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The Gym is Still Scary

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  • ChickieBoom22
    ChickieBoom22 Posts: 80 Member
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    I’ve been there but the truth is that people probably aren’t as focused on you as you seem to think they are. You’re only the star of your own life not other people’s.

    At my highest weight of 294 pounds I found people at the gym to be quite lovely and helpful. And you’re not an elephant occupying someone else’s space. You’re a paying customer with every right to be in the gym you paid to be in.

    Put your headphones on and listen to some kick *kitten* music and focus on your workout.

    It WILL get easier each time you go on your own. You just have to make those first few awkward steps. You’ll start to recognize other regulars and they’ll become friendly faces.

    Just do it.
  • JenasyJen
    JenasyJen Posts: 15 Member
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    I didn't read all the comments so forgive me if i repeat something. I suffer from anxiety and social anxiety too. I have a lot of trouble going to the gym. I live in an apartment so i can't do any workouts at home that are noisy. What i do... Walk outside a lot!. Walking is a great exercise. I got my self some dumbells so i can do some resistance training at home. You don't need a lot of space. For cardio. I got a Nintendo switch and got a boxing training game.. it really gets my heart pumping :) (could do this via youtube as well). Also clean clean clean. its great exercise and really adds up :) In fact oddly enough i find cleaning a great combat for my anxiety. Since ive discovered this little trick my house has never been cleaner lol.
  • BoxerBrawler
    BoxerBrawler Posts: 2,032 Member
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    As a gym rat and a trainer I can say that everyone feels the same way regardless of how they look. Usually people are too consumed with worrying about their own looks to notice anyone else's. When I first started going to the gym I felt anxious too. What helped me was to make a plan based upon what I wanted to do and based upon the layout of the gym. The more you go the easier it'll get and eventually it won't even be a thing. Most gyms I've gone too are supportive, sometimes we need to get out of our own heads a bit and just go for it! The real gym types will be in your corner rooting for your success. The ones you perceive as being bothered by your presence probably won't last that long.
  • Terytha
    Terytha Posts: 2,097 Member
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    As a gym rat and a trainer I can say that everyone feels the same way regardless of how they look. Usually people are too consumed with worrying about their own looks to notice anyone else's. When I first started going to the gym I felt anxious too. What helped me was to make a plan based upon what I wanted to do and based upon the layout of the gym. The more you go the easier it'll get and eventually it won't even be a thing. Most gyms I've gone too are supportive, sometimes we need to get out of our own heads a bit and just go for it! The real gym types will be in your corner rooting for your success. The ones you perceive as being bothered by your presence probably won't last that long.

    That's the disconnect though. I know nobody is bothered by me, but I can't stand the feeling of being a bother. Even though it's all in my head, it's still in my head.

    If it were easy to deal with I'd throw the drugs in the trash and quit seeing my doctors. :(
  • koalathebear
    koalathebear Posts: 236 Member
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    I had never really exercised before this year let alone gone go a gym so was very daunted in the beginning. I just found a small gym near me. The large mega gyms were too daunting for me, I knew I'd never go. The Snap fitness I go to is pretty small and the people who go there are very, very diverse - all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels. There's a 70 year old guy who can plank for 8 minutes ... there's the grandma who is recovering from two sets of brain surgery ... everyone is polite, friendly but keep to themselves and there's no judgment ... it's just a very nice inclusive gym. Hopefully you can either find a similar type of gym or just put on your headphones and ignore everyone around you ...
  • SugaSugaNooo
    SugaSugaNooo Posts: 106 Member
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    Does the gym do any classes, would you feel more comfortable doing those maybe? I don't particularly like the main gym, but over time I've made some "gym buddies" who are on the same class schedule as me and we always have a laugh and a chat together. And that brings me to the next point, is there anyone you know who would be interested in joining the gym with you? Maybe if you're there with a friend you would be more distracted and therefore less self conscious.

    I will definitely reiterate what others said and I honestly don't think other people are one bit bothered by you (let alone being disgusted - please get that out of your head!), and hopefully over time you will learn to believe that.
  • BoxerBrawler
    BoxerBrawler Posts: 2,032 Member
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    Terytha wrote: »
    As a gym rat and a trainer I can say that everyone feels the same way regardless of how they look. Usually people are too consumed with worrying about their own looks to notice anyone else's. When I first started going to the gym I felt anxious too. What helped me was to make a plan based upon what I wanted to do and based upon the layout of the gym. The more you go the easier it'll get and eventually it won't even be a thing. Most gyms I've gone too are supportive, sometimes we need to get out of our own heads a bit and just go for it! The real gym types will be in your corner rooting for your success. The ones you perceive as being bothered by your presence probably won't last that long.

    That's the disconnect though. I know nobody is bothered by me, but I can't stand the feeling of being a bother. Even though it's all in my head, it's still in my head.

    If it were easy to deal with I'd throw the drugs in the trash and quit seeing my doctors. :(

    One of my best trainers always says "If it were easy everyone would do it!"
    At least you know there's a disconnect and that it is in your head, that's a baby step in the right direction right?
    I'd say you're on the right path and just keep at it regardless of how you feel. Eventually it won't be a thing, I promise. Cliche' yes but, you are a lot stronger than you think!
  • BoxerBrawler
    BoxerBrawler Posts: 2,032 Member
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    Does the gym do any classes, would you feel more comfortable doing those maybe? I don't particularly like the main gym, but over time I've made some "gym buddies" who are on the same class schedule as me and we always have a laugh and a chat together. And that brings me to the next point, is there anyone you know who would be interested in joining the gym with you? Maybe if you're there with a friend you would be more distracted and therefore less self conscious.

    I will definitely reiterate what others said and I honestly don't think other people are one bit bothered by you (let alone being disgusted - please get that out of your head!), and hopefully over time you will learn to believe that.

    I'll echo this! Classes are a great way to build that gym support system that'll launch you to the next step :smile:
    Classes create that sense of community. Your "tribe" if you will. Everyone is there for the same reason. Different goals, same motivation! Excellent advice @SugaSugaNooo
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
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    lorrpb wrote: »
    Terytha wrote: »
    My trainer wants me at the gym 4 times a week, and gave me a 4 day schedule to follow. I tried, but it seems hopeless.

    The easiest time for me to hit the gym is after work. That's when its easier for everyone else apparently because it's busy af usually. That's fine when I'm with the trainer, but I just can't by myself. My anxiety ramps with that many people. My fear of taking up space or causing annoyance for others starts spiraling and I just end up pacing around like an idiot because I don't have space to do my exercises and I don't wanna be in the way.

    I've always been the elephant trying to be a mouse. I'm aware that my size causes disgust and annoyance for others, that sitting beside me is unpleasant, that being fat is troublesome to everyone. All the body positivity in the world isn't going to change 20 years of feeling the need to be invisible and small.

    Right now, I get productive gym time twice a week: once with trainer, once on Sundays when it's dead. I go Thursdays and usually just muddle around being scared until it's time to go. Why even bother with a fourth day?

    But I can't explain that well to my trainer, a tiny person who probably weighs 100 pounds soaking wet.

    Bold part is just flat out untrue/inaccurate. However, I understand that this is what you believe and do not think you can learn more accurate perceptions. It takes awhile anyway.

    So, I suggest you ask your trainer for a routine you can do at home the other 2 days a week. Problem solved.

    As for explaining it to your trainer, print out what you shared here and give it to her. It's very understandable, even for a "small" person to comprehend. (Please don't judge your trainer based on her small size.)

    It is not as easy for a small person to understand. You say that it is inaccurate that people are disturbed by larger people. I can safely say that it is true in some circumstances. Even much lighter than I was I just annoyed a gentleman 2 weeks ago at a football game because I was taking up too much space for him to sit comfortably in front of me. It wasn't completely my fault because there was a larger woman behind me that made me sit slightly forward but it still happened. I have also seen people practically praying to their deity when I walk down an airplane that I not end up next to them. One guy even said "Of course" when he realized he was the unlucky loser. I have been asked on 2 different occasions not to sit in a chair because it was an expensive chair. These are things someone who has been perpetually small will not really get. It gets in your head no matter how immune you think you are.

    The thing is I deserve to be everywhere I pay to be. If someone being slightly inconvenienced by my size is the worst thing that happens to them that day they had a pretty good day. While I support anyone with weight loss and fitness goals I would always give the priority in healthy improvement situations to someone whose current state is a greater medical risk over the person who wants to maintain a nice toned body.

    The other thing to remember @Terytha is that almost everyone at the gym has someone in their life they care about that is heavy. Obesity is everywhere. It is an unfortunate truth but it is still true. Most people there probably wish the person they cared about was there "taking up space" too.

    You are a smart capable person so I think you can figure out how to get around this. It is okay to be human and have some of this baggage in your head but you know your health goals will need to win most of the time. You will find something to tell yourself that will eventually get you to 3 times a week and from there 4 times will be no problem.

  • TheChristianSimone
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    Ok I am really coming from a place where of empathy as I too deal with anxiety issues and depression.

    You are the controller of your life. Codependency will not help you and by that needing anyone else to assert for you. Most times if I need something I just stand there and folks see oh she is waiting for me to be done. I know everyone has had a different life experience but even with anxiety I was never rescued or protected.

    Your journey isn’t just weigt but way more mental strength too. I do hate crowded places but that’s one of the things I was most proud of was doing what I needed inspite my feelings as they will be there but I gotta to go.

    Looking forward to your success!
  • montyeva1114
    montyeva1114 Posts: 78 Member
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    Still getting used to the discussions. I hope this gets to the right person. Sounds like you got lots of good advice. I suggest you go to eat he gym the two times you are comfortable and in the other days go for a walk or run after work. But an exercise ball and some free weights and finish with some strengthening exercises. Revisit the gym periodically and challenge yourself to “take up space” even for just one machine or some floor space. Keep trying until you feel a little less exercise. One day you will feel the freedom!!!
  • neugebauer52
    neugebauer52 Posts: 1,120 Member
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    Interesting perception - in my case, the gym is scared of me! The gym members are so looking forward to see me jumping into the pool - and the gym manager runs out from his office, screaming: "Nooooooooo!" But too late - I catch him every single time. I get a standing ovation from the gallery when I do my special triple flop into the pool - the water displacement is amazing, like a regular mini tsunami. What's there not to like? I just loooove my gym!
  • patwalsh1414
    patwalsh1414 Posts: 17 Member
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    I also don't like the gym so I do my exercises at home. It works much better for me.
  • traxless2009
    traxless2009 Posts: 13 Member
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    So many excellent suggestions in this topic. And clearly from people who know their way around a gym. I’d suggest that the OP, using these nuggets, venture into the gym and make themselves at home. Your body and mind will thank you.
  • koalathebear
    koalathebear Posts: 236 Member
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    I wish I could bring you to my gym with me. You would love it and would feel so comfy ... *hugs*
  • SnifterPug
    SnifterPug Posts: 746 Member
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    I get where you're coming from. I used nothing but a treadmill or elliptical for 12 years because at least on those I had my own space. Then I wanted to learn how to use weights so got a trainer. I was terrified. Now I do all sorts of weird looking things in the gym (I enjoy animal flow and lots of body weight floor work) but I won't generally start it unless the area I want to use is empty. I avoid queuing for things or making it clear I want a piece of equipment. Fortunately I know how to use or make use of every single piece of kit in the gym and there is always something free. Once I have my territory I don't generally find people encroach such that I find it awkward, and I have a very low personal space tolerance. I realise it may feel different for you but I suspect that keeping your own space will be the easiest thing to start with. You have a right to be there by dint of having got there first and you don't owe any other gym user any more than common courtesy.

    I think you need to have a full and frank discussion with your trainer. If you don't she won't understand and will just keep telling you that you need to go to the gym more. She might think you are lazy and need pushing. But if you can get her to engage with the problem then I suspect she will teach you how to use every single piece of kit in the gym, so you have every option available to you. In the meantime, people are creatures of habit. Have you taken the time on a Thursday to observe what people tend to do and what areas of the gym are quieter? If not, I suggest you do that, because asking your trainer for guidance in using the quieter areas could be of benefit to you.

    In terms of doing stuff at home you really don't need much space or equipment to have an effective work out. A few resistance bands could be sufficient. Again - get your trainer involved in thinking up ideas. I also much prefer working out in a gym to at home, but if it's a question of working out at home or doing nothing - well - you know which choice ought to be the one you generally go for.

    Good luck and best wishes.
  • secno1
    secno1 Posts: 9 Member
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    Can be a great place to train but you can train anywhere. Time isn’t a problem I have loads of ten min hiit sets you can use