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Intimidated by the men at my gym!! help!

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Old 12-15-2005, 11:50 PM   #1
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Default Intimidated by the men at my gym!! help!

I just joined a new gym, the first time I'm in a co-ed gym and I can't seem to do my workout, the men in there are so intimidating to me that I walked in once, did a little leg press and left! I just feel like they're looking at me, like 'this fat chick doesnt belong here' and that Im just using the machines and wasting their time.. I know, it sounds so bad, but I can't get this feeling out! and not to mention, they make loud embarassing noises, rarely change the plates and hog the machines.. Ive already talked to staff about it and they have put up signs but.. *sigh* that doesn't change much

I guess what Im looking for is a mantra, something to say to my inner thoughts, that are making me feel like how I felt back in highschool around boys.. That Im not good enough to be around them.. God, its so stupid!! but, its my old insecurities...
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:59 AM   #2
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Mukisa I felt the same way when I use to go to the YMCA. I would swim lamps in the lap pool and I always felt like the guys and women were thinking I was to fat and to slow to be in the lap pool. I ended up quitting the YMCA and joining curves which I like much better. I don't feel like people are judging me there.
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Old 12-16-2005, 02:07 AM   #3
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I would advise that you make your mantra, "I'm here for me, not for them". Truth be told, it is very unlikely that they are thinking about you at all. They're probably more focused on themselves, as you should be too in this situation.

You've paid your dime, and you have every bit as much right to be there as anyone else. You're doing your best to make yourself better, else you wouldn't be there in the first place. The gym is not a club for good looking people, it's a place to go to exercise to make your body better.

Hold your head up, don't worry about what might be in the heads of others, and go!
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:39 AM   #4
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I agree with tealeaf - they are more concerned about the size of their pecs than anyone else!
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:58 AM   #5
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The average person at the gym is so lost in their own world that they aren't looking around at the other people working out. I personally "zone out" at the gym and I bet it looks like I'm staring sometimes! Instead of a mantra to repeat, I recommend getting a guy/girl to show how to use all the machines so you feel confident and then try to go to the gym at off hours to avoid the meathead crowds. I am a member at a gym that is notrious for it's "single's bar" atmosphere, but I avoid it by going at odd times.

I don't reccommend Curves gym, it's not a real workout, it's just a social gathering that happens to take place at a gym. If you want to get fit, you have to go to a real gym. Good luck with your workouts!
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:21 AM   #6
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I like it when people are lifting and pushing themselves, regardless of the weights being handled. Some of the more dedicated lifters at my YMCA are women, a few of which are way ahead of the average male lifter in lower body strength.

The men get intimidated as well. Last year, when I was considerably fatter, I worked in on the overhead press with a guy who was using 95#. I guess he was feeling pretty good about himself because he kept lifting up his shirt between sets and checking out his abs. I then proceeded to put 225# on the bar and start doing my ladders(cycles of 1,2 and 3 rep sets), and the next thing I know he is giving unsolicited advice to quit lifting weights and focus on cardio. "You need to lose some weight". He wasn't even all that thin himself (~20% BF?).

I have the opposite reaction and find it fascinating to watch people lift big weights with good form.
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:40 PM   #7
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That's a funny story, Robert. You just know that he was really meaning "Quit lifting weights so that I don't look weak in comparison to you!"

I would have probably been pretty snide, in your place. "Oh, I happened to see that you don't lift that heavy yourself. No offence, but it looks like you're not as serious about this as I am. You'll understand if I pass on your advice, I hope."

One think I like about having home equipment is that I don't have to put up with ridiculous conversations like that.
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Old 12-16-2005, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mukisa
I just joined a new gym, the first time I'm in a co-ed gym and I can't seem to do my workout, the men in there are so intimidating to me that I walked in once, did a little leg press and left! I just feel like they're looking at me, like 'this fat chick doesnt belong here' and that Im just using the machines and wasting their time.. I know, it sounds so bad, but I can't get this feeling out! and not to mention, they make loud embarassing noises, rarely change the plates and hog the machines.. Ive already talked to staff about it and they have put up signs but.. *sigh* that doesn't change much
I don't know what to say except what has already been said regarding the fact that everyone there is (or SHOULD be) focused on their OWN workout.

I hear ya on the leaving plates on the machines though...that was a problem at my previous gym; even with signs everywhere people (and it wasn't just guys!) would leave plates everywhere except where they belonged, not just plates but dumbbells would never be put back where they were supposed to go, or they would just 'disappear' forever, and so on. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was because I was usually there around 4:15 am, when there were like TWO employees around (one at the front desk, one janitorial/cleanup guy) for a two-story facility, perhaps later in the day the situation wasn't so bad...but I digress (as usual!).

My immediate suggestion would be to invest in an MP3 player and some good headphones so you can really focus on YOUR workout and tune out everything else...players are incredibly cheap right now (there ARE more than just iPods around) and they're 1,000% better than a CD player...having your own music (or listening to "Books on Tape") makes your workout more fun and helps to focus.
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Old 12-16-2005, 01:41 PM   #9
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I definitely know how you feel. I recently moved to a different part of the city and go to a different gym. While plenty of women used the free weights at my old gym, I am the only woman I *ever* see in that area of my new gym. And the men at this gym are HUGE -- tattooed, big, serious (and sometimes they like to critique my form... ugh). Like you, the first time I went I was completely intimidated and actually left before finishing out my program. The second time, however, I was DETERMINED not to be intimidated. Now I actually feel a certain amount of pride for sauntering over there as if I owned the place. It may take time, but I truly think if you can make it past that initial hump you won't think about it. One other thing; I noticed that there's almost nobody there in the mornings, so I started making sure I get my a** out of bed in the morning so I don't have to work out at "Rikers" (my nickname for the place at night). Changing your time may actually help you, too.

I definitely think, just in general, that it's good for us formerly and currently fat folks not to cower in fear in places we aren't comfortable. At some point, we have to embrace the fact that we are are no less entitled to walk this earth (or work out at a gym!) than the skinny and beautiful. Keep your head high and know you're doing the right thing for you, your body, and your self-esteem!
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Old 12-16-2005, 02:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teapotdynamo
And the men at this gym are HUGE -- tattooed, big, serious (and sometimes they like to critique my form... ugh). Like you, the first time I went I was completely intimidated and actually left before finishing out my program. The second time, however, I was DETERMINED not to be intimidated.
Which Gym is this? I lift at the W63rd st. YMCA in Manhattan, and it is not nearly as hardcore as I would like.
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:07 PM   #11
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i used to train at a hardcore gym. full oldstyle rusty plates everywhere cold wharehouse type building and some of the guys were massive. but i found they were some of the most helpful nicest people around. i found that yes they all looked at me for the first few sessions lifting my meager 80lb bench (recovering from dislocated shoulder). but in the end i got talking to a few guys and they said the unwritten rule for any good gym is it don't matter what your lifting as long as your are lifting
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:37 PM   #12
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Robert - it's Queens, baby! Long Island City. I just moved from Manhattan where it wasn't hardcore at all at the Kips Bay Crunch (except a couple of the trainers). Things are different out here in the boroughs .
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teapotdynamo
Robert - it's Queens, baby! Long Island City. I just moved from Manhattan where it wasn't hardcore at all at the Kips Bay Crunch (except a couple of the trainers). Things are different out here in the boroughs .
Yes, they are. There was a pretty hardcore gym up here in Washington Heights ("Frank's") but I think Frank went to jail and the place closed. Ah, well, when Frank gets out of Riker's he should be "Prison Big".
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimmingsi
...the unwritten rule for any good gym is it don't matter what your lifting as long as your are lifting
slimmingsi -- what a great saying!! Mukisa, you should heed that saying ... We're all in the gym for the same reason to get healthy and strong
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Old 12-17-2005, 04:51 PM   #15
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Thank you guys so much for the encouragment. I really need to remember that I am just as worthy as all these others, and learn to laugh more at these grunting noises I hear (well to myself) then letting it make me feel uncomfortable. Or ignore it alltogether! I'm trying to get a petition started at the gym for the staff to start enforcing the rules of not using a towel after a machine, stacking without removing etc. So far,I have a few women who agree with me.

But aside from that, I have to remember this:

it don't matter what your lifting as long as your are lifting

I am DETERMINED not to be intimidated. I am going to feel a certain amount of pride sauntering over there as if I owned the place. (love that!)

Get a rockin' playlist going on my iPod.. lots of hip hop.

Remind myself that everyone gets intimidated at some point

Try to haul my butt up before 7:30am to get to the gym

I've paid my dime and do deserve to be there as much as them

"I'm here for me, not for them".

Thanks everyone!!!
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