This is my story about finally getting the guts to go to a gym.
It was something I struggled with for a while. I was afraid I was too fat for the gym. Which is stupid, because why do people go to the gym? I had reached a point where I had to do something with myself, and even though I was out of shape, something had to get me back into shape, right?
So I got a membership (that’s a whole other story) and got myself going. At first I was freaked out, self-conscious, and hypersensitive to my surroundings. After two days, I decided I didn’t care what other people thought, I felt better than I had in years after only two days!
These are the things I figured out when it comes to going to the gym when you’re fat:
1. Get over yourself. If you are all freaked out about what other people are going to think, then you aren’t ready to put in the money, time and effort. Paying for a membership isn’t going to immediately change your outlook, or your behavior. If you aren’t ready to walk into a gym squeezed into a compression sports bra with your head held high, then you aren’t ready for it.
2. No one cares what you look like. I found this to be a hard truth. I figured I was making an absolute fool out of myself huffing and puffing and sweating , but not a single person noticed because they were all too busy concentrating on themselves. This is the truth. If you are in the weight area of your gym, struggling with a five pound weight, the person next to you is too busy staring at their form in the mirror to pay you any matter.
3. Get workout gear. I found working out in ratty shorts and a t-shirt didn’t do anything to boost my self esteem, so I went shopping. I hit the plus-sized workout clothing places and got bras, capris, t-shirts, workout jackets, sneakers, a new iPod, a sports watch, a gym bag…oh yes, I went shopping. It felt good to wear clothes I would only wear at the gym. Workout clothes are much more comfortable to work out in, to be honest. Also, it gives me a reason to wear a screaming lime green workout shirt, as well as neon pink socks. When I put my gear on, I was ready to sweat!
4. People watching in a gym is hilarious. Hauling myself around on an elliptical while watching the Zumba folks come in the front door in all of their Zumba brand gear is fabulous. I had no idea there were shoes especially for Zumba class. Also, the guys who can’t stop feeling their own muscles, the ladies who come in with a face full of make-up…these folks are awesome. There’s this one lady who puts make up on in the locker room right before she goes out onto the equipment floor, and takes a quick flat-iron to her hair. There are the folks who grunt loudly when they lift weights, there are the show-offs, the folks who really don’t know how to use the equipment correctly, and we cannot forget the techno folks. These are the ones who sit on equipment and text. More than once I had to ask someone if they could sit somewhere else because I wanted to get a set in.
5. Get a trainer. I can’t say it enough. Not only will they get you working correctly, they are also supportive and in my experience, protective. My trainer told me if anyone gave me a bad time, to tell her and she would handle it. She’s not someone you mess around with. Really, though. A trainer will get you on a scheduled workout, will guide you through the workouts that will help you, show you how to use the equipment, and will be your cheerleader. There’s nothing worse than using cable-weights the wrong way. If you’re going to sweat a lot, why not make it for a reason? The money I have spent on my trainer has been some of the best money I have spent in my life. Yeah, a trainer can be spendy, but if you find the right one, the money is worth it. I found it helps to be accountable to someone who won’t take excuses.
These are some of the things I discovered on my own. Mind you, when I walked into my gym I had no idea what I was doing and I felt like a fool. I got over all that in a hurry. I am there to get healthy, not to impress anyone. No one has laughed at me yet…in fact, one person came up to me, as I was dripping all over an elliptical, and told me that he was happy to see me in there every day, and that I was an inspiration.
*When I say “fat”, I am saying I walked into the gym over 300 lbs. No joke.