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JOHORTON8 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 12
11/8/12 1:36 P

I agree that if you are concerned that your form may not be right, ask one of the gym employees. As far as other people working out, the other people in the gym are WAY to focused on their own workout to pay attention to you (and if they've got the time to people watch they aren't working out hard enough, lol). I go to the gym several days a week, and I'll tell you I don't really notice the other people around me (unless it's to say "excuse me" as I reach for a stretching mat or something). I figure we're all there trying for the same thing, no matter our gender/age/size, and I think that we should all just give each other a cheer/thumbs up/high-five for being healthier and more focused than the majority of people in the US.

Congrats on the upcoming wedding and good luck with your new workout routine!

CATMAGNET SparkPoints: (40,431)
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Posts: 1,183
11/8/12 1:22 P

Being self-conscious is definitely a head game for some, that's for sure. However, at least in my experience, most folks are concentrating on their own routine that they're not going to pay attention too much to the new girl doing her thing (unless you fall off the treadmill, then they're just going to want to make sure you're OK. I know that from experience too!).

I would just make sure that in joining a gym, take advantage of the orientation session (most gyms offer one with a personal trainer) to make sure you're using the proper form and ask questions if you don't understand something. Also make sure to look at the demonstrations here on SparkPeople, because they're awesome too.

Above all, just concentrate on what you're doing and make sure that you're enjoying yourself or at the very least, knowing that when you do all this stuff, a healthier, fit body is going to emerge from it. The feeling is AMAZING, so enjoy it!

Best of luck with the changes you make!

ELOQUENTZ SparkPoints: (6,844)
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Posts: 310
11/8/12 1:02 P

My impression at the gym is most of us are overweight folks trying to lose some weight. Yeah, there are some really fit people, but maybe they haven't been that way always. No one is staring at you, I promise. They might be people watching and looking around, but no one is staring.

PSCHIAVONE2 SparkPoints: (20,650)
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Posts: 785
11/8/12 10:11 A

I have been involved in athletics since college, almost 30 years ago, and now when I go to the gym I feel not up to snuff because I know how I used to work out. But I just go and bring the gut with me. As long as your trying everyone will respect that.

ANDREAG89 SparkPoints: (27,515)
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Posts: 552
11/8/12 10:07 A

Definitely ask an employee to show you the ropes if you feel like you're not going to approach it right.

No one will be judging you because they are preoccupied with themselves and their own workouts and how they look. And you have to realize that even if they did, it's not about them. It's about you reaching your goal, no matter what anyone else says, does, thinks, or whether they give you a cross-eyed look. No one can derail you but you.

But it sounds like you won't be getting derailed anytime soon. You've got a goal and you're sticking to it - just keep it in mind all the time and let nothing stop you!
emoticon emoticon

PANDORA114 Posts: 10
11/8/12 7:56 A

My local gym is the military gym, but dependants can use it. Talk about awkward. And yes I felt self concious. I still do tbh, but I'm there to work out, not look good for everyone around. I don't care if the other wives gossip about me, they already do anyway so why should I care? anyway I think my smoothie has started digesting so I should hit the gym.

11/8/12 5:58 A

I only started using my gym the last few months, and I, too was self conscious about everyone else in the room.
However, I do late classes at 7:30pm and they finish an hour later, and I hit the weights afterwards, and there's only ever like 4 other people in the gym by that time.
Sometimes we have a little look to see what each other is doing, but I think more than anything people are looking to see that you're doing it right (which you should be if you've had a proper gym induction).
And if anyone is looking, at least you can say to yourself that you are doing something for yourself, unlike all the other people who could do with going to the gym and never do!

Honestly, I'm like 220lbs, and if I see someone at the gym the same size or bigger than me, I smile at them, because we are working hard to do this for ourselves, and no-one can take that from you!

11/8/12 12:25 A

Concentrate on what YOU have to do. As previously said, nobody at the gym cares. They're doing there own thing. When I first went to a gym, I thought that I would be self-conscious but quickly realized that there were ALL kinds of people there doing their routine. Did you have a trainer show you around and how to use the equipment and use proper form as they expect or have learned? Or have them help you set up a workout plan,just in the beginning, to give you confidence and a direction to follow. You'll be more focused on your needs rather than what others are thinking. : )

Also, consider working in your other exercise strategies( videos etc), in addition to the gym, to keep you you motivated...

Do what's good for you!!! You'll do it!

CORTNEY-LEE SparkPoints: (67,852)
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Posts: 3,526
11/7/12 9:51 P

yes HEZZYLUNA - you can and you WILL do this!!!!

get out there and kick some butt!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

GINGERVISTA Posts: 6,236
11/7/12 9:48 P

OMG, sounds like you're really committed & have a emoticon program going!

After being part of various gyms over the past several decades, initially feeling SOOOOOOO intimidated, first in my 20s & 30s, I've gone with my daughter to her gyms, etc. I've gotta tell ya..... nobody cares. Everybody knows that people are at the gym to get healthy, make improvements, etc. & many of them have been where we've been. When younger, I remember my heart going a mile a minute because I KNEW everybody was staring at me! Well, take heart, because nobody cares; if anything, some have an attitude of, "good for you!" For the most part, everybody's into their own routines, fitness classes or whatever & they're oblivious to the rest of us, so you can relax. I promise. emoticon

COCHRANE0511 SparkPoints: (6,250)
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Posts: 162
11/7/12 9:36 P

I completely can empathize with your feelings. Know that you are there to improve upon your goals.

SPUNSILK327 SparkPoints: (347,941)
Fitness Minutes: (109,566)
Posts: 2,461
11/7/12 9:15 P

Go get'em!!!!!

emoticon You - at the gym laughing.

HEZZYLUNA Posts: 129
11/7/12 9:02 P

WOW, I just want to say THANK YOU to every single one of you! You guys are so awesome.. see, this is a shining example of why I love SP so much. In fact, I may even have to print out this whole stream so I can look at all of your advice the next time I feel like this (which will be tomorrow! lol)

As an update, I went to the gym and I started chickening out. One person said below that I'm self centered for feeling this way, and who knows maybe that's narcissism 101, it's just I've always had body image issues, and I've always cared so friggin much what other people think of me, even if I'll never see them again. Social anxiety hardcore. It's something that affects my life negatively every single day of my life, so I view this whole gym thing as a sort of stepping stone. Anyways, I quickly texted a friend of mine, who isn't afraid to tell me like it is, and told her to tell me the truth, and wouldn't-ya-know-it, she basically said what y'all said- that no one's going to judge me, that if anything she always loves to see someone really trying something that's out of their comfort zone.

Anyways, I wish I could adequately express how touched I am from all of your responses, and also how empowered I feel. I CAN do this!

SUESUESUDIO SparkPoints: (269)
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Posts: 34
11/7/12 8:42 P

I totally understand how you feel. That was me 9 months ago, when I joined a gym.

At first, I would only go with my husband and we would walk the track together. The first day, I noticed *tattoo lady* (She has two beautiful tattoos on her hip and ankle). She is totally fit.

My husband's work hours changed so I had to start going by myself. I waited until no one was in the gym and I tried out an elliptical trainer. A bit later, *tattoo lady* comes in and starts lifting weights. At the time, I was jealous of her. I was also embarrassed about how I had allowed myself to get this overweight.

I continued going to the gym and she would be there. I work in a local small town grocery store and mentioned this experience to one of my co-workers. It turns out that *tattoo lady* has lost over 200 lbs and the tattoos were a gift to herself when she completed her weight loss.

While she doesn't know it, she is now my inspiration.

No one will look at you. Don't feel self-concious. Chances are the others have walked in your shoes before. Before you know it, you will be an inspiration to others.

JHISEROTE SparkPoints: (8,887)
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Posts: 209
11/7/12 8:30 P

Fake it! You know when I'm at the gym and I'm watching someone lifting weights, I would have no idea if they knew what they were doing or not nor would I care, at least they are trying! I know how you feel though, it's a little intimidating doing free weights, at my gym, it's usually men doing it so I usually stick with the machines.

ANNE007 Posts: 153
11/7/12 7:44 P


Your work out schedule is very ambitious for someone just starting out. You might want to consider going easy on yourself at first so you don't get burned out. Maybe start at 3x per week until after the holidays then adding days after the first of the year.

It takes some time to develop good habits, give yourself time to adjust!

ANNE007 Posts: 153
11/7/12 7:42 P

Good for you for getting back into it!

I have never had a problem at the gym but when I started I was not at a bad weight - higher than I wanted but not bad - and I went with a friend of mine. She and I started learning some of the equipment ourselves and then graduated to sharing a personal trainer. He would give us a new routine that we would use for 6 weeks or so, then we would hire him again for another routine and we'd use that one. Now we make up our own routines and decide what equipment to use.

We usually do cardio on our own. One might show up early, before we're scheduled to life together, and the other one may stay after. Or one or both of us may skip the cardio that day and just lift. We both go to the gym on our own for singular cardio sessions as we please.

Having a work out buddy helped enormously - I never really worried about what others were thinking as we were just focusing on ourselves. And I will say that I am far more put-out by people at the gym who don't understand proper etiquette than anyone who is overweight. People who pretend to be lifting when they are just sitting there, or they are on the phone, or sitting there taking up a machine while they are get the idea. Now those people can make me crazy! Be sure to learn your gym etiquette and I think you'll be fine!

CREICHEL Posts: 108
11/7/12 7:36 P

keep in mind too that a lot of the "skinny" people used to be the heavy ones. When I see a new person just learning and figuring out what to do, I always want to run up and tell them that I lost 60 pounds and to keep it up!! I do like working with a trainer or following a program to help get through the first few months. Also, don't forget about the nutrition.

SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (20,177)
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Posts: 333
11/7/12 6:48 P

Hezzyluna: I bet you are beautiful. Walk in there like you own the joint.

I can relate. As much as I love to swim, I wear a pereo over my suit while I'm getting my equipment together because my thighs are the ugliest pair in the human race. It's never kept me from going to the pool or lake, but I am self-conscious about it.

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
11/7/12 4:54 P

No, I can't relate at all. I put on a bathing suit and got back in the pool at 300 pounds because it was what I needed to do for myself, in order to take care of myself. It wasn't about anybody else.

I still weigh over 200 pounds and I can out-Zumba anybody in my town. I can keep up with professional dancers in workshops. I can swim a :35 mile, run a 5K, etc. Fitness is NOT just for tiny people.

Learn what you need to (it sounds like some sessions with a trainer would be good in your case) and just get out there and do it.

This is a form of excuse making. It's also very self centered. Nobody else in the gym cares about how you look or what you are doing. Value yourself enough to stop playing this particular mind game.

11/7/12 4:02 P

I was listening to an old Jillian Michaels' podcast that addresses this issue - Bob was on there too. Anyway, Bob said there'll always be people who make you feel self conscious but they're usually looking over because they've got good advice and want to share it; don't assume everyone is being critical or judging. He also recommended a trainer.

Jillian on the other hand, she told the caller that when it comes right down to it, other people's opinions doesn't matter. Anyone being critical can all go take a running jump, and you don't need to worry about what jerks think.

Both opinions have really helped me; I am the fat girl who looks like a right (red, very sweaty) idiot, but I'm trying and that makes me feel good about me.

Edited by: VAPIDWENCH at: 11/7/2012 (16:09)
N16351D Posts: 2,349
11/7/12 2:44 P

I learned to lift weights at our local fitness club by bringing the book, "Body for Life" by Bill Phillips to the weight room with me. I read it at home first, then brought it with me to consult and figure out the amount of weight, the form, and to learn what to do.

You bet I felt embarrassed doing that! But I ignored that feeling and others. And no one paid any attention to me. I learned to lift weights. It didn't take but a few sessions and I didn't need the book anymore. But I did need my chart (also found in the book).

My goal was to lift weights when I had no instruction and help. I didn't care what others thought and just did it anyway. It worked.

DMJAKES Posts: 1,635
11/7/12 1:58 P

Hezzy - you've gotten some great advice, but I would also recommend going to the library and checking out The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. It's got routines already spelled out for you and LOTS of pictures and descriptions of the moves to help you along.

As others have said, the vast majority of gym goers are so focused on their workout that they won't even give you more than a passing glance unless you practically bump into them. Go for won't regret it!

FITBODME SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 132
11/7/12 1:55 P


PINKPONY70 SparkPoints: (1,559)
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Posts: 9
11/7/12 12:29 P

I'm a former power lifter. When I was in my twenties I was fit and could lift with the best of them. I've been using what I know to lose weight with no success. It was until I decided to be in your place (the fat chic that doesnt know what she's doing) that I learned the most. I wasnt that power lifter I used to be. I'm the woman that is over weight and needs to take it on as a beginner. So to respond to what you are saying, go ahead and be that girl, we learn by doing and asking others for help. I'm meeting with a trainer to revamp my workouts. Dont worry about what others think, you are there for you not them.Just suck it up and deal with it and soon we can call ourselves the healthy chics that rock that gym! Good luck

ABOUT_FACE SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 31
11/7/12 12:02 P

I don't have the gym problem, but I'm training for a 5k with a sparkpeople program and I run at a public track. I was really nervous about what the other people would think of the fat girl trying to run. I would drive past the track and if other people were there, I would drive past and try again later. Eventually I realized it was ridiculous to let them have that much control over what I was trying to do. I just DID it and heck with it. Either they aren't going to notice me at all, they are going to feel the same was I do, they are going to be positive or they are going to be jerks. I was very pleasantly surprised by how it worked out.

I blogged about it here:

I haven't hesitated to go to the track since that day.

This is all in our own heads. If anyone does think anything can't stop them. You can't control what other people do, but you can control how you react to it.

Go to the gym and rock it out! You've got all winter and spring to make it work for you.

UGAKATE85 Posts: 2,630
11/7/12 11:15 A

It's important to remember that quote "if you still look pretty at the end of a workout, you didn't train hard enough." Even the smaller/fitter people often look a little rough by the end of their workout. Personally, I love when I leave a workout looking AWFUL b/c I know I pushed myself as hard as I possibly can. Try to remind yourself that the vast majority of the people at the gym are there to better themselves, not to judge other people.

CHRISTYV57 SparkPoints: (103,324)
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Posts: 24
11/7/12 9:41 A

I highly recoommend Curves for women. No mirrors, other people who look like you, no spandex, and the machines are set up to do all the decision making for you. You progress at your own pace, it is safe, and the coaches are great. It is designed to help women get in shape and stay in shape, from a health standpoint. Weight loss is just one benefit. Since I started Curves last January, my cholesterol is down, my blood sugar is under control, my bone density is up, I feel better, I can do more and I can still lift my 48 lb. grandchild who has grown bunches this year. And I have lost 20 lbs. You deserve this, you're working hard!

KAREBEARCARES SparkPoints: (23,560)
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Posts: 66
11/7/12 9:30 A

you can do it!
I was scared too.. but once I went I realised the gym is full of a whole range of people... from oldies to teenagers, at various levels of fitness. I actually felt like I fit in just fine!

sometimes I still do get a wee bit intimidated... but I remember we are all there for the same reason and I just get on with things!

just dive in!

SPUNSILK327 SparkPoints: (347,941)
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Posts: 2,461
11/7/12 9:19 A

First of all, you are beautiful and deserve to be there keeping yourself healthy.

But I know how you feel. I only look in the mirror to check my form and try not to dwell on the body I think I see. Because, frankly, no one else is looking at you (at least this what I tell myself).

I am lucky to be able to work out with a personal trainer twice a week and one of my favorite laughs we share is how these buff guys come in, lift one way-too-heavy weight one time complete with grunting and then proceed to sit on the bench and play with their phone for 10 minutes. Also, some of the exercises I am working on just make me laugh becasue they are weird to me.

My point is, try to have fun. Laugh to yourself. And thank your lucky stars that the super-sweaty guy isn't drencging you with his run-off.

emoticon emoticon Here are laughing guy and strong guy!

JOYFULME01 Posts: 621
11/7/12 9:13 A

What's important is that you're there. Like many others, its my experience that most folks at the gym are intent on their own workout and don't have an interest in what others are doing. If there are those that are intent on minding someone elses busines . . . they are there for the wrong reasons and aren't worth worrying about.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
11/7/12 8:26 A

I would recommend that you use the machines in combination with the free weight exercises that you remember - the machines are there for a reason, you will not destroy your workout by using them. I combine bodyweight exercises, free weights, and weight machines when I work out. Most people do. There are some things that are better done on machines anyway. I consider cable machines practically free weights anyway. But it doesn't matter - you can make progress with all these methods of strength training. Throw resistance bands, TRX, kettlebell,s etc. into the mix if you like - really there are a lot of ways to get a good strength training workout. Do what you feel most comfortable doing initially so that you are establishing a routine - this is the most important thing!!

When I started, I just did the machines. Once I started getting into it, I started learning how to use free weights. And then after that, I started getting into bodyweight/calisthenics exercises which I consider the most "advanced" (for me). It's a process.

Some machines that I think are great even if you're not a beginner: assisted pullup machine, lat pulldown machine, low/seated pulley row, and you can use a cable machine for biceps and triceps stuff very easily.

Do you know how to do pushups? That's a fantastic chest exercise. Put your hands close together and do them; that's a fantastic triceps exercise. You don't need to know how to use free weights to work out those muscle groups if you do those! For your legs -- Jillian Michaels uses squats fairly often so you probably know how to do those, right? Do some bodyweight squats to start - you don't even need to add weight in the beginning. Just focus on getting your butt down so low that the back of your thigh touches your calf. Once you can do that, you can start adding weight. For your calves, do calf raises standing on one leg - no need for added weight in the beginning. Just put the toes of one foot on a step and press up and down.

You don't need a lot of "know how" to get a great workout. None of those exercises are complex I don't think. You'll probably start to feel more comfortable after 2 or 3 strength training workouts.

Pay special attention to what equipment is in the gym. The first time I went to my new gym, I wrote on a piece of paper every single piece of equipment in the gym. When I went home, I thought about what kinds of workouts I could do there, what would be fun, what I needed to find replacements for. For example my new gym doesn't have a squat rack (I know... horror!) so I started doing pistol squats instead of weighted barbell squats. There is always a way around missing equipment, but it's nice to have a list of what's there.

At my gym, there are a lot of women who lift, at all different levels. Some just use machines. Some just attend the "Abs & Butts" class. Some do pullups. Some use bare barbells. Some are fat. Some are super skinny. Some have great muscle definition. Some show up once every few weeks. Some are there every day. Some are in their low 20s. Some are in their 70s. We're all in it together, trying to push ourselves. There's an air of mutual respect that's quite a positive thing actually. I've never seen anyone stare, be rude, or unkind to anyone. I go to a very average gym. I'm sure yours will be the same way.

WISDOM73 Posts: 528
11/7/12 8:04 A

Dear hezzy Luna, like other sparkers I agree that people at the gym do their thing and just give other gym goers very little attention. I salute the fact that you want to be as healthy as you can and that you are willing to do what needs to be done to reach your goal. Just go ahead and do your thing, get proper training and info from a certified trainer ( a few sessions could do it quite well) and don't let anyone get in your way! I love to weight lift and am often one of the few girls who actually make it to the free weights section. Weight lifting is not only excellent for my figure, bones and core, itmakes me feel strong and confident! Enjoy!

ZENNITH SparkPoints: (40,321)
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Posts: 644
11/7/12 6:26 A

Most people are concentrating on their own work out and not taking any notice of others around them. But you'll find that feeling goes away with more gym visits. Why not just do what you feel comfortable with and make a gradual transition to what you really want to do as your confidence grows?

DIZZYINDESERT SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 10
11/7/12 5:22 A

When I first went back to the gym after a 2 year hiatus (and a 40lb weight gain) and was feeling embarrassed and uncoordinated I used to give myself a pep talk, to the effect of:

"yes, this is hard. But you know what, it takes GUTS to get up and get to the gym and do something hard! You may not be the fittest person in the room, but you've got balls lady!"

And to be honest, now that I've been going a while for a few months, I've realised that a) no one is really looking at me; b) there are bigger people than me there, and no one is looking at them either and; c) I'm now much faster, stronger and fitter, so whatever I've been doing, I've been doing it right!

I agree with the previous posters though - have a session or two with one of the trainers. If nothing else, its nice to know at least 1 person!

ALIHIKES Posts: 4,456
11/7/12 3:40 A

It helps a lot to have a general orientation with an instructor that will explain the machines; then you know what to do on equipment that may initially be unfamiliar. Wear comfortable exercise clothes -- and GO. People of all sizes and shapes will be there. Sometimes I am the heaviest person in the gym -- other times not. A few people are very friendly and encouraging -- most are just focused on their own routine. If you can go with a friend that helps (I just e-mail a couple of friends; about half the time someone says "Sure! I'll go!" We all go to the community gym that doesn't require a membership; you just pay as you go)

BUBBLEJ1 Posts: 2,981
11/7/12 12:16 A

No one is looking at you. No one cares. Promise. Just go and get it done. Write down the moves you want to do so you don't forget!
Remember, weight loss is 80% diet, so make sure you have that in check :)

GRATTECIELLA SparkPoints: (127,973)
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Posts: 4,422
11/7/12 12:04 A

I know how you feel. But I think the most important thing is to remember that everyone is there for themselves, not to scope out other people. (And if they are, they're the type of shallow people you don't care about anyway!). Get some cute workout clothes (they're cheap at Target) and get out there!

MISSJANE2011 Posts: 45
11/7/12 12:02 A

HI there,

I know exactly how you feel - about 5 yrs ago I had a gym membership paid for as part of my salary package, and I had NEVER worked out publicly in a gym before. I was at that time around 95kgs so felt very self-conscious on Day One.

I was pleasantly suprised to find no-body gave a d*mn about it apart from myself....!! I ended up joining some group classes and really enjoying the whole experience, so decided it was only in MY head and I chose to feel good about making an effort to improve myself.

The only sort of vibe I ever picked up was a positive one, so get stuck in there girl, and feel proud of yourself that you have the courage to get yourself fit.

JENNILYNN7800 Posts: 649
11/6/12 11:13 P

At least you're trying. I wouldn't worry too much anyway even if there was a person or two making fun of you. After all, what does that say for that person's character that they would make fun of someone trying to better themself. Those types of people usually have low self esteem and feel the need to make fun of others to make themselves feel better.

11/6/12 11:08 P

I totally get the feeling. I've been going to a gym on and off over the last 10 months. It was a brand new gym and I started as soon as they opened so I kinda felt I belonged there from the beginning. The had a deal for 3 short personal trainer sessions so I took advantage which worked great for me because he showed me various machines and exercises and I felt comfortable there. Since then, I've gone up to various employees and asked questions (something very tough for me).

I was looking around our gym today and yes there are the super fit people there but they are either very focused on what they are doing and if not, they smile. But there were also various sizes and shapes and ages. I was impressed especially by those I could tell who were really trying hard but not finding it easy.

I think we've spent so many of ours years being embarrassed about how we look that we assume others look at us the same way. But at the gym, everyone is there for the same reason - to get and stay healthy.

Find somewhere you like and feel comfortable and ask questions (or watch what others are doing and copy).

Good luck and enjoy cos I sure am (and I'm nowhere close to being at goal but I enjoy feeling healthy).

FIERCESTCALM SparkPoints: (30,830)
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Posts: 1,223
11/6/12 10:00 P

have confidence in yourself that you are doing something healthy for yourself. ironically for me the gym is the ONLY place where I don't feel embarrassed or not good enough. I'm able to think back to where I was when I first started working out and the difference between then and now is astounding!! you can do this and I guarantee no one else is judging you the way that you think they are or are judging yourself.

LIBBYL1 Posts: 5,933
11/6/12 9:49 P

I felt very self conscious when I first went to the gym. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to go to a class - using the machines even the treadmill intimidated me as I wasn't sure what to do and felt asking would expose me. But there was a place tucked away and with my daughter with me (17) worked out a bit. The class was difficult the first time - but now is the place I feel most comfortable with. Great encouragement when I could do things that I hadn't been able to before because the teacher noticed so I knew it was true rather than just my imagination. As I lost weight, the class members also were wonderful - commenting on how they couldn't believe how much I had transformed etc. I am now in a different gym (the first one I went to closed down) and still don't use many of the machines as I still feel awkward about not knowing how to use them. but I am doing fine without using them...and need a class and teacher to not cheat and last the full hour

11/6/12 9:47 P

On a more sarcastic note, I welcome seeing the heavier person at the gym working out and making changes anyday than the super skinny girl doing nothing but checking out the guys and doing nothing.

11/6/12 9:44 P

In 2003, I weighed in at 330 lbs and was a candidate for weight loss surgery. My surgeon required I join a gym and train for 3 months before I could have the surgery. His goal was learning lifestyle change and understanding that this would be part of my life for the rest of it. I had the surgery, suffered through the embarassment of being the "heavy" person at the gym, and did what I needed to do. How I survived the awkward teenage-like phase of getting healthy is I kept reminding myself I would rather be the heavy girl at the gym than the heavy girl at the buffet and I was doing the right thing. The results would show that. Today, I'm 160, fit, tone, happy (my mental health has been the biggest improvement) and I love encouraging people to do it. Don't be afraid of what others think, they didn't always look like that either. It takes work, commitment and lifestyle changes. You can do it.

MMEEAAGGX3 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,876)
Posts: 1,049
11/6/12 8:25 P

Do you have a Planet Fitness in your area? I find that they are much less intimidating with their whole "Judgmental Free Zone" theme.

MOMMYOF2RN Posts: 579
11/6/12 7:48 P

I felt the same way when I first started, but I got a personal trainer who showed me the most beneficial way to use free weights. If PT is not an option, usually a gym employee can help. But I really dont think anyone will pay any attention to you but if someone has something negative to say, dont worry at least you are in there busting your butt...keep your head up you got this! emoticon emoticon

KIJIPEOPLE SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (9,825)
Posts: 129
11/6/12 7:25 P

I totally know the feeling. I've never been terribly successful with weight loss, but I'm very motivated right now because I'm standing in my brother-in-law's wedding in May. I've been building up slowly to running short distances but always feel like I'm flopping around, the fat girl on the track trying to look like she can run.

I'll say this, though: I've never been laughed at. I've never caught anyone watching me with disapproval. I've had big grins and thumbs-up, though, especially from people who know me in passing (I work at the library which shares the shopping center with my gym, so there are a lot of patrons who recognize me). I think that most people are too preoccupied with their own work-out to snicker behind their hands at anyone else. And most people know how humiliated they'd feel if someone did it to them.

Hold your head high! Ask for help if you need it, but hold yourself with confidence and most people will assume you know what you're doing.

IVYLASS SparkPoints: (225,880)
Fitness Minutes: (84,634)
Posts: 7,170
11/6/12 2:59 P

If you need help with your form, ask one of the gym employees to help you. Trust me, no one is staring at you. They're too focused with their own work out. I notice overweight people at the gym, but it's a passing, "Good for them" on my way to the elliptical.

HEZZYLUNA Posts: 129
11/6/12 2:39 P

So in the past year, I've tried and failed at weight loss numerous times. This time, I have an actual wedding date, so it's kind of now or never! I'm getting married next October, but my goal date is actually in June because that's when I should be buying/fitting my dress.

Anyways, one thing I'm doing this time is trying to re-do my whole workout routine. Before, I basically just did circuit training 6 days a week (Jillian Michaels videos). And I would only work out in the morning (wake up at 5am to work out before work). For some reason I just hated working out after work.But I'd get soooo sick of waking up so early!

So this time, I'm working out after work a few times a week, when my fiance will be at school anyways, and in the mornings the other days, and I got this 12-week exercise program I found on the internet that I'm kind of copying. It's basically 4 days of cardio, 3 days of strength. Yesterday was day one and it was a cardio day. Today is strength day (with "active rest" cardio.. just getting up and moving around whenever you can). And today I'm supposed to go to the gym and do a total body strength workout. And I'm kind of terrified.

I've done enough workout videos that I think I have enough weighted strength moves, as well as not weighted, just in my head that I can do from memory with proper form, but.. I'm really feeling so embarrassed to do that in public. I don't want to look like that fat girl in the corner trying to act like she can lift. I know that might sound crazy.. and maybe (hopefully!) people will think I'm just trying, ya know? And cut me some slack.. because I'm not going to chicken out. I'm just afraid that once I get there, I'll just go to the weight machines, which I won't be as good a workout.

Does anyone ever feel this way? Have any tips on getting over this fear of looking like a fool working out in public?

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