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Intimadated by the Gym

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Old 07-18-2008, 12:20 PM   #1
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Default Intimadated by the Gym

I know I should join a gym. I am not getting my excersise done on my own. The thing is...I'm not the most socially confident person. I feel awkward in new places and around new people where I don't know the customs. I know that if I go and do something that draws attention because it is so wrong and "EVERBODY should know"...I won't go back. Not to mention all the hardbodies whispering in the corners. And no, I don't have a friend that could go with me and show me the ropes. Anyway...that is the picture that I have in my head. It keeps me home on the couch.

How did you work up the nerve to go for the first time? Were you intimidated? What can I really expect vs. this picture that I have in my head? Any hints on things that I need to be aware of so that I don't cross the "Everybody should know that" line. What is the deal with personal trainers? do I need one? how do I go about finding one? And How do I evaluate one from the other?

I know these are dumb questions that everybody should know...but I don't and that is why just the thought of walking into a gym terrifies me. Any helpfull info you can pass along to get me started?

Thanks,

D
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:39 PM   #2
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Do you have a YMCA near you? I started off going to a Y and I think that helped ease the transition. I have had memberships at Gold's, the Y, 24-Hour Fitness (now defunct). My favorite by far was the Y. There just seemed to be more of a mix at the Y.

As far as working up the courage, would you be able to access a personal trainer for a couple visits? You could learn a routine on the weights within a couple visits. I was lucky and one of my memberships included 8 sessions with a trainer. The information was invaluable.

Another way that I educate myself is by a whole slew of magazines. There's SELF, Shape, Women's Health. Those are all great mags. Until then, maybe just throw on your MP3 player and start some cardio until you gather up the courage to start weight training. A lot of those machines have TVs installed. What better way to ignore what else is going on around you. Just make sure you have your earphones. Good luck!
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:44 PM   #3
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I know I should join a gym. I am not getting my excersise done on my own. The thing is...I'm not the most socially confident person. I feel awkward in new places and around new people where I don't know the customs. I know that if I go and do something that draws attention because it is so wrong and "EVERBODY should know"...I won't go back. Not to mention all the hardbodies whispering in the corners. And no, I don't have a friend that could go with me and show me the ropes. Anyway...that is the picture that I have in my head. It keeps me home on the couch.

How did you work up the nerve to go for the first time? Were you intimidated? What can I really expect vs. this picture that I have in my head? Any hints on things that I need to be aware of so that I don't cross the "Everybody should know that" line. What is the deal with personal trainers? do I need one? how do I go about finding one? And How do I evaluate one from the other?

I know these are dumb questions that everybody should know...but I don't and that is why just the thought of walking into a gym terrifies me. Any helpfull info you can pass along to get me started?

Thanks,

D

It terrified me as well, but I joined and have been going for a few years, even at my highest weight. I've NEVER had anyone look at me funny, hear whispers in the corner, or anything of the sort ( and if they did, I didn't notice ) ppl are there to better themselves and their bodies, they aren't, or shouldn't be concentrating on anyone else. If they do, it should be in a positive light bc you're there for a positive reason.

Many to you. The first step of going is the hardest.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
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Awwww, I totally understand how you feel, but I've never had a gym experience like you're describing -- hardbodies' judgmental whispering, protocol and procedure, etc. Really, at least in my experience, the gym has always been pretty pleasant, the people either friendly or indifferent to you, etc. There might be a rule like "wipe off a machine when you're done," which you should maybe do anyways, but even if you don't no one will berate you for it; they probably won't say anything at all.

And MOST people at the gym are not "hardbodies" or even all that skinny -- most are either average weight or even a little overweight, and there are even a few who are REALLY heavy, and everyone just leaves each other alone. Granted, I go to a New York Sports Club in my neighborhood, which isn't all that glamorous (thankfully!) and I don't know what your area is like, but I suspect you'll find a similar demographic.

If I were you, I'd just go NOT intending to workout, but just to look around before you join. Someone will probably give you a tour and you can check out the atmosphere too.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:01 PM   #5
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Oh gosh, I totally understand the nervous feeling!

Could you afford a personal trainer for your first few journeys into the gym?

My gym is a tiny one, mostly based on weight lifting. Totally out of my element. There's just no way I would have braved it without a personal trainer. I needed someone to hold my hand (not literally you know!) and guide me around. The PT showed me what to do, from the moment I walked in I had a purpose - to lift and learn.

Personal trainers assess your abilities and strength and basically give you starting points of where you should be. If you continue training with one they'll be there to judge your progress, give you new exercises.

After a few sessions I was able to do it on my own with confidence.
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:32 PM   #6
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Maybe you should check out some gyms around you... look for a local gym thats small..I would never join a golds gym or bally.. for the exact same reason.
I go to a Gym X and I guess I picked a good one because the staff are super friendly and will teach you how to use a machine and not feel embarassed about it.. and they get to know you.. When I joined the first thing someone said to me was. we are like a big family here, everyone knows everyone.. and it is true. I go the same times same day and see the same people and I have never once felt uncomfortable or embarrassed.
and the majority of the people that go there are normal sized to overweight. you have a few skinnies running around but not many.. I guess they prefer the golds gym across the street lol.

ALot of people like curves.. I think you are with the same people everytime and do a circut work out?? have you looked into that?
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:46 PM   #7
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You might actually be surprised at how you are treated in the gym. Sure, there may be a few jerks there, but on the whole, most people are there to concentrate on their own fitness. They don't go there to ridicule or spend time judging others. And there are plenty of people just like you going there!

Try to go at times when the gym isn't full of the 'prep and pump' people (usually afternoons, I have found). Those that are there to show off. Serious gym people are there early in the morning, and late at night. Try to find a gym that gives you a few free personal trainer sessions to help you get your form right.
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:14 PM   #8
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I just don't understand where people get this perception that gyms are full of "hardbodies" who will stare and whisper. It really really really isn't that way.

I go to what is probably the closest version of a "singles" gym in my area (it's the one down by the mall where all the 20/30 yr old professionals go) and even then, there are a huge variety of people there - sure there are a few power lifter types and few gym bunnies, but mostly it's average people in a range of sizes and weights just minding their own business and doing their thing.

I've never had an experience in any gym where I've been mocked or laughed at - even at my highest weight and my most out of shape.

I dunno. I think we all spend too much time thinking about ourselves here - no one else *really* cares about what you're doing unless you're blatantly rude or annoying - talking on your phone, singing along to your music, whatever.

Just go ... give it a chance.

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Old 07-18-2008, 05:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by djay View Post
I know I should join a gym. I am not getting my excersise done on my own. The thing is...I'm not the most socially confident person. I feel awkward in new places and around new people where I don't know the customs. I know that if I go and do something that draws attention because it is so wrong and "EVERBODY should know"...I won't go back. Not to mention all the hardbodies whispering in the corners. And no, I don't have a friend that could go with me and show me the ropes. Anyway...that is the picture that I have in my head. It keeps me home on the couch.

How did you work up the nerve to go for the first time? Were you intimidated? What can I really expect vs. this picture that I have in my head? Any hints on things that I need to be aware of so that I don't cross the "Everybody should know that" line. What is the deal with personal trainers? do I need one? how do I go about finding one? And How do I evaluate one from the other?

I know these are dumb questions that everybody should know...but I don't and that is why just the thought of walking into a gym terrifies me. Any helpfull info you can pass along to get me started?

Thanks,

D
I totally understand where your coming from! I was in your situation a month or so ago. Fortunately, I found a friend to go with me and it wasn't as bad.

I, too, thought the hardbodies would be laughing/talking in the corner but I have not found that to be the case. I also work-out in the ladies-only area and it helps.

Just muster up all the courage you can and walk in.......it gets easier as you keep going. You'll be surprised at how supportive people are.

You also don't need to be "social". Plug in your headphones......and get your workout started.

I've found some days people are "chatty" and some does people are not. I find they are very respectful of people's privacy.

My 2 cents...

mf
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:58 PM   #10
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I concur with everyone else... and every person at that gym was "new" at one point or another, not knowing where things were or the procedures...so don't worry about that. I have not had a bad experience at a gym - and like the others - I have never seen anyone paying attention to the others there... if they do..well... who cares? You are doing something good for you.

Find a gym that works for you geographically and ask for a tour. Go see what all goes on, what machines they have, etc and check out the vibe of the place. Most gyms will give you a short term trial. Go a few days and see what you think. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:23 PM   #11
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I would say start off at someplace less intimidating like Curves where it's women only. Also, check out the local YMCA or recreational center. As you get stronger and more fit, you'll lose some of that intimidation, but it still hits me when I walk into my gym (which is full of great male and female bodies, and then ...me) but I just power through. I'll never look like them, I can just try to be the best me! Good luck!
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:33 PM   #12
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Find a gym that works for you geographically and ask for a tour. Go see what all goes on, what machines they have, etc and check out the vibe of the place. Most gyms will give you a short term trial. Go a few days and see what you think. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Now That is great advice...

I to was terrified... I can be very intimidating... I have never had a problem, I've actually found the opposite, in that people have reached out and help you if they see you struggling with something.... I prolly wouldn't zip over to the free weights the first day, but try a treadmill slowly at first and go from there. At my gym there are LCD TV's on each piece of cardio, plug in your headphones and escape a bit... I know its really easy to say just go for it... But I'm going to.. Go For It, YOU CAN do this and just think of how you'll feel sitting down afterward and posting ... I DID IT... I DID IT... It will be so exciting...
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Old 07-18-2008, 07:11 PM   #13
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Wow. I'm really glad I asked! I guess the picture I had in my head was my own ignorance. I think it is time for me to get educated on gym life. Thank you all for giving me a more balanced picture of what to expect.

The insight and advice has given me the confidence to Go For It. I think I will do as many suggested and start with a personal trainer.

I cannot begin to thank each of you enough!

D
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:29 PM   #14
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Do you have a planet fitness where you live? They call them selves the judgement free zone. And they really do mean it. There are all shapes and sizes there. And they dont even allow grunting. Also it is very cheap they have a plan for 20 a month and one for 10 a month. You can check out there site to see if there is one near you. planetfitness.com
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:31 AM   #15
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Way to go!! I hope you have a positive experience when you go!

Remember to hold your head up high and be proud of the positive changes you are making for yourself. You are important and you are the only person who can create the life that you want for yourself. So go after your goals with unbridled passion and attribute attention to your own opinions along the way (rather than giving other peoples opinions of you more power than your own). I know it can be hard to discount what we think others may be thinking about us - but at the end of the day, only we can change our circumstances and our lives and we deserve to. And while Ive never heard people whisper judgmental comments about others at the gym, or even stare rudely, etc. - someones opinion about you only has as much value and power as YOU allow it to have - its only as important as YOU decide it is. As Eleanor Roosevelt once so-brilliantly remarked, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

And once you get going, the results are so well worth it
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