The daunting task of joining the gym for the first time

So let’s get straight to the point; I’m quite overweight and have recently joined the gym in an attempt to reclaim my teeny tiny waistline of long ago and ward off my early-onset bingo wings.

I’m not going to lie. Taking that first step of entering the gym is pretty scary.

Before going, I was sure that everyone would stare at me with a look of either pity or disgust, and think ‘Jesus, the shape of her’, or something equally as denigrating.

Before even going, I decided I would completely avoid even attempting to jog in case my thighs jiggle, and thought it better to not go near any of the weights in case I looked like a knob.

This was about a month ago.

Since then, I had a consultation with a personal trainer, who gave me a little plan to get myself on the road to a healthier body.

After going to about a month now, I can safely say that all of my fears and anxieties have faded away quite a bit.

The thing I forgot was that everyone is there for their own reasons, mine is weight loss, whereas the guy on the treadmill beside me might be training for a 5K.

Truth is, everyone is so focused on their own goals and progress that it’s almost self-centered to think that they’ll be staring at you, even though before your first visit you suddenly develop a seriously sweaty-palmed case of protagonist syndrome.

People of all shapes and sizes can be found giving it socks in the gym.

There’s great comfort to be found in the fact that everyone is a little bit self-conscious; whether they’re 20 stone or 8 stone; marathon runner or newbie.

With regard to my fear that people will think negatively about me, in reality, if they do think anything at all for me, it’s probably something more along the lines of ‘fair play to her’.

A friend of mine who is training to be a personal trainer gave me some very good advice during the summer. When I asked what to do if overtly ridiculed while working out, he simply said; “Keep at it. You can give them a middle finger when you start getting more comfortable with what you’re doing.”

Thinking about joining a gym and having similar anxiety-inducing thoughts as me? Here’s my advice; make a playlist. A really badass playlist with upbeat songs. Grab your headphones, towel, and water, and get your ass into the gym. I know it’s really scary, but with some things you just have to grit your teeth and force yourself to do it. And hey, maybe one of your friends will want to tag along!

As for me? I’m still a little self conscious about going to the gym; but as I said above, so is everyone else. I generally wear baggy band shirts and have my hair thrown back in a hun-bun, but who cares?  I’m not there to impress anyone. I’ll stick to the back row during group classes and most of the time I’ll aim to go off peak hours.

But I’m still making progress.

Do it. You’ll feel great afterwards, I promise.


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