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6/27/13 5:15 P

THANK YOU for this post. Yoga is about doing what you can in the moment, and not comparing yourself to others, or even to yourself. I, like you, believe that yoga is open to all ages and body types and sizes, and that any yoga instructor worth her salt will have modifications for those who need it. Nicely said.

MMILLER139 SparkPoints: (5,457)
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6/27/13 2:41 P

You just have to focus on you and your own health. Nobody is really looking at you the way you think they are. Why would someone pay that much for a gym membership just to gawk at the fatties? They wouldn't. I wouldn't, and you probably didn't either. They are there for the same reason you are, to be healthy. My first time ever at the gym I was worried about people judging me before I went. When I got there I focused mainly on myself and not what others were doing, or looking at, or wondering what they were thinking. If you are turned off by your own image in the mirror, that is a good thing, it reminds you why you are there. Every time I left the gym I felt super accomplished, I DID IT! When I left, I was never thinking about the other people either, I was only thinking of myself, my accomplishments, and looking forward to my future health. I have since had a child and gained weight and lost time and money, so the gym is no longer an option, but if I had the time and money, I would be there in a heartbeat! Just.... the germs are what really freaked me out... I brought disinfectant wipes with me for the machines... but that's just my little weirdness. Now that I think about it, all those people, if they were watching me, probably focused on the wiping down equipment rather than the extra pounds. When you are skinny mini, you will look back on this and say, "I can't even believe I was worried about that, look how fine I am now!"

IMATIKIGIRL SparkPoints: (0)
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6/27/13 12:06 P

Yes, I used to feel that way. Then I realized, if someone is looking at me, it's probably because THEY are feeling self conscious and think I'm looking at them. Now I just don't care. I swim at the gym, so I leave with wet hair and my shirt over my swimsuit so I go home and shower. People just smile and I say hi. I've learned that if I don't care, it makes me look confident and I feel that way now.

Hey, the more I go, the more my body will change and that's the whole goal :)

STITCH4EVER SparkPoints: (37,673)
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6/27/13 11:23 A


JAXRUNNER1 Posts: 26
6/26/13 9:14 P

when I first started going to a gym, I weighed about 220lbs and could only last 5 minutes on the treadmill. When I had lost around 50lbs, one of those "hard-body" muscle guys came over and told me I looked amazing and he had been rooting for me. He was so nice and it made my day, my week, and my year. I was 45 years old at the time and could have been his mother so I know he was just being nice (he called me ma'am). Don't stereotype people. inspiration can come from all kinds of unexpected places.

ERINT75 Posts: 1,085
6/26/13 11:39 A

The very first day I was terrified! But as I went in more I realized the only person being critical of me, was me. I am glad that I signed up and proud that I've stuck to it :)

82NORTH Posts: 119
6/26/13 9:28 A

I'd have a hard time relating to anyone who didn't feel self conscious at the gym.
Over the years I've pieced together my own little gym in the corner of my bedroom and I am proud to say that I actually use it on a daily basis... and it shows!

DKANDERSON5060 SparkPoints: (65)
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6/25/13 9:12 P

So crazy but I am always so self conscious when lifting weights at the gym by myself. I was an exercise science major & am very comfortable in the gym but yet get so self conscious with the weights. I don't have a clue why. I used to work out with my husband a lot but he now works with my sons so I am often on my own. It is so much easier just to veg out on the cardio equipment.

CICELY360 Posts: 4,140
6/25/13 7:24 P

Not always. The gym I use has people of various ages and sizes.

AMBER0406 SparkPoints: (26,178)
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6/25/13 5:31 P

Some days I'm more self conscious than others. Most of the time though I do not like using a treadmill unless it's in the back row. I do not like the thought of others watching my booty bounce! :) emoticon

CRISTALCONNORS SparkPoints: (14,880)
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6/25/13 1:20 P

I always focus on the fact that I am in the gym to meet MY goals and whatever journey the person next to me is on, that has nothing to do with my journey in the gym. If someone is actually criticising their neighbor, they aren't focusing on their own body, health, and mind which is a waste of their time.

WANNATHIN Posts: 905
6/25/13 9:57 A

Dear Taxandria

I absolutely know how you feel!! I cringe every time I see someone I know at the gym (especially since I've gained back all the weight I once lost....) (and I've only been going back for the past three days.....) and I just want to run in the opposite direction screaming when someone says "Long time no see!!". Yesterday it was one of the instructors whose classes I used to take. Today it was a girl I used to do aerobics with. They all know what I used to look like and can see that I failed to keep the weight off and I'm sure sure sure they are judging me and talking about me behind my back and snickering, laughing and pointing.

But maybe they're not....

I struggle very much with self-confidence and I have found that just zoning out and doing my own thing helps me forget about the other people. I have an MP3 player with music that pumps me up and I play it loud so I can't hear anyone else. I focus on my breathing, my distance, my time etc. etc. and just forget that there are other people around. It does get better the more confidence you have about what you've achieved with health and fitness. Keep going!

Today I saw a lady in the gym for the first time and she is heavily obese, but she was cycling and walking and using a machine I've never even used before! My thoughts about her were "Serious PROPS, lady! To be that big and still willing to face all those gym buddies and bunnies to improve yourSELF, takes guts." I have to hope that people are saying that about me too. And they are more than likely saying it about you as well!! Believe it!

LA_BONITA Posts: 74
6/24/13 10:15 P

I work at a University so when I go work out, I am working out with young adults that are for the most part in shape. Occasionally, someone comes that is very out of shape but for me at least, I think 'Good job! You are working on yourself'. I'm not in perfect shape but I console myself with the fact that I am probably healthier than the majority of 52 year olds out there. I also like to think that maybe, just maybe the whipper-snappers are looking at me and saying 'I hope I'm still working out when I am her age' or 'Wish my mom/dad would work out, if that lady can do it so can they!' emoticon

MY_RENNAISANCE SparkPoints: (134)
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6/24/13 4:17 P

MINDAA, I had to laugh! I've startled people by getting into my head and not noticing who was going on around me. I fixate on one point when I'm thinking, be it about the weight in my hand or the latest quantum string theory or some sparkly thing I see from the corner of my eye. People think I'm staring or eavesdropping when honestly, I don't even realize that they're there. I'm into ME right now, and they aren't even on my radar. So those of you who think we're staring at you? You're right; we are. We mean no offense -- just poke us in the ribs and we'll stop. And don't wear anything sparkly!

And if I, like HAVEAPEPPERMINT, have my shirt on inside out? (Yeah, done that too.) You're welcome to stare right back. Though I doubt I'll notice...

Edited by: MY_RENNAISANCE at: 6/24/2013 (16:37)
6/24/13 2:18 P

I am sorry but for me people watching at the gym is what makes the 1 hour and 20 mins I spend on the treadmill a possibility. My mind would fry otherwise.
I go at the same time each day, so I get to see the same crowd mostly.
Who is getting fit? Who is losing weight? Woohoo! Who is flirting? Who is gossiping? That is also when the children's swim club are in the pool overlooked by the treadmills. Love watching them improve their strokes. Getting better. Their body language is also easier to read.
Just have to know how to do it. Never stare. Have a friendly and kind attitude.
The serious pro bodybuilders in my gym are a friendly lot. They all get in there at the same time, joke around a bit, then get into serious competing and comparing. Afterwards they have a tailgate down in the parking lot, eating their high protein after workout meals together.
They say hi to everyone.
But this is Africa, and it is culturally accepted to be interested in people and to greet and talk to strangers.

AUNTIECELLA SparkPoints: (11,130)
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6/24/13 1:55 P

The staff at the gym I belong to really goes out of their way to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. Power lifting is not allowed so you don't have the real muscle bound lifters. I can relate to those who are uncomfortable about turning bright red while working out. I've had people ask me if I'm going to pass out while I was running because I was soooo very red. I thank them for their concern and assure them it's just my very pale skin that responsible. Although I do tan very well, so go figure.

MINDAA Posts: 10
6/24/13 12:52 P

I'm glad somebody pointed out the "blank stare." Our eyes tend to automatically find movement, and while I try to stay focused on the TV's, I get embarrassed by how often I find myself unintentionally, mindlessly staring at someone at the gym.
I'm so wrapped up in my own little world of music and exercise that, until they suddenly shoot me look of annoyance, I don't even notice where my gaze has come to rest. It's just something moving in the background.
So if it does feel like people are watching you, they're probably not really mentally registering.

AVAFOX SparkPoints: (618)
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6/24/13 12:43 P

Wow, I thought it was just me that was anxious and self-conscious at they gym! Not only am I clearly out of shape (huffing and sweating after just a few minutes) but I also have Irish skin that turns crazy red when I work out. Obviously you can always work out at home, but I have to say that forcing myself to the gym has been really good for me. It's like a work-out for my anxiety and will-power, both of which need to be challenged more often. emoticon

Trying to get somewhat decent workout clothes helps (thrift stores work for small budgets like mine!). Other than that, though, I think of it like I think of exercise - I haven't gotten to the point of enjoying it yet so for now it's grit your teeth, get it done, and watch it get slightly easier every time.

BIGBROTHER323 Posts: 2,825
6/24/13 12:35 P

Always better to be self-conscous at the gym knowing you are doing something about it than self-conscious somewhere else knowing that you could have made a change!

6/24/13 2:33 A

I am self conscious sometimes, but I have made so many friends there that it does not really bug me. I figure that those who think they look better than me, are welcome to the confidence boost. (If I can everybody can)
Those who think that they don't look as good as me, are welcome to snigger at my drawstring pants and butt covering old t shirts.
I will smile and nod a greeting to everybody I make eye contact with.
I aim for not comparing myself to others at all, but to DO my thing in freedom and happiness and enthusiasm like a small child playing. And to laugh at myself when I have a hard time.
Don't always get it though...sometimes that cold hand closes around my neck. But I am getting better at ignoring it.

Edited by: LOVINGAFRICA at: 6/24/2013 (02:36)
READY12333 SparkPoints: (82)
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6/23/13 10:22 P

I feel self conscious too and try to move on to another exercise if I feel to awkward. I try to focus on what I'm doing and avoid eye contact with other people. The more I push myself and sweat, the more I feel justified in being at the gym and taking up space, using equipment. It will get easier. Maybe consider a women's only gym? Good luck and don't give up!

MINJK47 SparkPoints: (1,389)
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6/23/13 2:43 P

My kids are all lifeguards at the YMCA and I asked them about this. They said there are people of all sizes who work out in the pool and it's great to see them all exercising. I also think that most people are more concerned about getting their workout in and don't really pay that much attention to what other people look like. At least that's true for me.

LAZY_DAVE Posts: 21
6/23/13 2:05 P

I can understand the feelings but I don't think anyone really has anything but positive thoughts when they see an overweight person exercising, jogging outdoors or at the gym. I see folks all the time at the gym I go to that are well overweight and I'm happy to see them there trying to get healthy. I have teenage boys and I've never even heard them make any derogatory comments about any overweight person doing exercise. Usually they are impressed, as I am, that they are doing it. What I am more likely to have negative thoughts about is the person ahead of me in grocery store line with a cart full of soda and chips.

BRIDIE5 Posts: 8,121
6/23/13 10:53 A

When I see someone at the gym who is new to diet and exercise, the emotion I feel is respect!

NANATHEGEEK SparkPoints: (325)
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6/22/13 3:47 P

You are so right. Thank you.

ITSABSURD SparkPoints: (18,393)
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6/22/13 2:20 P

I get self conscious swimming at the pool in the gym sometimes. Even the people who are +40 years older than me are in better shape & have more sleek bodies. But I also use that as motivation to push myself harder.

HREADE SparkPoints: (5,954)
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6/22/13 10:17 A

It never used to bother me, but now that I'm packing a few extra pounds, I'm definitely more self-conscious!
Do they really need mirrors in the hall way going into the fitness area? :D

LILLITH32 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/22/13 5:59 A

Normal gyms don't phase me anymore. If someone wants to stare at me, it is their problem; plus I will admit to checking out good-looking people (discreetly, I hope). Heck, checking out the hot dudes is half the motivation for me to go to the gym! However, I tend to avoid my local Crossfit box... talking about ridiculously good looking and fit people! If you feel self concious about going to the gym, you have a few options - you can choose a women-only gym, you can work out on your own, you can face your fears - try them all and do whatever works for you. I turn my fear into another source of motivation - "people think I look fat? well, I'm just going to run/lift/jump harder!" This works for me, hopefully you can find something that works for you. Just, whatever you do, don't give up on your health because of your fear.

KNITTY_JESS SparkPoints: (7)
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6/22/13 12:52 A

It wasn't worth it for me anymore. We moved and I was stuck in a contract with a gym that was too far for my convenience, but a few miles too close to void my contract. When I did go, it was best when I was in classes.

ROXYCARIN SparkPoints: (95,965)
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6/22/13 12:15 A

Half the battle is getting in the building

SEAKATE Posts: 2
6/21/13 7:59 P

I definitely have the problem of worrying about what someone’s going to say to me while I exercise. I’ve been running for years now, and in all those years I’ve had a person comment (how I was breathing really hard, or something like that, and I think it was while I was working crazy hard going uphill) only 3 times. That’s about 1/1000 times. And YET whenever I’m suffering during a run and have to pass someone (as in at least once every run), I worry about what rotten thing they’re going to say to me. CRAZY, right? One could even argue that those people (they were men) were possibly flirting (you know – like pulling a girl’s pigtails in school). It’s about me feeling bad in the moment and assuming everyone else sees what I’m feeling. It’s ridiculous, but I think it’s changeable with a new attitude and self-realization. So I’m working on it. And the thing is, I’m happy for every single person I pass (and by that I mean in the opposite direction) who is out there walking or running, and feel inspired when I see them breathing hard, sweating through their clothes, and pushing themselves. Like we’re in it together, absolutely regardless of what level they're at. Now to apply the same attitude towards myself!

Edited by: SEAKATE at: 6/22/2013 (00:33)
MAMAJAHMAI Posts: 1,310
6/21/13 4:38 P

Honestly? I don't care!!! I'm at the gym sweating, grunting, singing, murmuring to myself, laughing at my own private jokes....yeah, I'm the weird one lol....I don't care...

I'm there to save my health- for my kids, for my future-whatever it takes!!

BILLIEMCKENZIE SparkPoints: (143)
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6/21/13 4:03 P

Hehehe, Hi PINKTINKPIXY! I'm new here, too, and I LIKE your attitude! As Dory says, just keep swimming! And the king lemur, what's his name? You've got to move it, move it!

COCOBISCOTTI SparkPoints: (1,032)
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6/21/13 5:16 A

@pinktinkpixy.... So true!!!

Edited by: COCOBISCOTTI at: 6/21/2013 (05:17)
AMGIFF Posts: 93
6/20/13 9:55 P

At some point I realized that since I wasn't looking at and/or judging other people, it was likely that the people at the gym weren't doing that to me. I can only control my situation and my reactions to my life; I can't control other people. If someone is so petty to look at me and judge me, they aren't worth my attention or my time.

MELJONES3478 SparkPoints: (15,754)
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6/20/13 2:46 P

I had to get over my fear of being judged, once I did I was able to do my workouts and enjoy it. I do not feel like people are judging me. Like anywhere you go there will always be someone healthier than you who works out like a champion and there will always be someone that may not be able to keep up with the pace that you are setting. Just do what is right for you...if it's not the gym that's okay as long as you are moving and working on being a healthier you.

6/20/13 1:58 P

@PinkTink-VERY well said and I totally agree with you! Let 'em eat cake! emoticon

Edited by: JAHZBUTTAFLY at: 6/20/2013 (13:59)
THERESACHANGED SparkPoints: (39,473)
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6/20/13 12:19 P

Can't do gym, won't do gym, and know I would never keep it up for a lifetime. For the past 4+ years I've walked 12,000 steps a day and get a lot of hills in. It is solitary, out in nature and I can keep it up for a lifetime. Hate gyms.

PINKTINKPIXY SparkPoints: (785)
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6/20/13 10:58 A

Hi. I'm new here and this was one of the first topics listed on the hot topics and I definitely can relate.

I on the fluffy side but I'm also pasty white (yay Irish blood!) so I automatically stand out in my water-robics class. At first I was VERY self-aware and paranoid that everyone sitting outside the saunas / hot tub were watching me. Then I realized, they were watching everyone in the pool area. Once that sunk in, I relaxed and actually enjoyed myself and pushed my workout harder.

Humans are a curious beast by nature and, whether they're judging or not, people are going to stare. So I say let them! Give them something to stare at! Put on your sassy pants / swimsuit and shake your thing a little harder!

IMLOCOLINDA Posts: 20,136
6/19/13 5:39 P

Oh, so true. And there is a big backlash now over them "sexing up" Merida" (?) the newest princess. But the women villains are often shown as pinch-faced skinny women...think Cruella DeVille and the Evil Queen in Snow White!!

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
6/19/13 6:59 A

Yeah, but Disney is also known for those anorexic Princesses and skinny Minnie (mouse)s who look ridiculous, too ...


Edited by: TINIERTINA at: 6/19/2013 (07:03)
IMLOCOLINDA Posts: 20,136
6/19/13 1:59 A

Someone in one of my teams was talking about water aerobics and we were all encouraging her to go for it. I told her my tip to avoid being self-conscious in my suit is that I wear a solid color one-piece and pull on a pair of men's Hawaiian print knee length swim trunks to cover up my fat legs and thighs and camouflage my big belly. Another post says she wears the kind with the little skirt. That made me laugh out loud as I tried that route and looked in the mirror and visions of the hippopotamus dancing in Disney's Fantasia popped into my head. Hippo in a tutu is not the look I was going for. Took that suit right down to my local Sally Ann's and it found a new home the very next day....hopefully to someone who looked a lot less like a Disney star!!

KELLYDRESCHER SparkPoints: (44,948)
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6/18/13 10:16 A

I actually went the route of trying to look ridiculous. It's not what I wore... I just mouth along to the song. If there's a good drum solo, yup - I air drum. No one noticed. This gave me the confidence to wear what I needed to wear to be cool and comfortable. (Shocking that I don't need to wear layers to jog!)

JUSTDOIT46 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/17/13 10:37 P

I am the only fat woman at my community gym. I don't care. I love what it's doing for me. My two gym workouts/week plus my hour long swim three times a week are helping me to reach my goal. Down 32 lbs since February 1, and feel great. Oh! Did I mention that I'm also 66?

6/17/13 9:01 P

I work out at home. Problem solved. No waiting for machines, no stale BO air, no oglers. There are lots of excellent DVD's you can do at home and there is always walking or running outside. Spending time outside is very therapeutic. I have some basic dumbbells, bench, bands, etc.

CLAIRE_PM Posts: 364
6/17/13 3:24 P

I completely agree with everyone's advise on how to be comfortable working out. I have also found that I'm more comfortable at smaller, more serious gyms. We're drawn to shiny things (including shiny new franchise gyms) but the smaller, individual outfits are probably better for people like us -- the ones who are there to lose weight and get healthy!

MSDIXIE72 Posts: 9
6/17/13 11:14 A

you go, girl. 40 pounds gone - thanks for the inspiration.

SUNSHINE1288 Posts: 60
6/17/13 11:14 A

I'm a trainer, and I still feel self-conscious sometimes, and I've noticed when I feel self-conscious it's not because I care about what other people think, it's that I feel guilty that I ate too much that day, or my workouts have been lackluster for a few days. We only care about what others think when we are afraid to face ourselves. Because when my diet and exercise is good I go to the gym with hair f***d, last night's makeup, a ratty shirt and sweatpants and still feel like a rockstar because I can do three sets of 10 pull ups and I know under the t-shirt is a six pack that rival any man's. But I've been 50 pounds heavier, so I know about shame. Don't focus on how you got to where you are, focus on how well you're doing on getting to where you want to be, and then it won't matter what anybody else thinks.

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
6/17/13 10:53 A

I re-joined the gym on Saturrday after about 2-3 yrs. This morning I worked out with my PT and I went in guns blazing, spandex pants, spandex tank top and my bright red sneakers. Anyone who's at the gym to watch what I'm doing and make judgements is there to waste time. I'm there to get my workout done and get on with my day feeling awesome for having put the work in early. That said, I have always been very confident and I know people struggle with that so here are some tips:

1. Go early in the morning- only the truly dedicated are there at that time and they're not looking at you, they're trying to get it done and get gone.

2. If mornings don't work, try mid-morning or mid-afternoon when most folks are at work.

3. Wear something you feel comfortable in.

4. A bit confrontational but if someone is staring at you, stare back and say hi- if they're trying to help they'll come over, if they're just being an ass they'll look away and they won't stare again, they know you caught them.

4. Try joining a smaller gym, most hospitals have one connected to them and people there will be in a range of fitness- some hospital workers, cadiac patients- students- all types.

5. Tough love time- suck it up, let them look, you're not there for them

6/17/13 10:17 A

I've had gym memberships in the past (bf and I wanted to be able to go they had a bunch of treadmills/bikes/ellipticals in a movie room...which was AWESOME.), and right now I live in a 3-bedroom apartment with three male roommates and the treadmill/exercise bike in the living room. I used to be all self-conscious, used to hold back on the intensity of my workout so I'd look better...but now, I've reached a point where I don't care. I realized that I'm there for all the right reasons, doing all the right things, and you know what? If they've got a problem, they can feel free to leave. I want to look better, feel better, be healthier, and the only way that's going to happen is by doing exactly what I'm doing in that moment! :-)

GRIZ1GIRL SparkPoints: (197,192)
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6/16/13 11:46 A

That's exactly why I DON'T have a gym membership--walking outside is FREE. And produces amazing results--without causing self-conscious issues. Give it a try!

EAYW47 Posts: 7,630
6/15/13 3:36 P

I go to the gym to make "a better me". That does not mean finding a role model or someone to pattern myself after.

CARILOUIE SparkPoints: (94,856)
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6/15/13 12:06 P

I like to have music at the gym - it helps me to tune everything else out...

BYEBYEMYBELLY SparkPoints: (3,246)
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6/15/13 11:13 A

Oh my gosh, it is so hard to feel like you are both physically and emotionally up for the public work out! I actually wore my workout clothes around the house for a week or two before I even made it to the gym. I knew that the gym experience might make me feel uncomfortable but at least being comfortable with my body in my workout clothes could make me feel a bit better.

I was lucky to have a nearby hospital with a gym that caters mostly to cardiac rehab patients but is also open to community members for a fee. Everyone was there to better their health and there was no pick-up culture (except for the innocent flirting from the 70 year old at the desk).

ROBBIEB7 SparkPoints: (9,097)
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6/15/13 12:39 A

So avoid the gym. There's a big world outside to hike in, and lots of videos and routines on spark people for strengthening. Why spend the money to feel uncomfortable?

ARMSTRONGLADY SparkPoints: (153)
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6/14/13 2:56 P

I have finally returned to the gym after having a free membership for three years (via my health insurance plan).

Since I moved to Las Vegas from New York, I went from moderately fit to flabby. Hence, a new commitment to exercise.

However...when I see some of the muscled, confident women strutting around the gym showing off their physiques (as they should), I feel out of shape by comparison.

Nonetheless,I use them as examples of where I'd like to be.

DRANKIN78 Posts: 12
6/14/13 1:41 P

everyone has to start somewhere - and I personally would rather know I am there working toward achieving my goals than sitting home being afraid to start. keep going, meet people and feel good about what you are achieving every time you lace up your gym shoes!

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
6/14/13 6:37 A

Naaa, most of them are already fit and slim at the upscale, youth-oriented gyms. They probably join only because they are not (yet) Kate Moss. They have the money and work out in groups, with or without personal trainers. Even though we have moved on in spots, since the 1980s gyms can function as the new pick-up spots.

I really did not start out loving using downloads, dvds and soundtracks for my at-home workouts and yoga sessions. [Although, taking directions from a recorded voice and 2-D image started out being the worst.] Really, I did not. I still have a time wrestling with the resistance tubing I have (and everyone knows that it is the easiest resistance to use out there--and that's why I prefer it). Overall, wrestling with just getting started. The feeling does not lessen much with time, and it's soon to be 5 years since I've been a gym member.

But I would much rather not spend the money I do not have on gyms, etc. And not be part of that scene. Anyway, diet accounts for most of the changes in my body, especially now.

At my dance class, it is small enough for me to talk back to the teacher whenever she trots out the it's bikini season trope. I just say, I am here because I am just trying to stay healthy. So she backtracks. At this point in time, there is not the easy poke-out to the weight question. I'd had more than my fill of that from the class instructors ... over the years.

Edited by: TINIERTINA at: 6/14/2013 (06:59)
KIWINURSE SparkPoints: (30,989)
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Posts: 1,252
6/14/13 4:41 A

I have just started going to the gym and I work with a trainer. The other day the trainer took me outside for my session where there were less people around. She also talked to me about the gym and that people are watching. She also told me that they are not necessarily looking at me, but at the exercises we are doing so that they can also get new ideas. So far everyone has been supportive at the gym that I am attending. I am fortunate to have a trainer that has also been on this journey so she is more in tune I think.

6/13/13 11:14 P

I reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaally used to struggle with going to the gym. My fat would be visibly spilling over my sports bra underneath my shirt and I would only wear high, tight elastic pants that I could pull up over my "shelves." I felt as if I went one way and all my skin went the other and everyone was watching in sick fascination. Intellectually I knew that the fit gym-goers were fit because they went to the gym, but felt that they were judging me none-the-less. I was projecting my insecurity onto them and having an ego simultaneously, convinced they were more focused on me than themselves. It was, in a word, miserable.

Then I realized that this complex was not confined to the walls of Anytime Fitness. I was living my life as though I owed people an apology for being fat. Then I read the phrase "I am fat, and I have this radical notion that I am allowed to exist." My former mentality now makes me chuckle a little.

6/13/13 1:38 P

We all are! Even the most fit people are looking around because you're never the best and never the worst.

KATYKAT14 SparkPoints: (19,430)
Fitness Minutes: (27,160)
Posts: 42
6/13/13 12:24 P

The way I get through feeling self conscious at the gym is just by repeating to myself that other people are more concerned with what they are doing that looking at my body.

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
6/12/13 10:59 P

Good for you, DEADLY!

I feel similarly about online downloads, and dance classes.
Not all of us are looking for that bikini body. Maybe some of us never were ... thank God for that ... it would be such a boring world ...

I'm going to be 59 years old!

I have health challenges now; and I am just trying to stay healthy.

DEADLYPEACH SparkPoints: (2,534)
Fitness Minutes: (1,351)
Posts: 6
6/12/13 10:07 P

You are certainly not alone when it comes to being self conscious at the gym. I have tried tons of different gyms, different gym buddies, and different times of the day, even different classes. I have always ended up quitting because it just couldn't bear going in. It finally came down to my health forcing me into the gym. I want bigger and better things for myself and I am not going to let anyone get in my way. Once you get to that point you will start to care less about what you think others are thinking about you. Nothing will beat the success you see in yourself and your self esteem going up when you start to hit your goals.

Yesterday I tried a new stretch class and I was 4 times the size of everyone in the class. I wanted to cry but I didn't I pushed on and used it as fuel to get me through the class. Best of luck to you and don't give up. It is the best gift you could ever give yourself.

6/12/13 1:52 P

I have read so many blogs about how motivated someone on SP has gotten, watching someone bigger than they are on the treadmill or elliptical or whatever. That bigger person probably felt the same way we do, when we 'go for a jiggle' (as my skinny sister puts it, lol) in front of people.
I've definitely struggled with this one--and I'll tell you, I still do. Even though my treadmill is at home, it's in the living room in front of the glass sliding door (we're on the FIRST FLOOR of an apartment complex, in a high-traffic area), and I live with three men (one of whom is my bf). Whenever someone walks by, or walks through, or whatever, I pretend I only have eyes for the tv. Or the spot on the wall. And focus on how good it feels. And how I'm changing my life one step at a time. And how I'm healthier and more active than most of the people walking by me (yes, even the bf).

BIGJAY36 SparkPoints: (620)
Fitness Minutes: (793)
Posts: 2
6/11/13 3:09 P

When ever I get the urge to leave the gym because I look out of place I remember this old guy at the gym I went to. He was like 100 and hunched over at a right angle because of back issues and shook like a leaf in the wind. He was in such a state that you could see new member look at him in horror thinking, 'he's going to fall and die right there! And the guy at the till is not doing anything.' But the old guy never fell and shook his way to the gym with is walker every day! He was a huge inspiration to me. And I always remember him when I'm self conscious. I hope the old guys still on that treadmill but I fear he's gym days are over.

ANNEMARGO Posts: 450
6/11/13 12:57 P

NOTAROUND, first of all, I think that a gym that tells a potential customer that staff wouldn't intervene if said customer was assaulted is one that should be out of business. Secondly, I'm not sure where you are, but you might try ditching the gym entirely and joining a running, walking or biking group instead. I know that I find it much easier to exercise around the same people every week, as opposed to strangers. The group I run with has a total mixed bag of people, but in a surprisingly short time you stop seeing the externals and just see a member of the group. Third thing--again, not sure of your area, but have you contacted any local LGBTQ advocacy groups about your situation? They may be able to provide some advocacy and/or referrals to more trans friendly exercise situations.

ODAILA SparkPoints: (453)
Fitness Minutes: (611)
Posts: 8
6/11/13 12:39 P

It may not be fair, but if safety is an issue then you should stick to outdoor and at home workouts. I personally like working out at home because I can do it whenever and whatever I want at my own pace. If you need noise then keep the TV on. I don't like exercise videos and prefer bodyweight toning and skipping rope intervals. I keep my workouts short and get on with my day....

NOTAROUND SparkPoints: (15,324)
Fitness Minutes: (32,278)
Posts: 25
6/11/13 8:58 A

OP, I completely know how you feel. I was using the gym on my campus college because it was free (included with tuition), so "why not?". I immediately regretted it. I have some medical conditions (borderline anemic, depression) that made it hard for me to step in there in the first place, so I thought that making myself enter would be the hard part. I was immediately forced into the wrong locker room (women's) and was stared at the entire time I was trying to use the elliptical. I thought the problem was that I was going too slow and ended up making myself pass out. Turns out that I was being stared at since I'm FTM and didn't pass at all at the time. I haven't gone back many times after that, since I had to learn the hard way that being a transsexual, even in a supposedly open city and college means getting harassed. I have only been able to go back when I have several friends come with me - I don't get shoved or picked on as much then. Unfortunately, that went quickly to the wayside because they hate exercising and so do I (it was ruining our friendship).

Does anyone have any advice about how to get back into going to the gym alone? I'm terrified that I'll be hurt or kicked out, especially from swimming and using locker rooms. I've been told by several gyms when asking around that they wouldn't do anything to intervene if someone assaulted me. Is there a good option for those with no money?

I don't really have any advice for you OP, other than a video called Tai Chi for Beginners. It's helpful to increase flexibility and rather difficult to start. I never went back to the gym after I moved off campus a year ago.

Edited by: NOTAROUND at: 6/11/2013 (09:00)
CHARLOTTE1947 SparkPoints: (44,675)
Fitness Minutes: (55,530)
Posts: 1,751
6/10/13 4:13 P

Until last year, we had a female trainer at our gym still teaching Water Aerobics in her mid-80's. She can kick her feet over her head. She had my respect for being there and working hard. At her age, she's not winning any beauty awards and neither am I, but she's more flexible than I am and I'm 25 years younger!

Please don't let vanity get in the way of your health!

KPEDEN74 SparkPoints: (68,950)
Fitness Minutes: (116,493)
Posts: 35
6/10/13 12:22 P

I am one of those fit people (although I am far from being in my 20s) but when I see someone who is starting out or has a lot to work on my thought is always "good for them" so please do not worry about what others are thinking. .you are there and you are doing it and I am secretly rooting for you.

MRSGOLDENGIRL65 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,395)
Posts: 26
6/9/13 11:43 P

Hi everyone. I rejoined a small gym last Saturday. I am very self conscious of my size when I wear my sweat pants and a top. I'm not able to wear those short, tight little shorts. The only small thing I wear is my NIKE headband!!!! Keep up the good work.

CICELY360 Posts: 4,140
6/9/13 9:54 P

It's natural to feel a little self conscious at the gym, but if you really look around, there are all kinds of bodies at the gym. I've found that even the seemingly ultra-fit person is just as self conscious as the person just starting. The gym I go to makes me feel good because is is a mixture. Some are fit; some are not. Some are elderly; some are young. When I see some of the older members, I forget about my insecurities. One of the instructors is over 50 and a breast cancer survivor. Seeing her teach a weightlifting class keeps me going.

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
6/9/13 9:14 P

What I saw when I saw people with their personal trainers, and I'm not kidding--whoever they were--man, must be nice to have that kind of disposable income ...

People can be in awe of that--yup, the gym I went too was pretty upscale. Not upscale enough for me to feel odd person out because nearly EVERYBODY had a personal trainer except me ... oh, one branch of that gym where I went had been like that... on New York City's East Side. Believe me, *I* had to try hard to feel not-so-out-of-place ... and I was not the largest, nor the oldest, nor the clumsiest, nor the slowest ... but possibly one of the $$ poorest...

A_PATON SparkPoints: (12,637)
Fitness Minutes: (8,381)
Posts: 15
6/9/13 7:03 P

I have begun to learn that I am my own worst critic at the gym. I go three times a week for cardio and weighlifting classes in a room with a huge mirror at the front. I hate looking at myself in the mirror, but you know what? The other women in the class are so friendly and positive that I forget about being self-conscious for the most part. Everyone at the gym has some kind of insecurity about their body - and are just as worried that you are judging them as you are that they are judging you!! Don't let negative thoughts creep in and take over the wonderful gift you are giving yourself. Get in there and do your thing!!!

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