have a trainer - or at least someone who will help me determine where my focus needs to be, encourage me and help me find an exercise regimen that works for me. As long as I'm willing to keep up my end of the bargain.

1 comment:

mary said...

I lift thing up and put them down