When I joined a gym, I decided very quickly that since it was an investment in my healthier, fitter body, and yes, it was expensive, I was going to continue, no matter what. I soon realised that only I took notice of what I did; the others were too busy getting their money’s worth, just like me. The only time I really noticed someone and stared, was the time a woman proceeded to walk on her hands backwards and forwards, and I commented that I had never been able to do a handstand, let alone walk on my hands. So, like someone else said... JUST DO IT !!
That is a great idea about using the book to keep yourself going. I often wondered why someone doesn't invent an exercise machine that powers your television: you could only see your show as long as you keep pedaling!
When I first started going to the gym in my 20s - a habit that didn't end up sticking - it was the university campus gym, so it was FULL of skinny 17-22 year old girls in their tiniest shorts and tank tops -talk about an environment to make an overweight girl like me feel insecure!!
Anyways, I also brought a book with me. I picked up the hot new bestseller of the time, the first Harry Potter! The fourth book had just come out, and being in my early 20s, I wasn't a child and didn't have any children in my life, so I'd never heard of it before and had no idea what the premise was. But it seemed like a mindless easy read, perfect for my purposes. And like you, I dedicated that book to the gym - if I wasn't working out, I couldn't continue reading. That first day, I stayed on the elliptical for almost 90 minutes because I didn't want to stop reading! The gym didn't end up becoming a part of my life back then, but Harry Potter sure has!
"Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted" - John Lennon
Returning to the gym recently I shared some of these same fears/feelings. But, once I was there I realize everyone is really focused on their own workouts. Sometimes I watch others and then try what they are doing (and I noticed someone else did it with me - I am doing mainly body resistance strength training - after I did arm circles I noticed others started).
My only bad gym experience was years ago - when I had returned after a stressful grad program and gaining weight. The woman on the machine next to me leaned over onto my stair machine and started to press my resistance button up while I was on the machine - and said, "you'll make zero progress and get nowhere going at the low resistance you have." I got off the machine and got on a different one and said it was my first day back after a knee injury. It is the moment that haunts me whenever I am getting back. The college where I am now is very small with a very large facility so no one needs to talk to each other and everyone is in their own space. That bad experience was in the south and when I shared the story at the time with others (also in the south) people said, "oh, wasn't that thoughtful of her." But now I see that it is not only bad gym etiquette but dangerous.
I'm also self-conscious in that I am a former athlete. I"m rebuilding myself after 7 years of inactivity and a 70-pound weight gain and have made a 70-week goal for myself. Someone who doesn't go to the gym said to me 'is it doing any good, I don't see that it's doing any good." so I"m realizing I need to keep it to myself and be my greatest supporter and find like-minded people here. You can do it!
A body in motion is a beautiful thing and tends to stay in motion.
I'm going to speak the truth here, even if it isn't a popular truth. Yes, when I'm at the gym I look at other people. Yes, I notice if someone is hugely overweight. I mean how can you help but notice other people and secretly compare bodies when you're in that setting? However, I don't "judge" people who are overweight at the gym, since they are clearly there working hard to get in shape. Good for them! (The ones I "judge," if I'm going to keep being honest here, are the ones with a cart full of sodas and junk food at the grocery store.) I know it isn't PC to admit to being judgmental, but it is honest - we ALL do it, whether we intend to or not. On the other hand, I'm sure judgmental looks have been thrown my way as well because it goes both ways. It's just one of life's realities that we have to accept and choose to do what we do in spite of it.
I am beginning to think I am the one watching everyone to see if they are watching me and no one is! Everyone really is lost in their workout. I do agree that it does take work to make exercise part of your life.
I tried a couple of gyms and felt awkward. But now I go to Planet Fitness and the mix of people there is very welcoming. Their "No intimidation" policy works. I just do my own thing and never mind anyone else. and . . Am confident they are all doing the same. Many headsets on and TV's to watch. My biggest issue is making time to get over there. I still need to make exercise a part of my daily/weekly routine.
Nobody is watching you, and honestly if they are I hope they are thinking like I do and say, "good for you!" Just remember we all start somewhere. You don't know their back story, and maybe they came in just like you and now you see their transformation
Total SparkPoints: 272,330
SparkPoints Level 23
Fitness Minutes: (78,795)
11/16/18 6:04 A
No one is watching you, they are all to busy focusing on their own workout. Also I genuinely believe that we are all on a journey and people are at a different stage and most people remember what it was like when they started.
Nike had it right - just do it. I have started my third week and no one has looked at the amount of weights I use or how fast I go one the bike. They are all too busy looking at their cellphones or exercising. We all have to start somewhere. I sweat a lot too ! All this exercise and I wore size o pants today. It is vanity sizing. I still have about 100 lbs to go give or take, but what a gym motivator! By the way, I had my gym membership for almost 2 years before I started using it 3 weeks ago!
Keep on Sparking!
current weight: 223.0
Fitness Minutes: (174,046)
7,619 10/30/18 4:03 P
Oh thank you! I have a Y membership. I have not used it this year.... well maybe a couple times early in the year. I have decided once again it is time to quit playing the I will do it later game and focus on my health. I want to go back to the Y, but I am even heavier than I was when I originally joined. I can't run the track with those runners, I walk and break out in a sweat doing so. I can't keep up with those other people on the exercise bikes - yes, I will look at their screen and see what they are doing and what I am not. Sometimes I feel like they look at me like I am taking up too much space, keeping them from their favorite piece of equipment, getting in their way on the track.
Comparison is the thief of joy! No one has EVER said anything to me...except me in my head!
I need to focus on the fact that I am there and not on the couch anymore! you inspired me. Dusting off my membership card and heading to the Y!
Be proud you are working out! I have used my weak 5 pound weights next to grunting macho men. Everyone has to start somewhere and no one was looking at my weights and saying, "Oh so weak." It is all part of the process and journey. Just think in a month where you will be and then 2 months and so on.
This really hits home for me. I am overweight but not obese. I am a 66 year old female. I have gone to classes at the gym where I am not only the heaviest person but also the weakest, and it shatters my confidence. Several years ago I was in a yoga class, and the young lady next to me was like a pretzel. I think she sensed my discomfort and told me not to worry about it. I try not to, but it is hard.
My gym is actually very inclusive and welcomes people who are "different". I think there are some gyms that don't want members who are older and/or not in great shape. Fortunately my place isn't like that. There is a woman who comes in almost every night who must be about 90 years old. She uses a walker (she used a cane when I first met her). Her exercise amounts to very slow walking on the treadmill and some very light weight lifting on machines. Some young guy brings her in (obviously her son or grandson). But I give her so much credit for being there.
I have to take the water aerobics classes into consideration.
I just got my fitbit and I must say that I am underwhelmed with it! It doesn't seem to track stationary cycling or hand cycling or half the machines I use. I will give it some more time, but so far, the Spark fitness tracker seems better! Thanks for all the gym encouragement. I've been going every other day. I am a bit weary when I leave after an hour and a half, but happily, I don't ache or hurt the next day!
There are many of us who celebrate seeing anyone at the club caring about their health. For me I applaud those of us who have a lot more than some to loose. It shows a lot of grit and character to regularly go there and work on improving. I find few who are really out to condemn another.
I have been 5 times so far and it is ok. I have exercised next to macho grunting men and skinny women. I am amazed though that most people have cell phones with them and they seem wrapped up in them. I leave mine home. Anyway, so far, so good.
Keep on Sparking!
current weight: 223.0
Fitness Minutes: (44,202)
1,445 10/25/18 8:29 A
You're doing it and that's what matters. It's unlikely that others are thinking ill of you. As others have said, most people are busy doing their own thing. Eventually, you will feel so comfortable, you'll wonder why you ever worried.
“Fall down seven times; get up eight." Eastern Time Zone
Thanks everyone for the encouraging words. I am doing cardio-stationary cycle and I am using about 6 machines. I spent my 1st session with a gym trainer who showed me how to use the machines and recommended a routine. We will see how it goes. The cycling is fun. You can program routes. I did one through the champagne region of France!
I felt the same way at first too. That's why I grabbed a buddy to workout with so I wasn't distracted by the other people. Eventually, she bailed and I realized that most people at the gym don't pay any attention to others, they are focused on themselves. Keep up the good work and it will get easier !!
You have a great outlook and positive attitude! Like many people here have said, no one is really looking at you, or anyone else! They might glance at a new face in the gym, but most people don't bother.
My suggestion, if you're new to a gym, is to hire a Personal Trainer for a few sessions. They are there to guide you through the weight machines and to make sure you have good form when using weights.
Make sure that you are strength training in addition to cardio! If you only cardio, you are burning muscle tissue in addition to the fat. Strength training builds muscle which burns more calories even when you're not working out!
Trish Rumsey NASM Certified Personal Trainer My Motto: *Stronger Every Day!*
I went to the gym 3 times this week as the fattest chick and no one paid attention to me. They were all lost in their workouts. Good going for taking a swim class. I may never be able to swim again- reverse shoulder surgery and I can't lift my arm too much. There is nothing like swimming a mile non-stop and ab muscles you get! Happy swimming!
I know how you feel. I am the fattest person in my basic swim class at community college. I am 60 and the course is co-listed for credit so I have 19 and 20 year old men as my swim mates! They are friendly and at first I felt awkward but now I am comfortable and they treat me just like another classmate. No one is looking at my fat.
I will lose 95 pounds in 2019 (goal of 160 lbs). Restart Sept 1, 2018, 300 lbs, New Goal Weight 160 lbs I want to reach 200 lbs by Sept 1, 2019
Original Starting weight 283 lbs, July 9, 2013 Goal Weight of 160 lbs Reached Nov. 26, 2014! Lowest weight was 154 lbs on 22 May 2015
I can move with the best of them when its anything cardio but my new challenge is trying slower fitness to work on specific areas of the body. I did Barre and Pilates this week. I've been doing Pilates since July once a week and I enjoy it. The teacher is vocal about people being overweight bc she is a trainer. I'm the largest girl in the class in Pilates and I can do every move. I have mirrors all around and when I want to judge myself I quickly silence it. I'm beautifully made and working towards a goal.
Let's be in our own head and celebrate just being there working toward a common healthy lifestyle goal.
I just got back from my orientation workout at the gym and it was ok. I was the biggest female there but so what? I am just one more person working on myself. Everyone else seemed to be very wrapped up in their workouts.I worked out for about am hour., I go back Thurs.
I love your attitude and how you found a way to make it work for you!
I'm a 5'9" woman who's built more like a linebacker than a ballet dancer. I'm pretty much always the biggest person at the gym, in the spin class, or in the workout class. I've learned to just embrace it. I'm different, I'm not a small person, but I am mighty, strong, and capable.
I've learned to modify exercises to fit my body, as I have some chronic shoulder and knee issues, but as long as my workout is properly challenging for *me*, I really don't care what anyone else is doing.
I've also really enjoyed blowing stereotypes of what a "fit" body looks like out of the water. I've left newbie cyclists in the dust when they thought it would be easy to chase the fat chick up a hill. I've seen the side-eye from the buff guy in the pool right before I hop in and blow past him when swimming laps. I've had tiny ladies pass me while out jogging, only for me to catch them later when they drop to a walk.
You do what you need to do to feel good, keep your body limber and moving, and build that confidence to ignore the rest of the room and just do your thing!
Take life one day at a time - enjoy today before you worry about tomorrow.
I have attended several different gyms and felt apprehensive also. However, no one even notices. They are all busy doing their own thing. Even in the classes, they were very accommodating. Best wishes!
Eastern Standard Time
Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can't find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere. - Lisa Bonchek Adams
Pounds lost: 29.6
Fitness Minutes: (237,358)
11,222 10/16/18 8:40 A
I did 4 months of SparkPeople videos before I tried a gym membership back in 2010. I didn't join until I thought I had a certain level of fitness. When I joined the YMCA, I saw that I would not have had to wait. There are people of all ages and fitness levels, from people just out of chemo or PT to serious athletes. They have kids' classes and Silver Sneakers. You see people of every weight. I am surprised that it seems so accepting. There is a gym closer to my house, but seems like only serious jocks go there, so finding the place you feel comfortable may be important.
My Keys to Success = Tracking! Super Foods! Step Up Cardio! And most important: Quit Quitting!!
Wish me luck. I have a fitness assessment tomorrow after work and I will be the fat person at the gym ( but I am down 58 lbs!.Woo-hoo!) The gym has a pool, but with my shoulder, I don't know if I can climb in and out. They don't have steps to walk in. Also, I am not sure I want to face the pool. I love doing laps like a hundred at a time and I probably will never be able to swim overhand again So, I need to embrace the machines. By the way, I just ordered a fitness track or on Amazon.
Hi. Wish me luck. After reverse shoulder surgery 6 months ago, my dr. cleared me to work out every other day. So, with a hundred pounds to go, I am going to brave New York Sports Club and start using the machines.
I second the recommendation for water classes! Not only do you get a great workout, they are SO MUCH FUN!!! My gym has Aqua Zumba and Aqua Fit cardio/strength classes, and none of us worry about what we look like. We're too busy having fun and trying not to fall off our pool noodles!
Edited by: MSCAROLM at: 10/15/2018 (06:33)
Spark People Starting Weight - 260 lbs Goal Weight - 190 lbs Weight as of 5/7/2018 - 243.0 lbs Cigarette and nicotine free since 11/7/2007.
Walking to save lives in 2019, one mile at a time. Please consider supporting my #AIDSWALKNY efforts with a donation at http://ny.aidswalk.net/crawlcarolcrawl
Water exercise classes are a good way not to be seen -- I'll even sometimes continue the previous exercise and not do the current one and nobody will notice.
But the reality is that, no, nobody cares about you in the gym -- unless you're using a weight machine that someone's waiting for, or the meatheads are there. And the meatheads judge *everybody* not just the new members.
What a great idea. I too am embarrassingly overweight and worry about how i am going to look when I start my gym membership in November. I changed my Medicare plan recently to cover Silver Sneakers. so I can afford to go. I will still have to walk 20 minutes or so just to get there, and then that long to get home again. This will be a tremendous effort for me. They have a pool so I hope to walk there and then relax a bit in the pool. I am working up to the walk in October so I can handle it in November. Given that I am willing to do all this to lose weight and get fit, I have very little to be embarrassed about! I will try to remember that. I hope you do too! I am glad you posted on this subject, thank you, because I have been worried about it and now I feel a bit supported.
We cannot solve problems using the same ideas we used to create them. Albert Einstien
I am really overweight for my height and sometimes when I go to the gym I feel insecure when some young fit body steps up on a machine next to me and starts pounding out a strong workout. I have decided to bring a book to the gym! It keeps my eyes off of what other people do so I don't feel insecure and its safe enough as long as I stick to the treadmill and bike machines for cardio. Sometimes I do the elliptical or stairs but its hard to read on those machines. However, at those machines there are spaces for phones so I can watch something on youtube with the free wifi. My point is there are solutions to this problem and it will not defeat me... I read weightloss books too at the gym and its a big motivation. I never read those books outside of the gym so I tell myself if I want to read it then get to the gym and I go. Its a good motivation for a bookworm like me:)