100 lb. Club - Gym fear!

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07-29-2013, 05:03 PM
Hello all :)
I've already lost 43lbs but I'd like to lose around 100 more. I'm doing the healthy eating thing (well sort of, I've had an off month) but I know that joining the gym will help me more! The problem is I'm scared. I'm not good with feeling like I'm being judged, I know I am but in the gym I won't be able to escape, and I'd feel like if I had to stop for a break I'd get judged for it! I'll be joining with a friend, but she's only got about 20lbs to lose but I'm hoping she'll be an encouragement for me.
Have any of you been/ still are going to the gym? How do you get over the people looking if they do? Maybe I'm just being a coward and need to jump in feet first!
Thank you chicks :)

07-29-2013, 06:37 PM
Honestly most people are too concerned about themselves to judge you.
Good luck on the rest of your journey!

07-29-2013, 06:56 PM
First, congrats on your 43 pound loss! Second, I completely understand how you feel. I started going to the gym when I was at my heaviest weight. Here I was, huffing and puffing on the landing of the stairs (all the machines/weights/classes are on the second floor) and feeling completely like a fish out of water. Part of me wanted to bolt down the stairs, head to the parking lot, and write off my yearlong non-refundable membership as a "donation", and I would have, if not for my stubborn streak. Here's a few things that helped me out in the first days and weeks:

1. Wear headphones. The gym I go to has music piping through speakers overhead, but sometimes you want something with a bit more oomph to get you through a tough workout than the latest teen sensation crooning in your ears. Headphones also let you drown out conversations next to you, which in turn makes the crowd around you fade into the background.

2. Check what times you go to the gym. The 5 PM after work rush is when it's usually the busiest, so if crowds or equipment availability worry you, try to either go earlier or later. The weekends are also a good bet for fewer numbers, especially if you go right when the gym opens.

3. I've come to the realization that most people don't care what I do. Everyone is so caught up in their own workout that they hardly pay attention to anyone around them. Personally, I know that the only time I pay attention to the person next to me is when I get on/off my bike or when I'm loading up weights, just so I don't bump into anyone on accident.

4. Usually, if someone does notice you, they're not thinking "OMG, look at that (insert insult of your choice here) over there. WTF." They're more than likely admiring that you're taking steps to improve your health and quietly cheering you on. I was biking away one say on the stationary bike when I felt someone touch my arm. There was this lady that wanted to let me know that she was using me as a pacer and that I was totally kicking her butt because she couldn't keep up with me. That was the shot in the arm that I needed to get me through my mileage, especially since I was already talking myself into quitting before my time was up.

There's an elderly man at my gym that does nothing but wander around and talk to people he knows, it seems. Every so often, he'll wave to the people running the indoor track and shout "You can do it! Keep it up!" so it's like the gym has its very own personal cheerleader.

5. Get to know the gym staff. They're more than likely going to be happy to help you figure out different settings or how to use the equipment. If your initial membership includes an orientation walk-through, use it to familiarize yourself with the things there, that way you don't feel even more nervous about not knowing what to do. (and it never hurts to ask if your gym provides this service. The worst thing they can tell you is no, right?) You could also luck out and they might have a complimentary "Fitness Perscription" where a trainer goes out and gives you a basic workout routine.

6. Having a workout buddy is fantastic. They really help on days that you don't feel like going, but know you should. I don't have one at my current gym, but my friend goes to a different gym on the same days I go to mine. We tattle on eachother on the days we miss and have an accountability system going on to keep us going.

7. Group classes are scary to jump into at first, but in the long run, they're incredibly fun. Check to see if your gym has beginners or 101 classes to get you started. They're a great way to meet some fantastic, supportive people and try out something that you've always wanted to do but were afraid to try in a safe setting.

8. TAKE BREAKS. Usually you can leave a towel on your machine to signify that it's still in use while you slip away to get some water. Or just stop what you're doing and sit for a bit. If people give you the stink-eye for taking up the machine, just let them know that you're in between sets but you'll be done in a while or that you have X amount of time left on your cardio machine. Keeping on going just because you think someone will look down on you for stopping will only lead to burn-out and potential injury.

And on that note, don't kill yourself doing weights or cardio either. Just because there's someone going light speed or lifting a ton of weights next to you doesn't mean that you have to do the same. Everyone starts somewhere and eventually builds their endurance and speed up to the point where if they want to go a billion miles an hour on the highest incline without breaking a sweat then they certainly can. Other people are celebrating the fact that they're not out of breath going 2.5 miles an hour on flat terrain and can lift 5 pound weights. Take things at YOUR pace and listen to what YOUR body tells you it can do for that day. There might be days where you kill it at the gym, where your muscle strength is awesome and you feel like you can take on the world. There will also be days where you really don't feel like even showing up, but a gentle, slow workout is better than no workout at all. Then there are days where you just have to take a break to recover.

And above all, have fun. :hug:

07-29-2013, 07:29 PM
Startingagain1, you have the same worries as so many of us. I know, I worry what this person or that person thinks throughout my every day life not just while I'm exercising. Listen to Issaknits and repeat it often, she has many ways of dealing with that self doubt. That's what we're all here for... cheering each other on and inspiring each other too. Keep her words inside your head and push aside the thoughts you think someone is having about you.
Issaknits, I had to post my congrats or my cheers to you on how awesome your reply was. You are an inspiration to me as well as anyone who reads that. Small changes in my thoughts always help me and I give myself a talk that I'm worth that walk I took or that bike ride, etc...
Get out there and do it! :^:

07-30-2013, 12:14 AM
All of the above points are great. As the others said, people are usually focused on their own workout and not concerned with you. I've been a gym user for years, and have never felt like I don't belong there at any size. Yes, there will be super fit people there. There will also be lots of people of various other sizes and shapes. You certainly will not be the first or only person there with weight to lose. So just don't psych yourself out.

There's an elderly man at my gym that does nothing but wander around and talk to people he knows, it seems. Every so often, he'll wave to the people running the indoor track and shout "You can do it! Keep it up!" so it's like the gym has its very own personal cheerleader.

I LOVE this!

07-30-2013, 12:25 AM
Congratulations on losing 43 pounds, you're doing great. (: I too, have struggled in the past with the fear of being judged while at the gym, but slowly I've gotten out of it. Working out with a friend definitely helps, for sure. I've been working out with my much thinner sister, who is only looking to tone up, and shed about 15 pounds, and she definitely helps keep me motivated, and we have a whole lot of fun doing it! It's true that most people are focused too much into their workout to sit around judging others. Don't be afraid, I promise if you just get out there and do it, you most certainly won't regret it.

Also, I've found that listening to music while working out is a great motivator, too.

I wish you the very best of luck! :)

Mama Tash
07-30-2013, 12:32 AM
I have the same fears. I am at a 41lb weight loss and keep going up and down within a 10 pound range. I know it's time for me to up my workout routine and there is a 24 hour gym that is just a 5 minute walk from my house but I am just so intimidated! Hopefully this thread will give me some strength.

07-30-2013, 06:20 AM
Thank you all so much! I'm feeling inspired and I think I'm just going to jump in feet first! If anyone looks or says anything, I'll smile and keep going! You're all awesome :D

07-30-2013, 09:53 AM
Yay, startingagain1! And just remember, exercise releases endorphins too, so you'll feel awesome at the end of it!

Sando, thanks! Your comment made my morning. :D That's what I love about this site: everyone is here to support everyone.

Mama Tash, that's so neat that you have a 24 hour gym so close to you. I wish mine was open at all hours. I have a few days out of the month where work obligations take up my usual evening time, so I have to wake up super early to get in there before work or make a mad dash during my lunch hour to sneak a workout in.

07-30-2013, 11:15 AM
You go Startingagain1 !!

I don't know how many gym choices you have or how well you've looked into them, but I would recommend having a good look before you join. Having a tour of the school and meeting the teacher helps to ease 1st day jitters! Plus, different gyms, like beauty parlors, can have quite a different atmosphere. It's easier to adjust to staff changes after you've been in a gym for a while than trying to adjust to a snotty staff during your first month's membership!

I lucked out with my gym arrangement. There's a nice, new public rec center near us. It's free! Plus I go at 7am, usually with DH, and the only other people there are 70+. They're so happy to chat with us "youngsters". For my DH, it's like Norm walking into Cheers! The weights and activities are more than adequate for now, but I will probably look to join another gym when I tire of this one.

07-30-2013, 07:50 PM
Several days a week, I walk on a treadmill and read! I never would've though it possible. The gym has a rack that hangs over the front of the treadmill to hold a book, and it works great! I don't allow myself to read that book at any other time than when I'm walking, so if I get to a good part, it makes me want to keep going, or at least get back to the gym the next day so I can see what happens! With ear buds in my ears and a good book in front of me, I might as well be all alone in the gym... everyone else just fades away. Try it!

07-31-2013, 05:32 PM
I'm thinking of joining the leisure centre near me, I went in with a friend and all the staff seemed friendly and it's reasonably priced for a gym and swim membership.
Thanks for all your advice chicks, I'll be taking it all on board! :D