General chatter - Social Phobia at the Gym...

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12-14-2010, 08:32 PM
So I'm a bit of a social phobe. It's gotten WAY better since losing weight, but I'm getting nervous about a gym change coming up. Right now my main exercise is running, which I love cause I'm out there ALONE with nothing by me and my thoughts and pushing all the stress out. I also go to the gym 2xs a weeks for intense strength training. The gym I go to however, is really small and usually there is no one there but me.

Well, we're moving and I'm going to have to join a "real" gym. I'm concerned about looking silly using the big boy weights and just being in a new environment and being around a lot of people. Now granted I used to belong to a "real" gym when I was at my heaviest, but I just felt invisible then and for whatever reason I just didn't care. No one ever talked to me. I'm concerned that now that I'm smaller and carry myself differently and am actually approachable now I'm going to have to interact with people whether I like it or not, and like I said I'm a little socially inept.

So I know the simple answer to this, get over it and just be me and go with the flow. But does anyone have any good advice to kind of move through this anxiety?

12-14-2010, 08:38 PM
I suppose "have a couple drinks to loosen up" isn't an option at the gym ;)

You are pretty athletic - I don't think you'll really have to deal with much chitchat from strangers or anything. Honestly you will probably intimidate a lot of the other gymgoers!

12-14-2010, 08:56 PM

When I went to a big gym, no one bothered me if I was wearing headphones. I got a whole range of workout wear with mp3 player pockets and went into my own little world.

12-14-2010, 09:52 PM
Like the other respondents, I highly doubt anyone will bother you at the gym by engaging you in idle chitchat or whatnot. I'm smallish and very approachable and folks just tend to stay in their own little world during a workout...although I have a blast staring at people in the reflection in the glass -- shh, my secret! But really, besides my greeting to the fella working the desk upon my arrival, I go about my business and so does everyone else. You can do this - and you'll likely love being back in a more full-scale gym!

12-14-2010, 09:58 PM
I belong to a large gym with a wide range of people of all sizes and ages. I see plenty of thin women using the weights. I'm jealous of them and wish I had the guts to do what they want to do. Maybe when I'm smaller like you. ;)

12-14-2010, 11:06 PM
I work at a "real" gym, for the most part, people keep to themselves in the work out rooms.
And if you are wearing headphones, that keeps people from trying to socialize.

12-14-2010, 11:14 PM
I don't make eye contact with anyone when I am strength training. Nobody else really wants to have chatty matty next to them while they are huffing out reps. Headphones are a great idea too.
I only socialize in the classes where I see the same people on a schedule.
In general, I don't go to the gym to socialize. People can usually pick up on that.

12-15-2010, 12:33 AM
If you want to get into weight lifting, what i would do is make an appointment a personal trainer and tell him or her that you are interested in losing weight. that way, when you do go you'll know someone there and you'll look like you know what you're doing (and you won't accidentally hurt yourself).

but headphones are a great idea too.

12-15-2010, 12:39 AM
You pay gym membership, you have just as much right to workout where ever you want as the next gal/guy.
Personally, nobody talks to me because when it seems like they are about to, I make sure to look in a different direction or put my head phones. :o
I get easily distracted and when I'm in workout mode I'm not talking to ANYBODY.

12-15-2010, 12:50 AM
Usually, when you join a gym, they do a free tour of all the machines and they show you how to work them...I"d definitely do that. I also like to dress the part. I know it's weird but I like to have cute clothes on because they give me confidence, as opposed to wearing a big giant baggie shirt (not that there's anything wrong with that). ;)

Like with any anxiety, I think it's good to expose yourself to the situation. So, start with small visits and do maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Then, gradually extend the time so that you start to feel like hey, I've been here and this isn't so new anymore and I'm still ok! :)

12-17-2010, 11:44 AM
I wish I could go to the gym and workout but I dislike being around people and am very insecure when I'm around a group of people I don't know. Head phones are great and since I need glasses to see I don't wear them and won't notice people...but my head ruins that...I over think hence why I stay away from gyms haha. Maybe I'll try once I get a head then try a few weeks of going to a gym and see how I like it.

12-17-2010, 12:02 PM
I am like that too. I would make my husband go with me to group classes haha.

The gym I went to had a cardio theater. It was like a movie theater but had stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals instead of chairs. I liked it b/c it was dark and no one could really see me LOL plus I got to see some good movies.

12-17-2010, 12:34 PM
The Y where I go has a big work-out room where there are dozens and dozens of a wide variety of folk. Very little socializing. The ones who are socializing are socializing with the friends they came in with. Otherwise, it's a very serious place. The classes are very minimally social. Just like a busy, busy office...friendly, courteous, and truly interested in each other, but got to breathe, too much to do. On the other hand, I tried the water aerobics and it was nothing but socializing. These ladies didn't even want to get their hair wet. Make-up in the pool??? It was like being in 4th grade with a substitute teacher.

12-17-2010, 11:03 PM
The gym I went to had a cardio theater. It was like a movie theater but had stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals instead of chairs. I liked it b/c it was dark and no one could really see me LOL plus I got to see some good movies.

Those things are SO COOL! Especially when they have classes and project a "movie" on the screen, like you're actually riding through the forest on a trail.

12-18-2010, 11:35 AM
my Y experience has been like other people here describe, variety of types and ages, levels of physical fitness. It seems to me that people who do resistance and weights are even more focused and in their own worlds, and not really out to socialize.

I think people do pick up on it when someone doesn't want to chat, lack of eye contact, etc.

I went through a period when I spent a lot of time by myself (home office job), and started to feel more awkward around people. I think one way to get through it is just to get more used to being around people, saying hi, interacting. And I try to remember that most people feel some level of self consciousness when it comes to social interactions, and they want to feel liked and accepted just like I do.

12-22-2010, 09:39 AM
I find some of the other members intimidating, but just like avoiding the sweets, I keep my eye on the prize and ignore the obstacles. I love the cardio theater at Gold's and also do the circuit. I normally use my ipod, but it died this week.:(

12-23-2010, 01:49 AM
I know how you feel. My gym is a total meat market so there's a lot of socializing going on. Many of the women have full make up at 8am. I doubt they even want to break a sweat! I go with my dh and I pretty much just roll out of bed and go. lol The other day I went alone and I decided to venture upstairs to the weight area and I felt so lost and intimidated. I felt like such an ugly duckling and could feel the eyes on me. If I felt more comfortable, I would have stuck around and figured out the machines. I used to work out and teach aerobics in an all-women gym so I do know my way around a gym. I just felt so insecure! Ugh, I hate that I felt that way! I will either hire a personal trainer or go to the weight area when it's not so busy.