This is a toughy. At one point or another, at one time or another EVERYONE has had this challenge. It’s one thing to decide and want to improve your health and fitness, but doing it in front of others brings about a whole new set of emotions. It’s not enough that we don’t like how we look (and feel), but going to the gym and seeing those ‘in shape’ and ‘fit’ individuals sure doesn’t give much motivation to subject yourself to the public eye.
Gym-goers are funny like that. We have this crazy belief that everyone around you in the facility is ‘watching’ you, critiquing you, and maybe (dare I say) laughing or making fun of you.
I can remember when I first went to the gym, when I was at my heaviest. I was embarrassed to lift the weight I lifted. I was embarrassed at how short of time I lasted on the treadmill and/or elliptical machine. And, I hated how I looked in the clothes I was wearing. I wouldn’t dare wear a tank top or a sleeveless shirt and reveal my embarrassing physique (at least in my eyes)!
It was all in my mind.
No one was staring at me. No one was talking under their breath as I walked by. It bothered me so much in the beginning that there were days I didn’t go inside. I’d drive to the gym and turn around. No one was laughing at the weight levels I chose on the machines I was using. No one cared. Except me.
It’s that horrible psychological warfare I’ve talked about before. You must first win the battle inside your head before you can win the battle of your body. We are truly our worst enemy, and our greatest cheerleader. The only difference is deciding who shows up everyday in your head. It’s a simple choice.
In the end you have to come to terms with what you and your mind are arguing about. It’s about loving yourself enough to brave the unknown and uncomfortable. No one said it would be easy, anything worth doing never is.
Here are a couple key things to keep in mind when you’re battling with the embarrassment:
- Nobody is perfect.
Not even the fit guy or gal you see all the time at the gym. Having a goal is great, but make sure it’s YOUR goal and not someone or something else. Having a goal of wanting to look like someone else is not you. Strive to simply improve upon what you already possess.
- Everybody started where you are.
Yes, yes they did. Whether they admit it or not, whether you want to believe it or not – we all had to work at getting where we are today. While some had it easier, we all had to start from the same position. We all had to conquer our fears.
- Sweating is cool.
It’s not only cool, it’s down right respected. When given the choice between a not-so fit person sweating their keister off and Mr/Mrs Universe enjoying a look at his/herself in the mirror I’ll choose the person busting their rump. I have more respect for the individual trying than the individual showing off.
- You are not alone.
Contrary to what you may think, most of your fellow gym-goers are also your best cheerleaders. At one time or another a fellow member helped them, and if you have the courage to ask or the chagrin to accept criticism it will provide you with invaluable tools to get you one step closer to your goals.
- We really don’t care.
It’s really not about you (wink). Seriously, we’re not staring at you. If anything we are reveling in the idea that we are no longer the new kid on the block – you are. Welcome to the club.
- It’s all about you.
In the end, your success and failure is your responsibility and your own fault. Taking no for an answer, reaching out for advice, asking for assistance, and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t are the keys to unlocking your body’s potential. Oh and that lil thing called courage.
Best of luck on your journey!