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How do you deal with gym embarrassment?

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Old 01-09-2010, 09:10 AM   #1
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Default How do you deal with gym embarrassment?

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?
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by MakingSkinny View Post
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

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"
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:43 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:27 AM   #4
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trust me, no one is watching you. stop the lame excuses and start going!
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:49 AM   #5
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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!
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:59 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:43 AM   #7
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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!
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:49 PM   #10
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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.

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!



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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:56 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MakingSkinny View Post
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.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:15 PM   #13
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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!
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:38 PM   #14
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I have this problem, but only because I sweat a lot!!!
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.
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:29 PM   #15
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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.
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