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FIELDWORKING SparkPoints: (29,946)
Fitness Minutes: (64,745)
Posts: 748
11/2/13 5:26 P

Ask the staff when the gym is the least crowded. I use the gym at my university and I go early in the morning. I went once around lunch time (11:30 am or so). Crowded. I have been in the mid mornings (9 am or so) and it's been crowded. I started going when the gym opened, which is at 5:30 am. Most of the people there at that time are professors, students with 8 or 9 am classes, and community members (seniors, people that have to be at work by 8; mom's that have kids and want to get home before they leave for school). The gym is big enough so that you could be alone while you workout. Sure, I see a lot of the same people everyday. I don't know there names but I recognize them. We smile and nod and go on our ways. As others have stated, most people aren't paying attention and are in a zone. I know I am. Sure, we all notice other people but we think nothing of it.

I am assuming that you are a full-time student. If this is the case, then you should already have a membership to the gym. If you want to feel more confident in the gym, see about getting a couple of sessions with a personal trainer (for the weights). With the cardio equipment, look to see where things are placed. At my gym, the rowing machines are upstairs and look down on the pool. The only time I see people is when they go to the spin class (whatever it's called) or if they are also rowing, or using one of the stationary bikes. There are a few ellipticals there, but most use the ellipticals in the other parts of the gym. The treadmills are probably the hardest thing to get time on (depending on time of day).

Things to think consider:
1) What do I want to do in the gym?
a) weight lifting only days
b) cardio only days
c) cardio and weight lifting days
2) How much time can I spend on a workout each day?
3) What are my fitness goals?
a) Do I want to build muscle? Do I want to maintain muscle, build strength, and reduce my body fat percentage? Do I want to run in a 5K? Do I want to improve my endurance
4) What do I enjoy doing and can it translate to a workout to help me reach my goals?

I think the biggest thing is to not worry about what other people think and focus on your goals.

CAPRISONYA SparkPoints: (24,635)
Fitness Minutes: (49,336)
Posts: 81
11/2/13 4:22 P

Some college gyms really are very hard to work out in--too many people use it as a singles bar. So, try working out outside (if you go walking/running before 9am, there is usually almost no one outside on campus), or go to the gym during less busy hours. Also, while I hesitate to suggest in effect paying double, is there a Planet Fitness or something like that nearby? For $10/month, you can get a gym which is not a meat market...

HHOANG4 SparkPoints: (85)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 8
10/23/13 12:30 A

For me personally I don't have anything against going to the gym but I find that it can be an inconvenience in terms of driving there, paying a monthly fee, having to wait for equipment etc. I workout from home now on Beachbody programs and they are great. I pay once for a program and I can reuse the program as much as I want, no trips to the gym, and they all come with a nutrition guide to help with that part. Alexis, would working out from home make your life easier?

TAMARAST1974 SparkPoints: (20,629)
Fitness Minutes: (27,388)
Posts: 254
10/22/13 11:27 P

Not so much, sometimes I feel awkward working out in front of men. I just put my headphones in and do my thing

DIANE7786 Posts: 4,996
10/22/13 11:23 P

Go to the Rec Center! I was in my mid-50's before I knew the Rec Center at the major university near my home is open to anyone during the summer. My friends said old, fat women didn't belong in a college gym. It took great courage to walk through that door alone. The first people I saw were young, in shape and running fast on the track. My confidence fell to zero. The choice was leaving or staying for improved appearance and health. Then I noticed people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels. Once I started working out I was too busy counting reps to look at others or wonder what if anyone was judging me. Since then I've taken several classes. The energy from the group makes me work harder. The result is I'm strong and flexible. I'm glad I didn't run away that first day!

JCOW84 SparkPoints: (9,041)
Fitness Minutes: (17,198)
Posts: 301
10/22/13 11:12 P

I hate to say it but Curves style workout is not the most effective way to exercise as you're too sedentary during workouts because you're sitting a lot- doing full body movements are the most efficient use of your time at the gym. Other posters are right - just go to your gym and focus on you; no one is really paying attention.

10/22/13 8:57 P

I feel the same way. I am very uncomfortable at gyms. when I go walking I always wear jeans so people do not know that I am exercising. I do however LOVE exercise dvds I would be lost without them, but if you do not have space for them you have to consider different options.
With that being said, did you ever consider curves? it is all women, who come from all different fitness levels and all different ages.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
10/22/13 1:56 P

You are not the center of the universe. Nobody is watching you. Most people are so wrapped up in themselves and their own insecurities (especially in the late teens/early 20s) that they really don't notice much about other people.

Stop making excuses and just GO.

Go with a friend if you need to in order to get started. Make a great playlist, plug in your headphones and get into your own zone. Just get yourself there and fake it until you actually feel comfortable.

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 10/23/2013 (01:14)
JAMIRBLAZE Posts: 1,808
10/22/13 12:39 P

I work on a college campus, and there are times that the college gym is a bit of a meat market (and when I was in college, the most nerve wracking place to work out was there, so I totally get it). However, there are plenty of hours in the day when that crowd isn't there. The staff at the gym will be able to let you know when the gym is less crowded. They will also be able to teach you how to use the machines and point you to classes that you may enjoy. The gym on the campus where I work holds all sorts of programming for beginners and others that feel excluded - one objective of college gyms is to include those who may feel uncomfortable for multiple reasons. It even has created a secondary space which is meant to be more private. You should talk to someone who works there - I'm sure there are many others just like you.

BLBST36 Posts: 351
10/22/13 11:16 A

I know how you feel. I hated going to the gym by myself when I first started. Especially when I was the biggest one there.

I finally got over it by reminding myself that the people are at the gym for the same reason I am - to workout. No one cares if I am sweaty. No one cares if I have a red face.

Listening to music also helps me out. Keeps me going sometimes when I just want to stop. If you have the money, invest in some nice workout clothes. Something you will feel confident wearing when going to the gym. Even just nice workout pants make a difference to me.

10/22/13 11:01 A

Okay I don't generally reply with just a link to a blog post but this is too fitting. I wrote a post just a couple weeks ago about this very thing. As a formerly obese, sedentary person and someone who now trains at a gym, I can definitely see both sides of this coin.

What You Didn't Know You Need to Know About the Gym:

Edited by: IDEFYGRAVITY at: 10/22/2013 (11:02)
KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (81,670)
Fitness Minutes: (47,978)
Posts: 5,092
10/22/13 10:46 A

I think you should just bite the bullet and go to the fitness center! Seriously, most people are in the zone when they're working out and won't pay attention to anyone else.

JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
10/22/13 9:46 A

I'd like to ask if you've explored WHY you're self conscious about exercising in the gym by yourself. Do you know why? Is it because you're self conscious about being overweight? If so, please be assured that the other people in the gym aren't judging you. They propably think more highly of you than the skinny people who don't exercise. From my experience, people who go to the gym are more interested in your efforts to be FIT than your efforts to be skinny.

PAMLED Posts: 49
10/22/13 8:14 A

Hi agree with the other posts. walking is a good start and try different classes/routines on offer till you are comfortable. You will probably notice other shy people so stay nearer to them. Good luck, I am very self aware too emoticon

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
10/22/13 3:38 A

Whenever I am feeling self-conscious about exercising, I keep repeating to myself "Yes, but at least I am doing something about it."

How about trying walking or running around campus? That way you are only in front of others for 10 seconds or so, before you are past and gone.

The pool is also worth thinking about - while appearing in a swimsuit may sound scary, when you think about it, once you are in the water, as far as every other swimmer is concerned, you are just one more vague shape in the water.


10/21/13 1:59 P

Hi! I like your name :)

Having a student rec center is awesome. Don't let other people ruin your goals. There is nothing to be afraid of - just go in there and get on that elliptical! You will feel so good and empowered after you are done and realize it's no big deal. If you shy away from things you are scared of your whole life you won't get to DO anything!

If you go in with your headphones and a magazine, just pay attention to the music and the magazine and everyone else will fade into the background.

Even 15 mins/day can be super helpful. Once you are more comfortable you can sign up for a class which is a good way to make friends, too!

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (198,705)
Fitness Minutes: (296,898)
Posts: 27,211
10/21/13 1:56 P

H, Lexie !

How about taking a walk ? Walking is wonderful cardiovascular exercise and a great way to start a regular exercise program. You shouldn't be afraid to scared to workout in front of other people. Honestly, most people who go to the gym are not looking at you and judging. Most people just want to get in, get their workout done and get out. You paid good money to go to this college, you should use the facilities since they were part of your activity fees you had to pay.

If your school gym has a fitness class schedule, you should check it out. Don't be afraid to try a class. No one is judging. Like you, everyone else in the class just wants to get a good workout. Just let the instructor know that you're new and they'll show you modifications where you need them. Mostly, you go at your own pace.

And if you don't want to go to a gym, you don't have to. You could take a daily walk or do exercise DVDs in your dorm room. I know there's not a whole lot of space to move around, but you do the best you can with what you have.

How about a daily walk ?

Edited by: ARCHIMEDESII at: 10/21/2013 (13:58)
LEXIELOVESJUAN SparkPoints: (773)
Fitness Minutes: (512)
Posts: 3
10/21/13 1:50 P

Hi all,

I started doing this SparkPeople thing about a week ago and so far I have been quite successful with sticking to my calorie intake and my fast break goals. However, I am finding it hard to convince myself to exercise because I don't like to in front of other people. I am in college and live in a dorm, so just going in my room to be alone isn't really an option. We have a Student Recreational Center that is free to use (it has cardio machines and weight-training machines and a pool) but I am afraid to go there by myself and work out alone. Any suggestions would be much helpful. Thank you!

Alexis emoticon

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