Exercise! - How do you deal with gym embarrassment?




MakingSkinny
01-09-2010, 10:10 AM
I'm sure there must be others here who are (or have been) really embarrassed going to the gym?

I joined a gym this past July. I chose one that is on the upper level of our supermarket (no big wall of windows showing the workout area to the whole world like the other local gyms) and that is women only (personal preference). I hate to say it, but I've only been there about a dozen times since. Beyond all the regular excuses I tell myself (and my husband) like I don't have the time or whatever... really the reason I avoid going is because I'm embarrassed.

Every time I've gone, I haven't seen a single person who I would consider "fat". I feel so out of place, in my baggy clothes trying to hide all my fat wobbling around while I struggle to catch my breath on the machines or in a class :(

It's hard to be surrounded by all these women who don't look like they even need to be there, yanno? And yes, I know that's completely irrational, that they look like that because they're at the gym regularly. Honestly, while I've never had a super-duper great self-image, it seems like going to the gym to help improve that has only made me more self-conscious. What's up with that, anyway?


Mercy03
01-09-2010, 10:22 AM
I'm sure there must be others here who are (or have been) really embarrassed going to the gym?

I joined a gym this past July. I chose one that is on the upper level of our supermarket (no big wall of windows showing the workout area to the whole world like the other local gyms) and that is women only (personal preference). I hate to say it, but I've only been there about a dozen times since. Beyond all the regular excuses I tell myself (and my husband) like I don't have the time or whatever... really the reason I avoid going is because I'm embarrassed.

Every time I've gone, I haven't seen a single person who I would consider "fat". I feel so out of place, in my baggy clothes trying to hide all my fat wobbling around while I struggle to catch my breath on the machines or in a class :(

It's hard to be surrounded by all these women who don't look like they even need to be there, yanno? And yes, I know that's completely irrational, that they look like that because they're at the gym regularly. Honestly, while I've never had a super-duper great self-image, it seems like going to the gym to help improve that has only made me more self-conscious. What's up with that, anyway?

You are right, it's completely irrational, but you recognize it for what it is. I can completely relate to what you said even though I am only 20 pounds overweight.It's for me more about self-image and having other people watch me, and yes, I am one of the few who really need to be there.

I am sure the reason why those people are skinny is because they workout:D

My solution was to listen to music or just bring headphones so I can plug it into the treadmill and watch t.v., I have been able to drown out any distractions and focus on myself. After a week, I completely love going there and I have developed the "I don't care what people think attitude"

smisen
01-09-2010, 10:43 AM
I fell off the back of the treadmill once... After that, it takes a lot more to embarrass me at the gym :)

What kind of contract did you sign? If you aren't committed to that gym, maybe you can find one that's a better fit for you? Most gyms offer free trials, so you could go in and see - you might be able to find one that has a more welcoming atmosphere.

If you aren't able to find a different gym, don't worry about it. Think about it - when you're working out, are you spending all of your time watching the other people? Chances are you're focusing on your own workout - and they are too! Try to remember that you're there doing something healthy and positive for yourself and that's something to be admired no matter how big you are.


BarbieGyRLXO
01-10-2010, 01:27 AM
trust me, no one is watching you. stop the lame excuses and start going!

kisskiss
01-10-2010, 01:49 AM
MakingSkinny: trust me, you don't need to be embarassed. I used to be self conscious at my own gym (although mine has a good mix of fit and unfit) because I thought the skinny girls would be judgmental. but then I realized that no one really is looking at anyone else. Everyone is so into their own workout, with their headphones on listening to music or watching tv. The fit and the no so fit are just getting their exercise on. Trust me, once you make a habit of going you will not even remember why you were self conscious to begin with. Start going to the your gym buddy! :hug:

kristyjoy
01-10-2010, 03:59 AM
I bet if you worked out at home for a bit until you saw some results, you would feel more comfortable.

Do some workouts on DVD's, take a walk around the block. Once you see some results, you'll get the confidence to go to the gym.

Hello Nurse
01-10-2010, 12:43 PM
I guess I have just come to the conclusion that I don't care what they think about me anymore. If a skinny chick wants to judge me for being overweight but working on it, well that just shows how shallow she is. No one has ever verbalized anything but supportive words to me, so most of the judging is going on in my own head, I am sure. There was definitely a time when I was self conscious about the gym, but now I have just decided not to give a rat's patootie and to take care of myself regardless of what others think!

eroica27
01-10-2010, 05:18 PM
Try to focus on why you joined a gym in the first place, and take heart in knowing that not all of the skinny people that are members of the gym started off skinny. or buff. or anything. they joined to get in shape and some suceeded. try making friends with the people there and you may be pleasantly suprised.

Brown Eyed Staccie
01-10-2010, 05:25 PM
No one is watching or judging you and you need to keep telling yourself that. If anything people think, good for you!! I was really overweight and joined a gym and felt the same way. After awhile I got to know a few regulars and it became an awesome experience. I am at a new gym now where it's very expensive, upper class and barely anyone is overweight. It just makes me work harder. It's not high school anymore, I've never heard anyone or noticed them talking bad about overweight people in a gym, ever.

I did get a trainer to help me learn the equipment and working out and that helped.

Also plug into your IPOD and go hard.

EmmaD
01-10-2010, 09:49 PM
I thought about this a lot when I first started working out (at my new heavier weight!) ... I take classes and I am by far the fattest and most out of shape one in the room. I'm misshapen and uncoordinated and blah, blah, blah. I actually started crying a little my first few times... Oh well. I just get into my own zone, laugh at how goofy I look and vow to remember how I feel and never let myself get that bad again.

I started running recently and I'm pretty sure I still look ridiculous. Today I went and there were two athletic dudes hauling *** on either side of the only open treadmill. I felt like slinking away and going back home. But I didn't. I put on my tunes and did my 40 minutes at my slow jog.:woohoo:

All the advice you got was great. I didn't have much to add except to tell you I too feel your pain. Somehow you have to focus on the benefits and how great you feel after working out... Easier said than done, I know. Headphones and music really do help me shut out the surrounding world!

:goodluck:

ETA: I just thought of something else that has really helped me: Joining exercise challenges here at 3fc. Sometimes that's what gets me to go to the gym, knowing that I had to report whether I made my goal or not.

kenthomas
01-10-2010, 09:56 PM
Here's my suggestion -- Take a chance and strike up conversation with a few of them. And when you chat with them, focus on getting to know them by asking them questions. And if you chat with one that is not friendly, don't get offended, just move on to the next woman. Before you know it, you will find out most of these ladies are just like you....they want to feel and look good and be healthy. And guess what, once you get to know them they will share their fitness/nutrition secrets with you.

MiZTaCCen
01-10-2010, 10:11 PM
I'm sure there must be others here who are (or have been) really embarrassed going to the gym?

I joined a gym this past July. I chose one that is on the upper level of our supermarket (no big wall of windows showing the workout area to the whole world like the other local gyms) and that is women only (personal preference). I hate to say it, but I've only been there about a dozen times since. Beyond all the regular excuses I tell myself (and my husband) like I don't have the time or whatever... really the reason I avoid going is because I'm embarrassed.

Every time I've gone, I haven't seen a single person who I would consider "fat". I feel so out of place, in my baggy clothes trying to hide all my fat wobbling around while I struggle to catch my breath on the machines or in a class :(

It's hard to be surrounded by all these women who don't look like they even need to be there, yanno? And yes, I know that's completely irrational, that they look like that because they're at the gym regularly. Honestly, while I've never had a super-duper great self-image, it seems like going to the gym to help improve that has only made me more self-conscious. What's up with that, anyway?



I'm in the same boat, I don't like the gym period I have this thing with having too many people around me or I think they are all staring at me wondering why i'm there. I just do work out DVD's and after a while I start to run just around my area after the DVD's become easier. I'm not a public place work out girl i'm a loner type who enjoys her privacy at home. So maybe try out DVD's get a bunch of them that way if you get bored of one you have another to fall back on.

meandmyself
01-10-2010, 10:15 PM
Trust me...those other women are not only NOT looking at you...they are probably hoping you are not looking at them. Insecure women come in all shapes and sizes.

I was in the sauna today...all 233 sweaty pounds of me. I had on a fairly revealing bathing suit but hey its the sauna. In comes a girl, 145 lbs tops fully clothed from top to bottom. We struck up a conversation and she confessed to me that she was very self conscious which was why she was wearing the strange clothes in the sauna where most others were naked. 145lbs and not a lump on her and she has body issues that trump mine x 10.

So the moral of the story is that your weight loss is about you. You should hold your head high and be proud that you are there. Nothing and noone else matters.

Have a great workout, let those endorphins take hold and away you go!

Good luck!

zarra
01-10-2010, 10:38 PM
I have this problem, but only because I sweat a lot!!! :o
What helps me is going with a friend, or my boyfriend. They know how committed I am to my goal and I feel like if I wasn't trying hard that I would be letting myself down, as well as them because they are being so supportive.

tiffany0809
01-11-2010, 07:29 PM
I have reached my goal but I am still SO self conscious when I go to the gym. Everyone there is so fit and I feel very out of place. I'm sure they're not looking at me but it's to the point where I don't want to go anymore. I will only go to classes because I'm afraid of looking stupid trying to figure out how to use a machine (unless I buy personal training sessions no one will show me how to use them). I'm actually heading to a class tonight but it will probably be my last one before I cancel my membership. :(

sacha
01-11-2010, 08:02 PM
I love seeing a bigger girl in the gym. I've been maintaining for 6 years now, but I used to be the big girl in the gym. I just think, "I'm so proud of her!".

FYI I am also into bodybuilding. Do you know what bodybuilding guys say about overweight girls who are working out in the gym? They think it is great that she is working out.

Working out commands respect, don't ever forget that!

souvenirdarling
01-11-2010, 08:20 PM
I remember, once, my Mom was driving us home after dark and a woman was jogging by. My Mom said quietly "You go girl", and years later, I realise she was admiring that woman for actually going jogging after the kind of hectic day that Mothers probably have.

Sure, at the gym, people will observe how heavy you are, just as you observe how athletic you think they are. Keep in mind, though, that people will admire that you're actually there and getting healthy, making the effort. They'll be thinking "Good for you!"

ennay
01-11-2010, 10:25 PM
(unless I buy personal training sessions no one will show me how to use them). :(

That's b.s. threaten to sue if you get injured because they didnt show you the basics.

Or find someone who is working out on them and ask if they could show you a few each time.

saef
01-11-2010, 10:46 PM
I will only go to classes because I'm afraid of looking stupid trying to figure out how to use a machine (unless I buy personal training sessions no one will show me how to use them).

Oh, dear. Don't cancel. Listen: You need to go to my gym. They just hired some more personal trainers to deal with the January influx. And those trainers are looking for business, so they tend to wander around approaching people, chatting with them, correcting their form, demonstrating proper use of the machines. (I just got corrected on my tricep kickback the other day by a newbie trainer with a blond ponytail. Little does she know, the trainer I covet is the ex-football player with the nice smile & political views that oppose my own.)

If they aren't trawling for work, then maybe you can tell them you're auditioning a personal trainer and ask a different trainer to show you each machine you're curious about.

But I can't believe they didn't give you an orientation session as part of your membership. Was that too long ago, maybe? Did you forget? Maybe you can get a refresher out of them. Tell them you are considering canceling, and tell them why. Ask specifically for a refresher session on the machines. This time, bring a little notebook with you.

Seriously, if your membership isn't working for you, you should not be shy. Explain your problem to them & that you are considering canceling. Not as a threat, just as an issue that you need to find a solution to. You may be surprised by the response.

LeedaRenee
01-12-2010, 07:14 AM
Most of the gyms in my area have memberships that include a meeting with a trainer who will not only give you a strength training plan, but also take you to each machine that is included in your plan and show you the proper way to use them.

I agree that you should go to management and tell them that you are not happy and will not be renewing your membership to see if they will show you.

As for being embarrassed at the gym...please dont! Who are you there for? Them or you? I know it sucks being overweight among a ton of fit people, but letting your feelings and insecurities take over is not going to help things. Go in there, girl, and show 'em what you got!

MakingSkinny
01-12-2010, 04:43 PM
Thank you all so much for your encouragement. I'm going to the gym tonight while my oldest is at Kids Club at church. And, I wrote myself out a schedule on our family calendar for myself to go on a regular basis.

Matilda08
01-12-2010, 04:49 PM
I dont really feel bad about going to the gym because the gym I attend is an all women gym and it makes things so much easier.

Nella
01-12-2010, 05:00 PM
Tifany - Just ask for help!! Don't quit! The trainers are there to help you. My aunt has managed gyms as long as I can remember. I know them inside out and sideways. They don't want you to get hurt. Just ask for the assistance you need.

As for the original post, I can't think of many people who haven't felt like this before. I miss my old gym so much because all the hot, young business/ professional men that were in there. Looking at them motivated me to be that skinny girl. I would just turn my ipod up and chug along on the elliptical. This idea we all get that only skinny people should be at the gym is the reason we we never see the overweight people there. They are all afraid, so they stay home and overweight.

Just go in there and work your butt off, literally!

CarlyMaria
01-12-2010, 05:32 PM
I at first was embarrassed at first when I started going to the gym. At times I would only walk in with a friend of mine just to feel better. I go to just a regular gym, not made just for women. The thing that made me feel more comfortable was seeing the same people there over and over again. I even started running into co-workers and seem to get a little motivation from them just knowing someone is noticing me there all the time. The gym I go to has a lot of elderly people there so it helps. I've noticed though, that really once you get into your work out you others really are not paying attention to you. It's hard though sometimes just to get up the courage to walk through the doors. While it is a gym and you go there to get into shape, I think people often forget that you have to start somewhere and not everyone gets the luckiness of not being overweight. Some are naturally slender and don't have to work as hard. Don't worry about what others think, it's hard to do but I've found that can me what de-motivates me more than others. Just think of what it does for you, not what others are thinking. If anything you don't even know but they look at you in a positive way for taking your health into your hands :)

Leontina
01-13-2010, 01:08 PM
I've just joined a gym after not having been to one for over a year. I know I'm gonna feel self conscious at first, but you just have to keep on going and eventually you'll learn not to care what people think of you. If they think badly of you, then they're not nice people to be so judgemental.
I agree with all the tips about plugging in some music as well.

kkazz123
01-15-2010, 05:35 AM
I use to be embarressed and even sometimes now i still feel uncomfortable but the answer really is just to keep going...ive been at my gym since august 08 and its only the last few months i have really lost the embarressment i felt. People actually wont be interested in what your doing and i know that takes to get your head around but its true...i would either find a gym your more comfortable in or just start going.

LovebirdsFlying
01-15-2010, 06:08 AM
I was afraid of mocking when I first joined a gym, but I'm finding it not to be the case. And if anyone does mock, it shows their ignorance. Exercise is the one thing they all keep telling us we need, right? So here we are, doing it. What better place is there for a heavy person to go, than to the gym?

It could be that memories of PE class are haunting you. But people at a gym have paid money for their membership, and they're not concerned about someone else. They are there to work on their own bodies, and you work on yours. Rare exceptions may apply, but not often. If anyone moos at you or something, just look at them like they're stupid, 'cause they are.

LovebirdsFlying
01-15-2010, 06:12 AM
I fell off the back of the treadmill once... After that, it takes a lot more to embarrass me at the gym :)

I tripped over my own shoelace during an aerobics class. The only thing anyone said was "Are you all right?" Didn't stop it from being embarrassing, but generally people aren't going to be mean to a person who is making a sincere effort.

LotusMama
01-15-2010, 11:10 AM
I have been going to the gym since October (before that, I was walking outside). I am ususally at the gym 5 days a week. There are some extremely fit people there and some that are not. I was intimidated at first, too, but I promise you NOBODY is watching you or is focused on what you are doing. Everyone just sort of gets into their own world and focuses on what they are doing.

My advice is just to force yourself to go and go consistently. Soon, you will get over the intimidation.

J

loquaciousjogger
01-15-2010, 08:19 PM
I just need a good playlist. Also, I try to go when it's a little less crowded.

Skullarix
01-15-2010, 08:31 PM
I agree with everyone, no one is looking at you... and if they are, and they are judging you, thank them for letting you know who to stay away from.

LovebirdsFlying
01-18-2010, 01:00 AM
I agree with everyone, no one is looking at you... and if they are, and they are judging you, thank them for letting you know who to stay away from.

GOOD one!

Let me tell another embarassment-at-the-gym story so the OP will feel better. I was in the shower. Nearby there was a group of upper-middle-aged, not-quite-elderly women, having a chat as they got dressed, but exactly at a lull in the conversation, I squeezed my shampoo bottle and it made the loudest, most flatulent noise. I realized what it sounded like, coming from behind the shower curtain, and with a giggle explained that it was my shampoo bottle making that noise, and one of them said, "Oh, sure. Blame the shampoo bottle." Laughter all around. But it was a bit embarrassing.

GinaLynne
01-18-2010, 10:35 AM
Believe in general people are good. No one should judge another person in a gym. The people there are probably impressed with you because they are not mutants and have maybe some of the insecurities you do. They want you to do your best. You can do it!!! Or find a workout buddy to go with you when you have someone else to focus on it some times helps the negitive feelings.