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how did you get over being scared to go to the gym?

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Old 04-25-2010, 05:25 PM   #1
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Default how did you get over being scared to go to the gym?

I have always worked out at home with workout DVDs, and will sometimes go for walks around the neighborhood. So far, it has worked well for me, but I am starting to get bored and I want to kick things up a notch. I know I am getting into better shape and I am starting to change my mindset, so I think I might be ready to start going to the gym. I don't want to just be within a healthy BMI, I want to be in shape -- I want to be an athlete -- fit and capable and strong.

There are two 24-hour gyms within three blocks of me, so I am very, very fortunate. But I am so afraid to walk in those doors!!

I have always thought of myself as a chubby, out-of-shape person. When I was young, we'd run the mile in school and I would always end up crying and walking half of it. I was the last to be picked for team sports. I always came in last in ski races. I'm fine as long as my exercising is private, but in my mind I am still awkward and out-of-shape compared to other people. In my mind, nobody should have to watch me exercise -- my fat will jiggle, my sweat will be smelly, or people will think I'm not working out hard enough. Which I know is ridiculous -- I'm sure everyone just focuses on their own workouts -- but I am so anxious!

How did you get over your gym anxieties? What do you wear to work out, and what do you bring with you? Does the gym staff come over to make sure you're doing okay, or do people basically leave you alone? Is it only super-fit people that frequent gyms, or are there people of all sizes? Sorry about having so many questions! Any input at all would be really helpful for me.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:29 PM   #2
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While I have not even gotten over my own gym fear, I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about. The few times I have gone, paranoid the whole time that everyone was going to laugh at me, people have left me entirely alone. You are already small--not obese by any standards, I'd say--so I'm sure no one would ever look twice at you (unless it's in appreciation ). In my experience, there are most definitely people of many sizes (not super-obese that I've seen, but in the normal to chunky range).
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:42 PM   #3
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You don't have anything to worry about. I had to psych myself up my first time going to the gym too. I did it by getting outside and walking/running. That got me used to working out in front of people. My first day at the gym, I just did it. I had paid for training sessions, so the trainer showed me how to work a large majority of the machines (very helpful!). I now go to the gym 4-5 days a week.

As for the people at the gym...all types. Everyone isn't fit (obviously I'm not). I find that, for the most part, people are too busy watching their form, checking themselves out or zoning out to pay much attention to anyone else.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:46 PM   #4
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Oh, I see I didn't answer some of your questions. I wear workout pants, capris, and workout shirts or just a regular tee. I take my phone/headphones, car keys, water and two towels (one to wipe away my sweat; the other to put over the treadmill/elliptical display so I won't keep looking at the time lol). I don't shower at the gym because it's near my house and I prefer to be comfortable during showers.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:05 PM   #5
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I agree with pink sparkle. People are so focused on their workout that they hardly notice you unless you are hogging a machine.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:22 PM   #6
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Here's what I had to remind myself, when I'm working out, what do I focus on? Is it the perfect form and fit bodies of other people? Or how someone has a little cellulite on their thighs? If I had the time and the energy to concentrate on those things, I wouldn't be working out to my full potential. And because that applies to me, I assume that everyone else is far too wrapped up with themselves to care about how chubby/sweaty/out of shape I am. Besides, just being at the gym shows that you are making a commitment to getting into shape, and that is commendable. You're going to the gym for you, not to impress other people or even to see other people. They just happen to be there. Forget about them, chances are they've forgotten about everyone else, too.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:35 PM   #7
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I was paying for a membership and wasn't going for this very reason. One hot summer day while I was walking and heated to death, I finally woke up and told myself how crazy I was being. I started going after that day. At first I wore black workout pants and a t-shirt. Now that I am loosing, I wear tank tops (I like working out without sleeves). No one has said anything negative to me at my gym and I go to the YMCA. I never thought of this until I actually started talking to others, but some of those "cute" girls, used to be bigger than me. If going to the gym is something you want to do, I say do it. I find that I have to leave my house in order to work out- it keeps me on track.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kay lee View Post
I agree with pink sparkle. People are so focused on their workout that they hardly notice you unless you are hogging a machine.
Agreeing also.

Just work up the courage to go once and you will see there will be plenty of people out of shape, small and big. Everyone will be too into what they are doing to notice you even walk in (at least that is how it is for me )
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:11 PM   #9
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Awwww if only you knew!!! I won't lie, there might be someone who looks at you and judges you. There are people like that everywhere, and working out has nothing to do with it. They're judging you because they're uncomfortable, judgemental people! There are truly all kinds of people at the gym - old guys, fat women, high school football players, fit people, not fit people, but they all have at least one thing in common... They're trying to be in better shape! So don't worry about it, seriously. And I bet once you get in that door and start working out, you'll wonder why you were ever worried!

Gym staff leave you alone. I would never go to a gym where the staff members are "checking" on me. At my gym (Cardinal Fitness), you can ask the staff to show you how to use equipment, tips on working a certain group of muscles, etc. It's not personal training, but they're very glad to help.

I wear long shorts and t-shirts (some meant for working out, some old barcrawl shirts), and that's really what most people wear (or capris or sweatpants). I take headphones, a water bottle, and my wallet. I usually have a calorie goal instead of a time goal, but your workout is entirely up to you. You can spend 10 minutes on one machine and move to another, or you might love the elliptical and work on that.

And don't worry about being sweaty. I am most definitely the heaviest female sweater wherever I go, and I used to worry about it, but now I take a lot of pride in it. Sweat = hard work, calories burned, becoming stronger, and it's one of your body's natural cleansing methods. It's so natural and healthy!!

Seriously. Just go to the gym.
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:20 PM   #10
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don't EVEN worry about it. when i go to my gym...i SWIM. so i'm in a bathing suit and that ain't pretty right now. haha! the other posters are right...people are SO into their workouts, nobody cares. don't give it a second thought and JOIN THAT GYM! :-)
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:31 PM   #11
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Someone once told me that you wouldn't worry about what people think about you if you realized how little they do. People are naturally self-centered, and are mostly thinking of themselves and their concerns all day long. I was once scared of the gym too, and as a person TWO TIMES your size, I definitely felt afraid of people's comments. But I help my head up high, knowing that I am there to work on myself and change my life and I'll be damned if I let someone's comment bother me. I psyched myself out and signed up and nothing happened. No one bothers me or says anything rude--if anything, people there are friendly. But most everyone keeps to themselves. I don't like talking during exercise because I am a little out of breath and sweaty, so I don't invite it by wearing headphones.

I dress in sweat/yoga pants, a T-shirt and athletic shoes. I bring my iPod, water, keys and sometimes a small handtowel for sweat (I like the sweat--it shows how hard I am working).
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:06 PM   #12
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All right, it's official! I'm going tomorrow! I set up my iPod and headphones, and I'm going to get the rest of the stuff ready so I can go right after work. Thank you everyone for the input and reassurance.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:09 PM   #13
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I started going with a friend. Signed up together and all. She fizzed out and stopped going, and I just knew I had to keep on going. I put on my ipod, and just work out. Most times I barely notice the other people in the gym cause I'm in my own little world. ( unless there is some eye candy there )
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:24 PM   #14
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Like a lot of people have said. People are so into their workout that they don't even noticie you. The first time I went to the gym I went with a friend. That really helped me "get in there" then I went in on my own and all that fear went away.
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:21 AM   #15
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Ohh, I can really relate to this. At the start of this year I just went headfirst and joined my local gym. I felt so awkward and uncomfortable there because everyone seemed so fit and skinny already. My boyfriend then reminded me that they're fit and skinny because... they go to the gym, duh. I felt like a monster there for weeks (I still do sometimes), but the feeling goes away once you've had a few visits. I just bring my ipod and listen to music or watch some videos and try to tune out for a while. They even have equipment there with a TV in it, so that's quite neat and distracting.

A couple of months ago I got REALLY brave and went to some group classes. I was terrified of not being able to keep up and embarrassing myself, but everyone has turned out to be so nice. The instructors are encouraging and even the other people in the class have been nice and helpful, showing me how to set up my equipment when I was new to it. I now take a cardio class (which is very silly and fun and involves a lot of naff music and laughing) and some pump classes with a barbell. I thought these would be terrible, but I have actually grown to like them a lot - I feel so strong afterwards, and I can even see some definition in my arms. I never have to ask the boyfriend to unscrew jars in the kitchen for me! ha ha!

Be brave and please let us know how you went with your first day!
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