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Exercise! Love it or hate it, let's motivate each other to just DO IT!

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Old 03-09-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
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Default Joined the Y. Help!

Yesterday I joined the Y. They have a couple of classes I'd like to try, but I know I will be the fattest most out of shape person there. Anybody else have this problem? It's so embarrassing, I dread going even though I'd like to try the classes.

Also, I'd like to try the eliptical, and they have a "Commit to be Fit" session where a trainer will get you started, but I don't want to ask for help. I guess I don't want to face the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing, and I don't want to have to tour the gym with someone who is skinny and fit. They may not be judging me in their minds, but I'm going to have a tough job convincing myself of that.


Those of you who are really overweight who joined a gym, how did you get past the feelings of humiliation?!
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:32 PM   #2
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Yea for joining the Y!!!

I was at our Y a couple of weeks ago to sign up a kid for a sport and there were people of all shapes and sizes there. You are there for your health! You can do it!

And do ask for help with the equipment. Since you're there, you might as well maximize your benefits. Especially with the weight training. Weight lifting is a skill, and we need skilled people to help us learn skills. My 9 yo dd is trying to learn how to crochet. We've looked at videos online but were having a heck of a time getting it going. A lady showed her how to get it started and off she went! Somethings are just easier when they are NOT self taught.

I joined my gym 30 pounds ago, and it is a private gym that trains athletes. Like real athletes--Olympians, pro sports, college sports, high school athletes. And I'm a little klutzy and was totally ignorant about gym culture and I've learned so much.

Meg joined a gym at her highest weight, if I recall correctly. That was her first step and now look at her!!

You can do this! You are beautiful and fantastic and deserve good health, strength and fitness. Do go!! Ask for help! Take notes! I ask questions all the time and sometimes I ask the same questions again cause I forget or get confused. They are there to help you!
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
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You can do it! We all know it's hard (good grief, is it hard!!), but in the end, it is so worth it.

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind about how you will be viewed by the others at a gym. The first is that the vast majority will not even notice you beyond a brief glance. They are there for their own effort, and need to stay focused on their own workout and can't spare much effort to take in the scenery. The second thing is that those that do notice you will be thinking 'yay for her - she's getting fit!', not 'holy cow, a fat woman'. Gyms have all different sizes attending, and the people there are almost certainly used to seeing people that are much fatter than you working out.

In my experience, most people at a gym or a class are friendly and encouraging, and are glad to see you trying to take control of your health.

You really should get a trainer to show you how to use the equipment. It is possible to injure yourself with poor posture or technique on many machines. You can ask for a training session during a slow period (ask - different gyms have different slow periods), if you want to keep the number of people around to a minimum. A trainer should also help you learn what is a realistic goal for you at first (you are not going to hop onto an elliptical for the first time, and go for 20 minutes). Most trainers are glad to see and help people like us. Their job is to help people get in shape, and when someone like us walks in and sticks with it, they are so happy that they were able to help. It validates what they do.

There is also one thing you need to do for *you* - change how you are thinking! I too, let my weight be an excuse to not do something I wanted to do for a long time (in my case, I wanted to learn to belly dance). I was afraid that people would think I was silly looking, or ridiculous. I was afraid to try, and I let 10 years (!!!) pass before was able to change the way I thought. When I turned 40 last year, some switch flipped in my brain, and I realized it was foolish to let someone else's opinion matter more than mine about MY life. *So what* if they think I look silly. I'm not doing this to please them, I'm doing it to please myself. This is all about ME, not them. You need to start thinking it is all about YOU, not them. You are doing this for YOUR health and well being, not for them. So what if anyone thinks badly of you - you don't care what they think because you. are. not. doing. this. for. them!

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Old 03-09-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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No one, skinny or fat, is an automatic expert in the gym. Ask for help. Also, when I was 360 lbs, I was at the gym, in exercise classes. I may have been the fattest person there but I was working just as hard as anyone. Don't feel intimidated. No one is looking at you and judging you but usually you get the opposite effect where people will see dedication and hard work and appreciate it.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:44 PM   #5
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Thinpossible, I've been lurking on this site for about 10 months. I finally registered so I could respond to your post.

I just joined the Y myself, and Thursday was the first time I have ever set foot in a gym. I had no clue how to work any of the machines (or where the locker room was, or anything) but I sucked it up and set up an appointment with a trainer to show me the ropes. Actually, because I was scared to death -- and scared that I wouldn't do it -- I had my husband call and set up the appointment. The trainer worked with me to get the right settings (seat height, weight, etc.) and to show me the proper form for each of the machines. She wrote everything down on a chart and I used that when I went back on Saturday for my first solo workout. I would have been lost if I hadn't met with the trainer.

Although I am at goal now, the fears you expressed are pretty much exactly the fears that kept me away from a gym until now. After going to the Y exactly two times now, I can say with complete certainty that there is absolutely nothing to fear. I glanced around when I got there, but as soon as I started working I quit paying attention to much of anything else. And when I did look around, I noticed that no one else was paying a lick of attention to me. My pre-Y gym fears were nearly paralyzing, but, honestly, they totally fizzled away once I screwed up the courage to walk in the door. So let me repeat what the others have said--you really can do this. Really! (And looking at your stats, I'm pretty darn confident that you will NOT be the biggest person in the exercise class or on the equipment. I saw women much heavier than you in the pool, in a class, and on the equipment.)

One last thing. The trainer offered the whole big to-do -- measure, set up a personalized training program, etc. That's just too intimidating for me right now, so all I had her do was show me how to use the equipment and suggest appropriate starting weights. She was absolutely fine with that. She was as nice as she could be, and very patient and helpful. There really is no reason to let your fear stand in the way of going to Y. I am the biggest chicken on the planet, but I did it, and I am so happy that I did. You can do it!
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
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I joined the gym when I was 30 lbs heavier and I was way way intimidated. It took me about two years to work up the courage to even look in the front window (I would drive by slowly and try to sneak glances at it). I had not exercised regularly for over 20 years. I was so out of shape I could barely manage a couple of minutes on any of the cardio machines. I didn't even have the right clothes to wear. No workout clothes and only a pair of $5 "tennis" shoes.

I have to say that the staff at the gym really helped me get over my fear. I don't know what they thought, but they sure acted like it was the most normal thing in the world that I was joining the gym. I would give your gym staff a chance. Feeling intimidated is pretty normal and your gym staff should be used to having to put people at ease. I never for one minute felt judged, even though I was sure I would feel that way going into it. Taking the gym tour really helped; I didn't feel like I was wandering around lost on my first day. I ended up signing up for personal training and that also really helping me feel more comfortable in the gym.

There are people of all shapes and sizes at my gym, from underweight to obese and everything in between. There are easily as many overweight members as there are skinny members. You definitely would not be the most overweight person at my gym.

And, like nelie and bopeep say, most of the people in the gym aren't paying attention to you. People are at the gym to focus on themselves--I swear, I've never seen more self-absorbed people anywhere else. People have their ipods on and are lost in their own little world.

You can do this! You've already take a big step by joining (it was two years of drive-bys before I managed that). Even after just a couple of workouts, I'm sure you'll feel much less intimidated.
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:30 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help guys. I'm going with my daughter to my first Zumba class tomorrow night. I figure we can stumble around trying to get the steps together.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:28 PM   #8
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Good for you.I think you will really enjoy it.Especially sharing that time with your daughter.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:45 AM   #9
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I think your fears are pretty typical, no matter what your weight is. Anything new is intimidating, especially when every else seems to know what they are doing! But, give it a few weeks, and you'll be workin' it like a pro.
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