100 lb. Club - Gym Anxiety




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spores
02-03-2004, 07:10 PM
Anyone have any ideas for getting over gym anxiety? As in, "they're all looking at me, I don't belong here, I look ridiculous doing this, they're STILL all looking at me, oh there's a cute boy..." Sound familiar?

I've got 100 pounds to lose and I know I can't do it without exercise. Heck, I even enjoy some exercise when I can get motivated enough to do it. But that motivation isn't going to come from some dusty video tapes in the basement. I need to get out there, frequent the place fit people frequent...the gym.

Maybe I'm still living in the shadow of that sixth-grade gym uniform.

So I went out and bought some cute new gym clothes. I got the membership prices for the nearest fitness centers. I'm all ready.

But I can't seem to get myself through the doors. I know, I know: I have as much right to be there as anyone, and everyone is too concerned with what they are doing to pay any attention to me. But I can't get over that big *ulp* of going in. It's so shiny. It's so full of mirrors. It's so NOT where I feel comfortable, and if I'm going to be flailing my wobbly arms around, I need some comfort. Some safety. With no workout buddy and no idea of the procedure, I feel awfully lost.

Any ideas? How do you get yourself through the doors?


mthrgoos68
02-03-2004, 07:15 PM
There is no easy way to get over your fears you just have to do it. You have to want to be healthy more than you are worried about what other people think. Once you get started and make it a part of your routine, you'll wonder what you were ever worried about. All those things that you just listed are true, the people there are worried about their own workouts and won't even be paying any attention to what you're doing.

You really can do it, and once you get started you'll be very glad that you did!

irishwings
02-03-2004, 07:30 PM
I totally agree, mthrgoos68! Plus, the more you do it, you will de-sensitize yourself from those feelings -- the only way to do that is to push ahead with it, no matter what it may "feel like" at the time. You'll be proud of yourself when you do! (And so will we!)

One thing that eased my mind is that I joined an all women's gym, Curves. I highly recommend it if there is one in your area. For me, when I work out around all women I don't feel nearly as self-conscious as I would have had I joined a co-ed gym. Not that I won't someday, just not right now. Find strength in sisterhood! tee hee ;) Nearly all of the women I have encountered at Curves have been as nice, friendly, and supportive as could be. Just like everyone here!

Be like Nike says, Just do it! *hugs*


boiaby
02-03-2004, 08:04 PM
I agree with the curves idea especially if you're just too uncomfortable at a regular gym to go consistantly. This has to be something you are willing to incorporate into your every day life so that you can make it a habit. Do whatever you can to make this a comfortable, enjoyable experience so that you'll want to keep doing it.

Personally, I've never been comfortable with the gym idea and probably still wouldn't be even now. I much prefer working out in the privacy of my own home. Pretty much the only person I let see me work out is my six year old. I don't even like my husband to see me but I'm probably a little more paranoid than most!

Beverly

pennywishes
02-03-2004, 10:56 PM
I know that feeling I need to lose about 150lbs plus and I hate going to the gym. Anyone near east Texas? Do you know where a curves is here?

jiffypop
02-04-2004, 12:52 AM
ok spores. you've got some great wisdom here from the others. and i'll give a few thoughts as well...

i have found a HUGE amount of support at my gym, very much to my shock. most gyms make you fill out a medical history and tell them what your goals are. i can't urge you strongly enough to go right into the trainers and make a couple of appts. they'll be absolutely in your corner, and there to help you.

there will ALWAYS be those stupid, annoying people who look through you and sneer. but you see them in the grocery store and the mall anyway. so ignore them just as you would anywhere else. but there are also those others, those in shape folks who will help you with the machines, encourage you, tell you that they can see a difference. THOSE are the ones to talk to. even if they are wearing thongs and don't have an ounce of fat on them.

but here's the big secret: most of people at the gym, if they're older than like 22, are lumpy and bumpy as well. and struggling with their own weight and food.

as for the women only gyms/areas. yeah. they can be nice. but i'm spending most of my gym time in the men's weight room. the equipment is better. and the guys either ignore me or help me. there's no middle ground with them. and it's all ok.

maybe i'm lucky, but i'd like to think that most gyms are like this.

keep us posted!!! we'll help you through this

chequitagirl
02-04-2004, 11:18 AM
i agree with jiffypop. almost everyone there is there for the same reason. they want to be healthy also. i work out in the guys area as well and find the guys either quite helpful or totalling ingoring, which is fine with me. you really have to find what is comfortable for you. you may be more comfortable at an all womens facility but definately don't let fear stop you from trying a regular gym. the benefits well outweigh the fear.

jiffypop
02-04-2004, 12:01 PM
oh. and one more point. once you start talking to people at the gym, you'll hear INCREDIBLE stories, and see people who have more courage than i could ever have. there's one woman who's paralyzed from the waist down, although she has some slight movement in her upper legs, i think. she CRAWLS UP THE STAIRS ON her hands and knees, and then gets her knees onto a skateboard, and pushes herself around on her hands to get to the cardio equipment, and then gets onto one of the cross trainers, resting on her knees. and then reaches up for the hand grips and off she goes! and THEN she crawls back downstairs to her wheelchair, and changes into her bathing suit and swims for a mile or two.

after watching that, i don't complain about the bicep curls. and there are a couple of 85+ year old ladies -always with perfect hair - who show up a couple of mornings a weeks for their weight workouts, and then go to lunch.

and that cute guy with chronic fatigue who can barely stand up some days, and who follows everyone around cheering them on.

really, there's a lot of inspiration there..

Inca's Momma
02-04-2004, 01:21 PM
Penny here's a website to help you find out if a Curves is nearby. http://www.curvesinternational.com/

looosingit
02-04-2004, 02:30 PM
Lots of sound advice from the group! I was terrified the first time I went to the gym, too! All those things you mentioned were true, everybody was too busy with their workouts to really notice. Everybody I spoke to was really helpful, pleasant and supportive. I registered for a session with a trainer for the first gym visit, which was helpful...nice to have somebody on your side as soon as you walk in the door.

If the gym is just too intimidating, have you thought about some other forms of exercise that might work for you? I am no good at working out on my own at home, so I need to have a class. To start I took aquafit classes....I found it an easy way to get exercising (not because the workout was easy!). It worked well for me because I was worried that people in a gym would be looking at me and judging me - You are totally covered by water in aquafit! Also the aquafit classes tended to attract a lot of people who were a the same fitness level as me.

I am still not really a gym person...I walk to and from work (a bit over an hour a day), and I take yoga classes. I really enjoy both!

You need to give yourself a chance to try different types of exercise, so you can see what you enjoy.

Best wishes!

SuchAPrettyFace
02-04-2004, 03:20 PM
Anyone have any ideas for getting over gym anxiety? As in, "they're all looking at me, I don't belong here, I look ridiculous doing this, they're STILL all looking at me, oh there's a cute boy..." Sound familiar?

I've got 100 pounds to lose and I know I can't do it without exercise. Heck, I even enjoy some exercise when I can get motivated enough to do it. But that motivation isn't going to come from some dusty video tapes in the basement. I need to get out there, frequent the place fit people frequent...the gym.

Maybe I'm still living in the shadow of that sixth-grade gym uniform.

So I went out and bought some cute new gym clothes. I got the membership prices for the nearest fitness centers. I'm all ready.

But I can't seem to get myself through the doors. I know, I know: I have as much right to be there as anyone, and everyone is too concerned with what they are doing to pay any attention to me. But I can't get over that big *ulp* of going in. It's so shiny. It's so full of mirrors. It's so NOT where I feel comfortable, and if I'm going to be flailing my wobbly arms around, I need some comfort. Some safety. With no workout buddy and no idea of the procedure, I feel awfully lost.

Any ideas? How do you get yourself through the doors?

Well, first off, they ARE all looking at you, but NOT for the reason you think. It's like being the new kid in school. You are an unfamiliar face right now. As you go to the gym more, you will start seeing the same faces. Smile at them the first time you see them. Most will smile back. The ones who don't aren't worth the gum on your shoe.

Cute gym clothes help, but they are not going to get your a$$ out of that computer chair & to the gym (I am speaking here from personal experience). They can, however, boost your confidence enough to WANT to go to the gym. And that's half the battle.

For your first time, schedule an evaluation w/a personal trainer. They will walk you around all the equipment, work out a doable program w/you, and re-evaluate you in 3 months to see how far you've come & to change your program to accomodate your new, stronger body. :)

Don't get me wrong, you will feel like a dork walking around w/the trainer. But I'd say if you can get past the first 2 weeks, you'll be fine.

SuchAPrettyFace
02-04-2004, 03:27 PM
Forgot to say, yes there are jerks everywhere, just ignore them.

mthrgoos68
02-04-2004, 03:43 PM
One other thing that I thought of is that you may be surprised at the friendships you'll make at the gym. I started off not knowing anybody, but now I have friends that I've made there at the gym, and it's nice to have friends that share your interest in getting healthy and working out, and they also motivate you. The encouragement and support that you can gain from them is very helpful. You really will be glad once you get into the routine of it.

spores
02-06-2004, 07:41 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, all. Inertia is one of the most insidious forces to battle: I know that once I get over the hump of just walking in, things will be all downhill. It's nice to hear that other people have done it. I just have to gather up my gumption and believe that the fate of the world hangs on my ability to defeat a giant lizard in hand-to-hand combat, and walking into a weight room will be a piece of cake. No, not cake. A piece of, um, fruit. Piece of protien bar. Anything but cake.

gonzostar
02-08-2004, 01:33 AM
but here's the big secret: most of people at the gym, if they're older than like 22, are lumpy and bumpy as well. and struggling with their own weight and food.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

i'm 22! wait, i'm 23! ok, well, i go to the YMCA, and to tell you the truth, there is always someone bigger than me there. and someone smaller. and i feel comfortable, even changing or taking a shower. nice atmosphere, family oriented. if there's one's nearby, try them.

Wisertime
02-08-2004, 12:18 PM
Hi everyone,

I saw this post and had to put my two cents in. :D

Spores, I felt the same as you, way too intimidated to go into a gym. Last April I decided to try Curves. The fact that there would be only women there helped a lot. I think you'll find that the staff is very helpful and the women that go there are friendly. Also, check with your local Parks & Rec Dept. In the town that I live they offer a variety of exercise classes. I have been attending a twice a week low impact aerbics class that I love. The woman range from 20 somethings to 60 somethings. The price is great too ($40 for 20 classes). It took me a while to get the arm/leg coordination going (I was so worried that I looked foolish) but 10 months later I am pretty good at it!! (sort of ) :goodvibes

Part II of my story is just last Friday I made an appointment with a full scale gym in town. I do love Curves but with their hours sometimes it was hard to make it there 3 times per week. Curves definitely gave me the courage to make the appointment and walk in that place. I met with a trainer that was very helpful, gave me a tour, showed me how to use the equipment etc. He even made a comment that I did pretty good for my first time there. I am going back on Wed and he said that we would "take it up a notch" :?:

If you have a Curves in your area, I would highly recommend it - or an exercise class. Once you get started, I think you will find strength to branch out if that is what you want. Once you start going you will feel so good that you did.

Goddess Jessica
02-08-2004, 09:59 PM
Spores,

I am so late to this thread and all the other advice is phenomenal, I hope you take it.

However, I did want to give me two cents. Most of the time, I do the opposite of what people expect me to do. I'll get into a bathing suit in a heart beat (hot pink is a good color on me), I'll jump into a belly dance class without hesitation (you're suppose to have a *belly* right?) but the gym stressed me out because I had no idea what I was doing, I looked like I didn't belong and at the gym, you're kinda left on your own, right?

Baby steps: Where ever you decide to go.... go!
When I started at the YMCA, sometimes I would just check in, head to the treadmill and do my thing. Slowly, I would wander around first and check out the other machines before doing my thing. Then, I would ask a trainer to show me a couple of things. The point is: Once you are comfortable with "your gym" you'll start to forget about looking out of place.

Now, I belong to the Y and my college gym. I started hanging out in the freeweights just doing a couple of really easy moves, getting comfortable with the area... now, I own it. Girls, who are in much better shape than me, are always coming over for advice and help and saying how scared they were to be in the freeweights area because there were never any girls there.

It's so cool. You'll love it.