Who has gym insecurities? Who reading this, truly wants to work out at a gym, but is scared to death? You have so many concerns that you just tell yourself to forget the idea of ever joining one.
I did. I told myself that many, many times.
When I was 15 years old, I joined a gym. I had been working out since I was 13. I was a very overweight child. When I was 13 my exercises were "Denise Austin" videotapes and running laps on my four wheeler track in the backyard (It was nice growing up in the country, ha) but when I started cheerleading my sophomore year of high school, I wanted to really get into more cardio exercise and weight lifting. I was lifting girls constantly as I was a spotter and we wore our cheer outfits on game days to school. I needed to look good. It did not help the bullying I received though.
Moving on. When I joined my gym I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, come on, I was on 15 years old. But I took initiative and I learned. I worked out religiously from 15-17 years old and I loved it. I looked great, gained a lot of muscle and lost a lot of body fat. Then I graduated high school early, in January of 2007.
From January of 2007 until September 2008, partying, working, and binge eating consumed my life. I rarely went to the gym during that time period and had forgotten a lot of the things I taught myself about health and fitness. In September of 2008 my weight was reaching an old time high and I visited my doctor to see about my treatment for depression.
My weight had gotten so bad that I would not buy new clothes. I could not handle my reflection in the mirror in the dressing rooms. I would cry. I would sit in the dressing rooms and just cry. I would shower with the lights off so I would not have to see my naked body in the reflection of the big bathroom mirror. I would stop going out with my friends because I felt so ugly compared to them. I would make up excuses so I could just be alone, binge, and feel sorry for myself.
I decided I had to change. My doctor was going to prescribe me a pill (so easily how they do that) to help with my depression. But a light bulb went off in my head and I knew the root of my problem. I had to make a difference in my life. I will never forget that Tuesday afternoon in my doctor's office. I can tell you what I wore. I can tell you what I ate. I can tell you what I did that day. That is how monumental that day was to me.
It was time for me to hit the books and the internet to start teaching myself how to eat and exercise again. Healthy eating was OK to get back into. Sure, I was miserable for a while, but it was easy to go to the grocery store, buy the food, and then prep food and eat it. I did OK with that.
But going back to the gym... I was terrified. I was going to be in front of people that used to know and I was going to be over 100 pounds heavier. What would people say, what would they think? I could not remember how to do half of the exercises I used to do.
I knew I had to go, though. I had to get over that fear. It's truly just that simple. I had tons of gym clothes at home, so I dressed myself and it was time to go back to the gym. Nothing fit. It was unreal how my work out clothes looked on me. I used to wear them all of the time. And now putting them on, you could see my stomach bulging through, my legs barely fitting in the pants, and it was an disaster. It was enough to make me almost never go back. But I bought new clothes and it was time to make a difference.
Some of my top questions and comments from women since I have started writing and sharing my story and journey is about how they are terrified and intimated they are by a public gym. And I get that. I was there! I am still that way sometimes. But there truly comes a time in life where you have to let go of your fears and excuses and just do it because you need too. Not everyone has the luxury of getting a hard, solid workout from home. Gym memberships are not always expensive either. Planet Fitness, which is almost everywhere now is only $10 a month. And most gyms I have ever seen are no more than $35 a month. The bottom line is, if you WANT something that bad, like to lose weight and get fit, YOU WILL MAKE it happen.
Today I wanted to write about some of the gym insecurities that I dealt with and had to make myself overcome, as well as some of the issues that I know a lot of other women experience as well.
The gym is not a beauty contest
This probably the biggest insecurity that I dealt with personally as I know a lot of other women do. The gym is not a runway. The gym is not a fashion show. The gym is not a beauty contest. Repeat that to yourself 100 times and make yourself believe it. That is what I did. If a women is in the gym with full on makeup and perfect hair, she is doing something VERY wrong. The gym is a place where you come to work out and sweat. I know not one person who works their ass off in the gym and looks glamorous when they finish. Sometimes women think they are doing the right thing by looking like barbie when they are working out in the gym, but you look like a joke. You cannot be taken seriously. If you know me or see my pictures, I am all for makeup, but the gym is not the place for it. I do not wear uber expensive gym clothes in the gym nor do I ensure my make up looks perfect. The gym is a time to work. The time to push your limits, the time to overcome challenges.
When I feel beautiful in the gym, I am soaked in sweat. I added one more rep. I did an extra 10 minutes of cardio. I sprinted harder than I have have before. THAT is beautiful in the gym. Your determination and dedication are things of beauty in exercise, not the make up on your face, the label on your clothes, or the style of your hair.
All of the girls in the gym have much better bodies than I do.
This issue continues from the above, and to this I say, SO WHAT? They obtained their fit and muscular bodies from exercise and healthy eating. They were not born that way, we all have to start somewhere. Comparing yourself to other women in the gym will tear you apart. Do not focus on anyone else in there but YOU. Do you want a body like theirs? WORK FOR IT. For me, seeing women in the gym with hot bodies, motivates me even more! I want that, so I am going to push even harder. Try making that negative feeling of jealously or insecurity, and make it positive. If you keep working hard, you will have it too. And every work out is one step closer.
I don't know anything about working out, so I am not going to go. I will look like an idiot.
No one starts out at the gym knowing everything about exercise. No one is born with an expertise in exercise knowledge. Go learn. You are not looking like an idiot if you are reading the directions labeled on a particular exercise machine. That is taking an initiative; that is being motivated. If you take a couple of weeks to get familiar with free weights, exercise machines, and cardio machines, you will gain knowledge to where you do not have to do that forever.
I took a notebook into the gym. And I did not care if anyone thought I looked crazy or not. I wanted to learn. I could not afford a Person Trainer nor did I want to rely on one. I would take notes about certain machines, tips for myself, and progress I made. I would try each machine and learn the proper form (which is IMPERATIVE). The best way to learn is just try it out.
I do not want men staring me down.
I think a lot of times our own insecurities get the best of us. We do not feel positive or confident going into the gym so we feel as if the whole facility has their eyes on us and are watching every move we make. Most of the time people in the gym are in their own little world. They are fighting their own inner battles and worried about their own workouts. But sometimes we will get the occasional creeper who is standing there watching you work out. Do not let that keep you from joining a gym or going back to exercise. Weight loss is about YOU. It is not about anyone else. If it is that bad, go tell someone who is employed by the gym or move to another piece of equipment. Or if you are really ballsy, call he/she out on it. I would never let someone who could possibly be "staring" at me, keep me from reaching my goals.
Have you overcome gym insecurities? What are you still battling that keeps you from the gym?