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Gymophobia...is that even a word?

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Old 08-12-2013, 01:09 PM   #1
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Default Gymophobia...is that even a word?

Okay, so basically I'm a college freshmen who's looking to get more muscle and lose weight as well if possible. But at my age, everyone who lifts seems to be really buff and any runners just seem way to skinny. Maybe it's because I'm new but I feel like I'm gonna be gawked at by everyone. Any tips for getting over this? I'm even hoping to gain the confidence to get a spotting buddy and lift some heavier stuff over time but first I need to get over this.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:30 PM   #2
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I used to feel the same way. The way to get over it, is to just go and do it. It does not take that long to realize that everyone that is there, is concerned with their own work out...

well most people anyway. And if they gawk, who cares. just look that much better doing it

But do not let someone else looking or staring hinder you doing what is best for you.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:58 PM   #3
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I had this problem too so I joined 24 hour fitness and only go late at night or really early in the morning. There are also a lot of older people at my gym and that motivates me. If that 75 year old guy on the treadmill can manage to come here twice a week then so can I!
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:52 PM   #4
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Oh, you're definitely not alone. Many of us here, and many people off-line, too, can definitely relate! I've found two things can help:
a) find a gym where you feel comfortable. this is important. in my experience, different gyms have different vibes. find the one where you feel good! one way to do this is to ask for a tour. the 5-10 minute walk around can give you a pretty good indication of how you'd feel working out there.
b) bring earphones and music you like when you work out to help you focus on what you're doing and pay less attention to stimuli going on around you.

I hope this helps and remember, everyone was a newbie at some point. Most people there truly only focus on their own workouts. And the regulars who are buff and visit gyms regularly have seen endless people come and go during all the time they spend in the gym, so you'll simply be just another person working out. And the best thing is, once you get into a groove, the self-consciousness does start to dissipate! Good luck! You can do it and have fun!
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:20 PM   #5
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I shared a similar concern with my husband (who is incredibly fit) when I started going back to the gym. He gave me a really good piece of advice: Everyone who is at the gym is there for the same reason and whether they are trying to get bigger (in his case) or smaller (in mine) once you cross the threshold you are members of the same team. Alot of the really fit people didn't start out that way and they are quietly cheering on the the newbies--- because they are there.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:03 PM   #6
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A dozen years ago I belonged to a "meat market"/high end kind of gym. I felt everyone was staring at me and judging. At the time I was almost 300 pounds. I felt especially uncomfortable about the glances from one of the hot, buff trainers. Every time I looked up there he was staring at me. I thought he must think I don't belong here. I asked my trainer about the guy's issue with me. Dave laughed and said, "Actually he really admires you and wants to ask you out. But I told him you have a boyfriend." After that I would smile at the guy and he would smile back.

Let people look. Maybe they're judging. Maybe they're admiring. Maybe they're looking past you and admiring themselves in the mirror. Just go and keep going to the gym. Soon you'll be one of the fit folks.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:01 PM   #7
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I agree--everyone has to start out somewhere. Remember a lot of those people in the gym that are fit now--may not have been fit a year ago. Just do it--get used to it--and you may find that if someone is looking at you--they're real close to introducing themselves--and are glad you're there.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #8
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My gym is definitely not the "meat market" variety, I go to a cheap gym so the clientele is of all ages, shapes, and sizes. I definitely think the people who get gawked at are not the people who are fat but instead are the people who are dressed completely inappropriately. If you don't want to be gawked at, wear a shirt, regardless of your fitness level or gender. Also, if you are female, wear a good, supportive bra. And don't wear any super trendy or sports-specific stuff like toe shoes, a tennis skirt, lacrosse goggles, or anything like that. Also, if you swim, wear an appropriately sized swimsuit that is suited for lap swimming.

Oh, and avoid heavy makeup or accessories. You will get gawked at with your mascara running down your face.

Really, when I think of who gets gawked at at my gym, it is either their strange or inappropriate clothes or because they are doing some strange exercise, like the guy who does karate moves on the treadmill or the guy who ties a weight to his headband and starts bobbing his head back and forth. No one notices a fat person wearing normal sweats or shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:41 AM   #9
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I appreciate all the help guys! Guess I just need to stay focused on my own thing. Also, the idea about bringing music along was brilliant so I'll be sure to do that too! Though I'll mention that my only gym option is our universities wellness center. It has all the furnishings of something like the YMCA and since its in my tuition I'm making use of it. I think what makes it difficult is the fact that 90% of the people there are students and stud athletes so it makes things harder to overlook. But I'll take what everyone has said with me and I think if I keep pushing through and seeing some results I'll get the confidence to overlook this matter in no time. Thanks
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:23 AM   #10
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When I was a student, the gym was not necessarily free to students and if it was, only for certain hours of the day. I worked out in a commercial gym. On the occasional day when I couldn't work out in my normal gym, I would use the track or something like that. A lot of campuses are pretty runners-friendly anyway.

So, be fortunate that gym facilities are part of your student fees.

If you're a college freshmen, see if there are any gym orientation programs. Are there weightlifting groups on campus?

Depending on how enterprising you are, maybe you can set up your own weightlifting or running group (I think running groups are pretty common on campus, especially after all those stories of runners getting hurt at night). Think of a self-deprecating name.

Go really early or really late. That's also when you'll see older people in the gym--the profs, the support staff, etc.

Last edited by memememe76 : 08-13-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:43 AM   #11
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Very timely post, as I just signed up for a gym (online) yesterday. Tomorrow will be my fist day actually going. It's hard because I have severe social anxiety, and I live in absolute terror of public embarrassment of any kind. I'm trying to think happy thoughts but it's hard.
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