Exercise! - Being Stared At: warning kind of long




Kristine612
01-24-2008, 04:52 PM
I guess we'll start out with this :mad:. First let's paint the picture of this gym. So i'm a member at Gold's Gym and have been for a while $18 a month before insurance can't beat it! Recently I joined a Snap Fitness in my home town because it is closer, and I like that they are open all the time! I love the fact that if i'm bored or it's midnight i can fly in and releive some stress. So this gym is located in a very small town like 2k people i think, and while we're only like 25 mins from the cities people there are still very.....small town! They like to stare at people who are new to the community like ME, and like if you're in a group of mutual people they won't talk to you for a while because they don't know you. It's weird i'm used to the outgoing world I guess. I'm not used to the whole...I'm very private, but I have to know what everyone else is doing! Everyone my age is really cool i guess (23-28) maybe it's a generation thing i dunno. Ok so on with it! Tuesday night at the gym I was going to town on the treadmill totally feeling weightless i guess...just having a great session, and i was so proud of myself. The woman next to me who comes in with her husband every night(so cute) gave me the thumbs up. They are usually in there every night when i'm there, and have been going regularly since i started there. At first they were like is this girl crazy(town syndrome), and the husband is still kind of like that, but i've been getting a smile from the wife every now and then, and the thumbs up is huge! So they are done so they go the lift and whatever, and i'm still going to town.

I've always struggled with cardio. It's hard to explain to people that i've always been active, and so it takes me more to benefit from it. They all think that fat people have to walk at like a 3.1 on the treadmill and they'll be drenched in 5 mins. This has been an ongoing frustration for me I guess since day one. I can out-cardio a lot of the "10s" at the gyms i've been in, but otherwise I don't get worked, but i hate it when people look at me like oh my god slow down you're going to fall over. It not only hurts, but it gets old.

Ok so i'm nearing the end of my workout, and i notice this girl behind me on the bike working out, and she keeps staring at me with those OMG eyes :eek:. So i'm trying not to focus on it but i can see her in the mirror. Part of me used it to keep pushing but the other part was like i should just be done if it looks that ridiculous. Like i realize that my butt jiggles, and my love handles were definatley on display! but do you need to stare! Like don't these people realize that doing that really doesn't help matters. I'm here to change this, and to stop the staring, and yet i get stared at! My bf tried to say that she was just probably like wow way to go, and while i appreciated the comment...you know the difference after facing the issue for so long. It doesn't make it hurt any less though. The day before there were some guys that were like wow...look at her go wtg for her. And it does kind of seem that i get the more strange looks from women than men(little side note there) I know that this won't stop me wanting to go to the gym, but i also don't want it to bother me this way anymore, and maybe it'll take time to get to that point. All my friends say who cares you could probably kick her butt, but it's not about that. It's the simple fact of...why do people have to keep kicking you down when you're trying to lift yourself up from the last time being on the ground?:( When i see people larger than me at the gym i want to hug them...i'll go on for hours so i'm going to stop here!


Meg
01-24-2008, 05:12 PM
Kristine, maybe she was staring at you with those OMG eyes because she was working out so hard that she thought she was going to puke. That's what happens to me when I do cardio! I push so hard that the world closes in and I'm just trying to get through my alloted time. The earth could cave in around me and I wouldn't realize it, so I have absolutely no idea what the people around me are doing. And I'm sure I'm making hideous faces the whole time. :lol:

The point is that you don't really know if she was staring at you or why, if she was. I've spent (it seems like) most of the past six years in a gym and I can assure you that most people in gyms focus only on themselves and their workouts. Yes, I was terribly self-conscious when i started at the gym (and I was much bigger than you are!) but I quickly realized that no one was paying any attention to me. The only comments I ever got were kind and supportive. In fact, I got much more support from the people in my gym than those outside of it because the gym members appreciated how hard I was working to better myself.

Please give your gym and the people in it another chance. I know it's hard and you feel self-conscious but maybe, just maybe the girl on the bike really wasn't "kicking you down". She may have been admiring you or -- thinking about something else and not noticing you at all. :hug:

Robin41
01-24-2008, 05:36 PM
I am a "starer" at the gym. I do try to make it less obvious than this woman apparently did. However, mine is never a critical stare. I like watching people do different machines than I use just to see what they do and to see proper form. I also have a wandering eye around the cardio machines because I like to see which of the 40 different workout options people are using on the ellipticals. I'll also check out what level people are on so that I can get a better sense of how fast I am really moving at different speeds.

It's mostly informative for me, and I'm sure there are lots of people who do the same.

Personally I envy you your small town where people mind their own business. My gym has a lot of people who want to chat and I always end up feeling mean because I don't want to stand around and talk. I just want to do my thing and get out.

If you really think she's staring in a judgmental way, make eye contact with her in the mirror and wave. That should freak her out.


leah_0600
01-24-2008, 05:47 PM
All i can think of is what if she was staring at you like that because she realised she'd never be able to work out as hard as you were doing, and couldn't believe a woman bigger than herself was doing that? Try to turn this situation around and use it as motivation to prove all the gawkers out there wrong. You're amazing, keep up the great work!!

junebug41
01-24-2008, 05:54 PM
People stare. I do think it's rude, especially when it's so obvious and I've been known to call people out with a simple, "can I help you with something?".

I also know that people in general tend to be fascinated with others at the gym, but most folks are self conscious at the gym! When I notice people at the gym, it's because I'm observing a technique or I'm thinking, "I have to watch so I can learn how to get that kind of body!", while trying not to be so obvious. I don't think I've ever stared at someone negatively.

But still, I can see how it would make you uncomfortable. I had a trial at a local club and it was full of starers- the bad kinds... it was a downtown coporate crowd who never wiped down the machines. We joined the Y instead.

Of course, if all else fails you could kick her in the shin:p...

SunshineRunner
01-24-2008, 06:05 PM
Kristine - sorry to hear you aren't completely happy with your gym experience...but I have to let you know, I'm one of those girls that stare at other people at the gym...although...I hope that I'm not noticeable...but I fear I might be...not that I am watching butts jiggle...seriously...it just keeps me busy and my brain gets through workouts better that way....I don't know..it is probably rude, but it helps the time go by for me...although..I don't stare at one person the entire time I'm there....I do switch around...crazy....i know.

FlabulessPhyllis
01-24-2008, 07:08 PM
She was probably surprised like you said skinny people assume heavier people aren't strong enough to exercise like that. Who cares anyway. In the scheme of your life she is but a tiny speck. I have definitely noticed women are much harder on other women about their bodies then men are to other men or to women. I think it's because this unrealistic standard is thrust upon us and it makes us feel inadequate so instead of being realistic about what attainable women look for flaws in other women to make themselves feel better.

Reddalice
01-24-2008, 09:36 PM
I share you rage! I really do! I'm from a small town that has an expensive elite attached-to-a-huge-golf-range 24 hour gym (the type of gym of town/gym were a size 5 is fat), I'm FROM that town, and they starred at me. So I gave them something to stare at and pumped the incline on the treadmill and tacked on 30 minutes. ^-~ Don't let it get you, use it, love it, and give them some to stare at.

ennay
01-24-2008, 09:43 PM
When i see people larger than me at the gym i want to hug them...

And how do you know she didnt want to hug you?

Really....it was a look, you have NO idea what was behind it. Maybe she was a beeyotch, maybe she was in awe, maybe she was trying hard not to pass out, maybe she is a random starer (like me!) who tends to fixate on a spot and doesnt even realize they are staring until someone glares back (oops)

One of my favorite quotes "You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought of you if you realized how seldom they do"

Keep going! You know you are doing great.

Zen Pharmacy
01-24-2008, 10:45 PM
Man. I'm at the Greek university to end all Greek universities. The girl's go to the gym after they've put on makeup and fixed their hair just to get boys to stare while they lift their one pound weights.

It took me a long long time to get past the indignant "what're you doing in my area glares" or even the "God, if I was that fat I wouldn't dare show my face in here let alone run around like that" (I was playing racquetball with a buddy of mine in the exhibition court: huge glass walls).

Yes. Someone said that about me.

But, I've made good friends with several of the staff who have helped me immensely with my strength training. They like having people come in who are there to actually sweat.

Though, those girls do give me looks when I'm hanging out with several star athletes (I used to tutor for the athletic department) playing racquetball or over joking with them when they give encouragement and tips for working on muscle.

tomandkara
01-25-2008, 01:06 AM
Maybe she had a wedgie and was hoping you wouldn't notice. :D

Kara

stayincalm
01-25-2008, 02:38 AM
If her mouth was hanging open and she was drooling she might have just had a stroke. But seriously, she might just have zoned out during her own work out. I can only see about 3 feet in front of me and then everything blurs. I don't wear my glasses at the gym. She might just have been focused on movement and concentrating on her own workout. I noticed something wierd at the gym. It seems to me that the only people that actually look at one another critically are the superfit lifters. Everyone else seems pretty much into themselves or more oriented towards the, "Way to go" mentality.

Don't give up.

stacylambert
01-26-2008, 02:05 AM
I'm the opposite.

When I get that "good for you" smile those are ones that bug me. It feels like pity (for lack of a better word...my brain is not working tonight...). I know it's just in my head and they're only trying to be nice but it's like I know they're only doing it because I'm fat. I'd rather have that stare because I'm working as hard or harder than them despite my weight. Like i get it from this one girl in spin class all the time and it just pushes me even harder.

Scenestealer
01-26-2008, 02:03 PM
I'm with those who zone out and stare at anything and everything when I work out. When I'm on the elliptical or the bike, I'm usually either watching TV or reading while I work out, but when I do the treadmill I just run, so I am always looking around just because I get bored. The only times I've ever given anyone the evil eye are when people are talking on their cell phones while they work out. Drives me NUTS!

LittleMissMotivation
01-27-2008, 04:52 PM
Long, long ago (okay, like 5yrs ago), at a younger and thinner age, I used to work at Gold's Gym. There were people of all sizes coming in and out, and at the front desk we had a view on all of them almost all the time, except the really huge, buff guys in the heavy weights section.. During the whole time I worked there I don't think I ever heard anything negative about any of the overweight people at all. Honestly! There was some really heavy boy who used to come in and the staff loved him because he was working his little heart out - same with the woman who was trying to lose weight to get pregnant and so on and so forth. MOST of the people trying to lose weight at the gym ADMIRED other people who were there and putting in the time. The only negative comments we got were about the people who sat on the recumbent bikes barely pedaling, watching tv or reading a magazine while chatting on the phone chewing gum, or the people who would leave machines sopped in sweat. I really wouldn't worry about that girl, as more than likely her motivation in staring was NOT negative - and if it was (big IF), then she's just a fool, and who puts weight into what fools think, right? :hugs:

SouthLake
01-27-2008, 09:05 PM
I confess. I am also a gym starer. But, I'm a people watcher by nature. I usually make up stories about them- always good. I use it as motivation. I try not to be obvious about it though!

For me, I'm just enamored with "non-gym" people. People that are in there busting booty that don't look like Barbie or Ken. We have a senior gentleman that works out at my gym, oxygen tank and all! I think he could kick my butt, and it's sometimes hard for me to look away from him because I admire what he is doing so much. I love when I see women my mom's age in the gym, because I picture them leaving PTA meetings behind and taking time for themselves. I try not to stare, but sometimes I just can't help it. The truth is, I am just impressed by every single person that gets in there and does their thing. Watching them motivates and inspires me.

SunshineRunner
01-28-2008, 11:11 PM
Ha - I make up stories about the other folks at the gym too! It keeps my mind busy!

djs06
01-29-2008, 05:27 PM
Ha - I make up stories about the other folks at the gym too! It keeps my mind busy!

So do I!!!! Hahaha!

meldogml84
03-07-2008, 03:42 PM
Maybe she had a wedgie and was hoping you wouldn't notice. :D

Kara

LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LittleMoonRabbit
03-07-2008, 04:48 PM
Man. I'm at the Greek university to end all Greek universities. The girl's go to the gym after they've put on makeup and fixed their hair just to get boys to stare while they lift their one pound weights.

I laughed outloud at this. I have seen those girls... the ones who are wearing perfectly coordinating everything with the makeup and the hair done, and they sit on the bike and read "Galmour" and talk on their cell phones. They leave after a half hour and their hair is still in perfect fashion and there isn't a drop of sweat on their face. Makes me laugh... I am in mismatched clothes with my hair plastered to my face with sweat and I'm beet red and soaking wet... makes me feel real pretty, lol.

LittleMoonRabbit
03-07-2008, 04:51 PM
I am sure the woman wasn't staring at you and thinking bad things. She was probably just staring off into space... I do it all the time... especially at the big muscle guys, lol. My eyes just kinda navagate towards them.

DaisyNicole
03-07-2008, 08:58 PM
So do I!!!! Hahaha!

Me three!

I am a people watcher... sometimes i don't realize what i am doing could be interpreted as rude!

Also, i am a zoner-outer. I can be "staring" at someone and not looking at them at all. In fact i got caught in that tonite at the gym. This girl gave me a funny look over in the circuit training area... i realized i had zoned out looking at a machine over there while i was on the elliptical.. and in the meantime she had gotten on the machine. LoL.

Diva
03-08-2008, 07:53 AM
I laughed outloud at this. I have seen those girls... the ones who are wearing perfectly coordinating everything with the makeup and the hair done, and they sit on the bike and read "Galmour" and talk on their cell phones. They leave after a half hour and their hair is still in perfect fashion and there isn't a drop of sweat on their face. Makes me laugh... I am in mismatched clothes with my hair plastered to my face with sweat and I'm beet red and soaking wet... makes me feel real pretty, lol.

HA! That's how I look leaving the GYM too, lol!:D

Diva
03-08-2008, 07:54 AM
I am sure the woman wasn't staring at you and thinking bad things. She was probably just staring off into space... I do it all the time... especially at the big muscle guys, lol. My eyes just kinda navagate towards them.

Ditto!

Pink Geranium
03-08-2008, 08:00 AM
I am really nearsighted and wear glasses. I always wear a head band to keep sweat from dripping on my face and glasses coming off, but sometimes I forget it, so I take off my glasses. I see absolutely nothing but after all, I don't need to see anything while doing the elliptical (treadmill, now, I don't try that in these situations!) I could be looking right at you and have no idea what I was looking at, since I can't see it!

I agree with the earlier messages, most people are so busy thinking about themselves they have no time to think about others. The gym has been my best friend in losing weight. Good luck to you!

Ilene
03-08-2008, 01:02 PM
Reading these posts almost makes me paranoid of looking at people at the gym... The other day I smiled at a girl that was bigger than me, and I thought, good grief will she think that I am "laughing" at her because I smiled, or "felt sorry" for her because I smiled... I often look at the ground and don't even make eye contact anymore, and people probably think I'm a snob...I can't win, damned if I do, damned if I don't :shrug: ...

Pink Geranium
03-10-2008, 02:11 PM
I had another thought (and I guess I thought the world would be better for it? Anyway...)

I am guilty of this situation. I am not good at recognizing people and if they leave their familiar contexts, forget it (like for instance my dental hygenist at the grocery store). People can be thinking (I have thought) - she looks familiar. Am I supposed to know her? Where from? Kid's school? Doctor's office receptionist? Did I go to school with her? I don't want to be rude and ignore her, but, I'm not sure if that's her or someone who looks like her? Plus I can't remember her name? Esp. if she says hello, then what? Do I pretend? Agggghhh!

So I'm staring desperately at someone and this is going through my mind as I frantically search my memory. Never thinking the other person sees me looking...

Ilene
03-10-2008, 10:50 PM
I had another thought (and I guess I thought the world would be better for it? Anyway...)

I am guilty of this situation. I am not good at recognizing people and if they leave their familiar contexts, forget it (like for instance my dental hygenist at the grocery store). People can be thinking (I have thought) - she looks familiar. Am I supposed to know her? Where from? Kid's school? Doctor's office receptionist? Did I go to school with her? I don't want to be rude and ignore her, but, I'm not sure if that's her or someone who looks like her? Plus I can't remember her name? Esp. if she says hello, then what? Do I pretend? Agggghhh!

So I'm staring desperately at someone and this is going through my mind as I frantically search my memory. Never thinking the other person sees me looking...

I am sooo soooo guilty, GUILTY of not recognizing people out of familiar context .... Expecially gym people I see regularly and then I don't know them from Adam when I see them dressed in street clothes... I feel like such a loser when I do this, the worse is when they seem to know me soooo well , I feel sooo badly...

jamsk8r
03-10-2008, 11:04 PM
That's so funny! I get the same thing at the rink. Someone will come in that hasn't been in for a few months, and they're like, "Cheryl!" :hug: and I am just having NO clue who they are, so I cover with something lame, "Oh, wow! How are YOU? It's been...well, too long!" Then I go sneaking off to see if anybody else remembers this person's name and who they are, before they figure out I don't know them from Adam!

almostheaven
03-10-2008, 11:37 PM
I had another thought (and I guess I thought the world would be better for it? Anyway...)

I am guilty of this situation. I am not good at recognizing people and if they leave their familiar contexts, forget it (like for instance my dental hygenist at the grocery store). People can be thinking (I have thought) - she looks familiar. Am I supposed to know her? Where from? Kid's school? Doctor's office receptionist? Did I go to school with her? I don't want to be rude and ignore her, but, I'm not sure if that's her or someone who looks like her? Plus I can't remember her name? Esp. if she says hello, then what? Do I pretend? Agggghhh!

So I'm staring desperately at someone and this is going through my mind as I frantically search my memory. Never thinking the other person sees me looking...
LOL I kinda went through this the other day. I could've swore I KNEW this guy from somewhere. I stared at him repeatedly. He'd look over and I was like a deer caught in the headlights and would quickly look away. I felt like he caught me quite a few times looking at him. Finally I just couldn't take it anymore and had to go grill him and explain that he just looked familiar. Turns out we worked for the same company 20 years ago. :D

kaplods
03-11-2008, 09:19 AM
I think this fear of being caught exercising with a less than perfect body is a very weird cultural phenomenon. Why on earth, should someone with a few (or like me over 200) pounds to lose be embarassed to be seen moving in public? Talk about adding to the burden of being overweight, if there's a social restriction on being caught doing something about it.

It's crazy, but it is common to feel that we're doing something "naughty" or the focus of everyone's attention if we eat something fattening OR eat something healthy, AND if we're doing (or not doing) something active or strenuous in public. We really do create a no-win situation for ourselves, and anticipate negative attention, even if we don't get it.

To a degree, we are taught to do this. We didn't all invent the paranoia in our heads because we're crazy by nature. We see it on tv, and see other people doing it (or rather don't see people doing it) or talking about it, and from our own experiences (some people do think and say horrible things when they see an overweight person eating (healthy or not) or exercising (or not exercising). I've heard people laughing (and making comments, so I wasn't just imagining that the comments were made toward me) when I've ordered a salad, and when I've ordered an ice cream cone.

I've been fat since age 5, and I guess I learned early that I'm not responsible for other people's idiocy. I've pretty much, at least since my late 20's or early 30's, been able to exercise in a gym or pool without paying attention to others or feeling self-conscious. Except when I enter one of those "perfect-people" gyms. I had a great job several years ago for a company that gave an excellent discount for Gold's gym - and I never even used my free pass, because when I walked in and saw that virtually every exerciser was in view of everyone else AND there wasn't a single person in there that had more than 20 lbs to lose, well let's just say I wanted to back away slowly and hope no one saw me.

But, just because most of us have learned it, doesn't mean we can't unlearn it. Hubby and I bought bicycles the summer before last, and I KNOW we both look ridiculous on them, and I was mortified when the neighbors would smile and wave (but I waved back anyway, because I felt I was supposed to, though I knew my face was so red they probably thought it was because I was about to have a heart attack rather than the embarassment I felt).

In a sense, I feel it's a "big-girl" victory to be able to get out there and show that I can refuse to stay inside the house with the shades drawn until (or unless) I am an "acceptable" size. Bleep that!

carolineintx
03-12-2008, 03:42 PM
When I was at my highest weight (and determined not to get any higher!) I got some trial memberships at a few gyms, figuring at best I'd find a great place I wanted to work out, at worst, I'd have gotten some exercise for free...honestly I felt very self-conscious at 24 hour fitness, the girls there were all in their sports bras and spandex pants running on the treadmills....and there I was, purple faced and struggling to keep the pedals going on the bike, on the 'easy' setting...I felt some stares, and I definitely felt like they were negative, but looking back on it, I think my perception said more about how I felt there than necessarily things were, I felt like I didn't belong and so any attention just sort of was like a validation of that feeling. I went to another gym for a trial membership, but the girl who set it up for me made me feel so bad about myself I never even went back to use it. I ended up just buying my own elliptical so I could work out at home without feeling so self-conscious.

Now I work at a medical school and the gym is only 5 dollars a month and I'm allowed to take an extra half hour (90 minutes total) on my lunch break 3 times a week to use it, so I am an actual gym user. I don't know if its because I've already lost a good amount of the weight, that everyone there is either a coworker or student, or I'm just older and wiser, but I don't feel at all like I did at the other gyms, I get the sense that everyone else there is pretty much just focused on themselves and not on me at all.

I don't really pay much attention to anyone there either, I look around the whole time but more as a time-passer, I probably have zoned out at some point and seemed to be focusing on one person, but mostly my eyes just rove around. Sometimes I'll try to figure out if a person using a machine I want to use might be nearly finished, I suppose they might think I'm staring at them but really I'm trying to figure out from their machine screen what time they might have left!

PhotoChick
03-13-2008, 02:25 AM
On days that I don't wear my contact lenses, I have to take my glasses off when I'm doing cardio. They're heavy (I'm one of those nearsighted to the point of needed coke bottle lenses people) and when I sweat they slip right off my face. And I'm *really* nearsighted. Like, I can't see the numbers on the readout w/out them. So something to consider ... when I workout w/out my glasses/contacts, I could be staring at someone and not even know it. To me you'd just be a big blur (and not big from your size, but just a blurry area) and I'd have no idea that you even thought I was staring.

You just never know.

.