In my very first post on the blog – where it all began I talked briefly about my own experiences with feeling too embarrassed to go to the gym. It took me about three months of working out at home and running to finally pluck up the courage to go to the gym with some friends from work.
I knew I wanted to go to they gym, I just felt like I couldn’t. I was simply embarrassed, annoyed at the way my body looked, scared I’d look like an idiot in front of everyone and most of all nervous about exercising in front of people, especially people who were much fitter and would surely laugh at me.
I now know those fears were completely unfounded, but at the time it was such a struggle for me. I’d get to the point where I’d be stood by the door in my gym kit and then this wave of fear and worry would wash over me. I’d stand by the door for ages and chicken out and workout at home instead. There’s nothing wrong with working out at home, but for me I knew I needed to go to the gym, I needed that social aspect and most of all I needed to get myself feeling how I wanted. I knew I couldn’t achieve it alone and that’s where my friends were the push I needed.
They understood I was worried about looking silly so they came along to classes with me, helping me set up for classes such as body pump and circuits and being such an amazing support. When I knew my friends were going to be at the gym or in classes I didn’t worry so much, I knew if I made a fool of myself (and believe me there were a few times!) they would be there to laugh with me and encourage me. After a few months I noticed I started relying on them less and my confidence had started to grow, I knew my way around the gym and felt confident I knew what I was doing in classes.
Then in May this year, I made the massive step of moving 2 hours away to live with my boyfriend. I joined a new gym and this time the fear came back with a bang as I knew I was completely alone and all my previous worries came back – what if I can’t keep up? What if I make an idiot of myself? What if people laugh at me?
I don’t know why but my brain wouldn’t let me chicken out, I made myself go to the gym and haven’t looked back. I am now at a point where I no longer worry about what I look like (I’m sweaty, so what? It means I’m working hard), or if I can’t keep up (I’m about as co-ordianted as a giraffe on roller skates, but at least I’m having a go). I’ve found since I’ve stopped worrying, my workouts have become more effective, I’m working harder and I feel stronger and more confident.
The main things I’ve learnt during my gym journey? Don’t listen to the voice in your head that’s telling you can’t, because believe me you can – everyone else is there for the same reasons and no-one else cares what you look like. I’ve found my local gym a very supportive environment to be in and instead of walking in feeling intimidated, I now walk in feeling proud, because I’m making positive changes in my life and so what if I get sweaty along the way?