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Poll: One Exercise You'd Never Do in Public?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/14/2013 12:00 PM   :  323 comments   :  17,275 Views

Do you have any exercises you really don't like to do when other people might see you?

I do.

In fact, at one time or another in my weight loss project, I've had a lot of them. When I was at my highest weight, it was swimming, or anything else that involved not wearing a shirt. Don't ask me why--it's not as though you couldn't tell how big I was when I was wearing a shirt.

When I took up stationary biking, I was always very careful, at first, to avoid the recumbent models and stick to the uprights. After catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror on a recumbent bike, I thought my body had the same basic shape as a Hershey's Kiss.

Even after I got down to my lowest weight, I hated to use an elliptical machine without wearing sweat pants. Whenever I built up to a good speed while wearing shorts, the loose skin on my legs started flapping so loud you could hear it on the other side of the gym.

I guess you could say that I had a pretty big problem with negative body-image, to put it mildly.

But things have gotten quite a bit better for me in this department, thankfully. These days, I rarely worry about how other people might see me enough to let that restrict my activity (otherwise, you'd never catch me riding my bike in compression shorts).

And it's not just because I've lost a lot of weight. It's because I made myself do the things that made me feel uncomfortably self-conscious, until it was no longer a problem. I think that's much more powerful than simply trying to talk yourself into accepting your body.

There's still one more challenge left on my list of activities I avoid, though. It's hula-hooping. For whatever reason, I just cannot get myself comfortable with the thought of hula-hooping in public. Even just doing it with my granddaughter when we're playing makes me uncomfortable.

So, I guess that's my next project. I'm going to learn how to hula hoop, and do it in public.

How about you? Do you have any activities you'd like to be able to do that make you uncomfortable to the point you avoid them?

Are you willing to try the "feel the shame and do it any way" approach, to see if that works for you?


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Comments

  • 323
    I'm still at the "there are a lot of exercises I won't do in public" stage ... that's why I do Walk Away The Pounds dvd's at home in my living room! - 6/11/2014   6:26:07 PM
  • 322
    This cracked me up. I hate jumping jacks because I am very busty, and once you've had a kid, all bets are off on bladder control. I also refuse to do lunges while walking/jogging at the park. I know it's silly to be concerned with how I look to other people, but it just looks ridiculous to me to see someone walking or running, and then they stop to take these huge weird-looking steps while holding their hips. Plus I don't seem to have the best balance with lunges. - 6/11/2014   3:52:11 PM
  • 321
    Your flapping skin sentence gave me belly laughs. And how do I ever need those laughs! I love all your blogs and whatever you write. I am very surprised to find that you had a weight problem before. What advice you give is always right on! You have lifted my spirits often. I can't thank you enough! They have weighted hula hoops. They are much easier to get going though I have not tried them. My favorite exercise is anything in the water. I do zumba, kick boxing, water aerobics--all in pool classes. I stay after class and just do my own thing. I was totally mesmerized this morning doing the zumba dance moves. Weighing 250 I would not want people seeing me doing those moves especially in a bathing suit. But under the water who cares! Thanks for all your very open and honest postings! chris - 5/15/2014   6:00:12 PM
  • RNRHEATHER
    320
    Burpees. I look ridiculous and they kind of suck! ;-) - 1/24/2014   10:05:56 AM
  • SAELBELLE
    319
    Personally, I wear clothes that are comfortable, for me its more of the inappropriate positions especially in yoga. E.G. Happy Baby, Plow Pose, Downward Dog and so many more. Yoga practioners would understand. I've gotten used to family and their friends watching while I jump around and twist myself into position, but some poses (as adults) you don't want to see someone doing outside of the bedroom - 1/24/2014   12:40:07 AM
  • CHERRYZMB60
    318
    jumping jacks i'm very big up top and have been since i was 18 so they are not going anywhere - 11/13/2013   12:57:59 PM
  • 317
    I don't like doing anything where I laying down on my back to do--crunches, chest presses on a bench...It feels like a vulnerable position.

    I did not mind hula hooping in public until one guy made a comment a long the lines of , "Oh yeah, that's nice. Do some more."...

    Um, no thanks. I'll do the hull hoop in my living room now. - 9/4/2013   4:01:43 PM
  • 316
    I would have to say pull-ups and lunges. I would be embarrassed because I can't do either of them worth a darn. (I've been doing lunges in the pool when I rest from lap swimming though -- a bit more manageable for me.) - 7/31/2013   10:27:16 PM
  • 315
    Anything that requires me to have rhythm.... so Zumba is definitely out! - 7/20/2013   8:01:26 AM
  • 314
    Burpees and body builders, or anything that requires a lot of jumping around. I'm not very light on my feet. When I first started working out I didn't want to do ANYTHING outside. Now I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of people seeing me exercising. But I am still a little self-conscious. - 7/13/2013   8:06:07 PM
  • NEWMEFORJESUS
    313
    Most moving in front of people. If I'm doing a brisk walk I feel like EVERYTHING is jiggling. I become very self conscious especially after regaining so much weight - 6/28/2013   5:39:57 AM
  • 312
    Anything that requires a swim suit - 6/23/2013   11:54:46 PM
  • 311
    I pretty much do any exercise in public. I did a bootcamp workout in the park & people would drive by and honk. I say, "get out of your vehicle and try it for yourself." Doesn't bother me. - 6/20/2013   7:53:00 PM
  • 310
    I won't try stand-up paddle board, even though it looks like fun. I worry that I'll fall over into the lake or river and not be able to get up again. I guess I'm even more worried that people on the shore will be laughing, and some good Samaritan will strain his/her muscles trying to hoist me up again! - 6/20/2013   7:15:57 PM
  • BALLETLOTUS
    309
    I don't like to do anything exercize oriented in front of people, but especially ab work and warming up and cooling down. Or weight machines. I'm fine swimming because I figure they can't really see me. - 6/20/2013   4:39:01 PM
  • 308
    I'd say bridges. Anything involving jumping too because I have a... er, full bust - 6/19/2013   12:31:43 PM
  • 307
    I do most of my workouts in my basement alone but there is very little I do down there that I won't do in a gym. I tend to wear baggy clothes when I work out but that is more for comfort than for hiding my body. - 6/18/2013   1:10:14 PM
  • 306
    Running and jumping jacks, my belly flops, my bust flops and my belly makes noise when it flops. I have a ruptured disk in my neck so running is not such a good idea anyway. - 6/17/2013   3:58:13 PM
  • HMARQUETTE
    305
    Bridges and the "fire hydrant" exercise. - 6/17/2013   2:35:30 PM
  • 304
    I'd probably say swimming . . . not the activity but the swimsuit (too much loose skin to expose) and the other reason is my uncontrollable curly hair (afro-like frizz upon drying).

    - 6/16/2013   10:40:54 PM
  • 303
    When I started flailing around in Zumba class, I quickly lost my embarrassment, especially when I realized everyone else was just as unco-ordinated as I was. I realized that people weren't looking at me. They're trying to follow the instructor and concentrating on their own two left feet. I swear, sometimes I don't know what the heck she is shaking to move the way she does. I've discovered some new songs for my iPod, and I'm learning (slowly) cumbia and salsa. Plus, it's fun! - 6/16/2013   11:32:41 AM
  • 302
    because of all the loose skin on my thighs I never am bare legged any where not even at home....

    Coach Dean I like reading your blogs and articles, always so right one the mark
    Happy Father's Day - 6/16/2013   7:24:44 AM
  • 301
    Nah. Once I start an exercise routine I pretty much forget about anybody else around. In fact, most of the time once I go into the gym I pretty much forget about everybody else. I do wear a really good sports bra, though. I'm top heavy too. - 6/16/2013   6:51:49 AM
  • GENERIC-FIT
    300
    Burpees are an abomination! - 6/16/2013   5:01:59 AM
  • 299
    I dearly love to swim but for many years I've totally avoided getting in the water other than to wade around because I have big ears and 1 of the 2 sticks out so badly. When I was a little child, I wasn't ashamed of it but as I became older other kids made fun of my ears and of course when my hair gets wet they are quite obvious especially the one that sticks out. Children can be SO cruel. They have no idea how their criticism is going to affect another child for the rest of their lives. - 6/15/2013   10:04:26 PM
  • 298
    I'm at that point where everything I do makes me uncomfortable to do it in public, but I do it any ways and I think sometimes I see people cheering me on and that is making me feel better! - 6/15/2013   3:41:35 PM
  • 297
    I dreaded the idea of being in public in a swim suit. Then, I got over it and finally learned to swim. Well, it wasn't that easy. At first I wore a rash gaurd, now I wear an old lady suit. I know some think it is silly, but I feel comfortable in it. - 6/15/2013   3:26:30 PM
  • 296
    I'm not crazy about pelvic thrusts...always embarrassing. - 6/15/2013   3:15:30 PM
  • 295
    Depends on your definition of "public". I don't like to practice katas outside of the dojo but within the club I'm fine, even when I have to demonstrate something. Other than that, I don't care where I exercise. Anybody who doesn't like it, doesn't have to look :) - 6/15/2013   2:01:22 PM
  • 294
    I think most team sports like basketball, baseball, etc because I was a very big kid and adult and so I never learned how to play them. I'm still embarrassed by my abilities. - 6/15/2013   12:47:55 PM
  • DELLMEL
    293
    Push-ups - 6/15/2013   11:25:32 AM
  • 292
    I don't really have any too embarrassing, but there is a stretch I do for my lower back that makes me feel very self-conscious. You turn your feet in, stick your butt out, and lean to either side. I make sure my butt is facing the wall when I do this. XD - 6/15/2013   10:43:35 AM
  • 291
    I love how honest your blogs are, Coach Dean! For me, it's swimming--and that's because I can't tread water and therefore am afraid to swim for more than a few meters without starting to panic. - 6/15/2013   10:43:25 AM
  • 290
    I'm mostly embarrass-proof in the gym, but I never learned to dance. My domestic parter is a first-guy-on-the-dance-floor type, so I've had to conquer my discomfort with stepping around erratically and out of time with the music, because that's how I dance. (Although I hear they have lessons for that...hahaha!) - 6/15/2013   8:06:32 AM
  • RAINYDAZE323
    289
    Pretty much anything. I go to the other room to my workout videos. - 6/15/2013   8:06:29 AM
  • 288
    I've decided something like basketball or volleyball or tennis; I am so bad at these sports I'd rather pass. I think a butt in the air pose like yoga would be a non-taker, too, but I don't see our little itty bitty town ever doing that....so I'm safe there, I guess!!! - 6/15/2013   7:45:32 AM
  • 287
    I'm on my way to do yoga in a park with a friend this morning. This will be a first for me so I'll find out just how uncomfortable I feel doing downward dog and other butt-in-the-air poses in public! But one thing that separates this journey I'm on from other weight-loss attempts is how public and open I've been about it. Not just exercise, but the choices I'm making and my progress. I work in a school and my students often ask me "how much have you lost now?" and one of them asked if they could go to my weekly weigh ins during the employee "biggest loser" competition so she could give me moral support. Providing an example of choosing a healthy life style to my students without embarrassment is a huge motivator for me. So when a student asks me to play "just dance" on the Wii, for instance, I go for it even though I know I look ridiculous!!! I give it my all and let them know in having fun, burning calories and enjoying spending free time with them!!

    It's hard to look silly in public but in general I think most people respect our actions rather than sneer at us. And for those people that do...well, their opinion isn't worth a nickel.
    - 6/15/2013   7:06:16 AM
  • 286
    Enjoyed reading this! Actually, the heavier the exerciser is the more I admire the person. I secretly cheer them on and hope they will continue. My only worry at my heaviest was breaking things, like popping the exercise ball for instance. The people at my gym are friendly and non-competitive but even if they were not, I would hold my head up high giving myself points for being elderly and overweight. - 6/15/2013   6:01:23 AM
  • MARIAM2167
    285
    I'll do anything from hula hoop to Zumba fitness to burpees. No I'm not that thin or that fit. I just don't mind people. Gyms are for all sizes and shapes. Don't be embarrassed and dont let others have control of what u can and can't do in public. As long as ur not breaking any rules who cares what other think? I dnu that's just my 2 cents. I'm a first time commenter but I've lost 22 kg in almost a year with help from this site and I did it by being that fat girl at the gym shakin her butt in group classes and doing squats in front of the gym mirror andi have no regrets :) - 6/15/2013   5:14:10 AM
  • 284
    Swimming would be my number one even with my weight loss. I don't like jogging in public too much because of top heaviness. Riding a bike outside. I'm still working out getting that big girl mode out of my mind. :) I wouldn't do jumping jacks either lol. Now I'll do hula hooping...on my arms! Thanks! - 6/15/2013   1:05:18 AM
  • 283
    squats....honestly I don't even like to do them with my husband around, and we are doing the squat challenge so we do them a lot lately. - 6/14/2013   11:55:03 PM
  • ETHELMERZ
    282
    Squats, no matter how high or low my weight is, I do those in the kitchen, alone. - 6/14/2013   11:48:40 PM
  • 281
    Pull ups:
    One
    Tw-o-o-o
    Tha-a-a-re-e-e-e

    OK two and a half. - 6/14/2013   11:44:56 PM
  • 280
    Pretty much any of the strength training machines at the gym. I don't really know what I'm doing, and there are people in ridiculously strong shape every where. I usually go at night so there are fewer people and stare at the pictures to try to figure out how to use the machines. Hoping to get strong enough myself to not be so embarrassed! - 6/14/2013   11:43:36 PM
  • 279
    Sit ups I couldn't do them when I weighed 115# - 6/14/2013   11:42:59 PM
  • 278
    Definitely jumping jacks!! Who the heck invented that?? Gotta agree, that belly flopping while I doing that is just plain embarassing - 6/14/2013   9:57:44 PM
  • BELLAMOMMA40
    277
    lolol.
    I don't like to do butt thrusts in public while im laying down. Mortifying. LOL. Even when I do both leg lunges standing up and cant help but feel funny about it with my backside poking out.
    - 6/14/2013   9:26:00 PM
  • 276
    Prancercise. I'm gonna give that a pass.

    Otherwise, I'm game for just about anything. I don't take group classes because I have a crazy schedule and couldn't commit, but I've done them in the past and enjoyed them. I love just working out outdoors, too. - 6/14/2013   9:14:25 PM
  • QUILTMAKER220
    275
    Zumba. I am uncoordinated (or at least feel that way) when I dance, so I avoid dancing. Most of the classes at the healthclub that are held in the room with the large windows facing the fitness floor are avoided, but zumba won't be attempted. - 6/14/2013   8:36:00 PM
  • 274
    I use to stay I would never do zumba in public but I worked up my nerve and went in December and haven't stopped since. There's woman all shapes and sizes in there and I was not the only big girl in the group. Now even women who are size 6 are impressed with how I keep up and move and I'm over 300lbs. So dont be scared and get out and try it. But one thing I am embarassed to do now is aqua fit but the same thing I'm saying to others about zumba I need to apply to myself to do aqua fit. Best of luck everyone! - 6/14/2013   8:24:32 PM

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