I’ve heard people who are so self-conscious of their weight that they will forgo a gym membership just for that reason. Heck, I was probably one of them. Well, I actually thought gyms were for hardcore weight lifting men with excessive muscle. I had no idea that the gym was a regular place for regular people and their regular fitness routines until I joined one.
The first thing to remember is, some of these people started their fitness journeys in your same shoes. They may have been overweight, hesitant to join, and completely unsure of themselves in that new place. They know exactly how you’re feeling and can sympathize with your uncertainty. They are much more likely to be internally rooting for you rather than judging you. They’re more likely glad that you’re there, taking care of yourself, than not.
Second, everyone is really probably only thinking about themselves. People are very self-conscious when they’re grunting, sweating, and struggling in front of other people. They’re all worried about themselves. It’s actually sort of comical if you watch people for awhile. They all check themselves out in the mirrors around the gym. Don’t worry, they’re more worried about their own sagging skin than your cellulite. Or they’re busy focusing on their workout form.
Third, I’ve noticed, especially with runners, there is a sort of unspoken comaraderie among people who run. It doesn’t matter if you’re an elite athlete or a slow beginner. Runners cheer each other on. I have never seen so much enthusiasm or experienced so much encouragement as when I’m out running, especially in road races. At the gym, you’re doing something that most of the population disregards, and you can take pride in the fact that you’re there instead of glued to the tube.
The easiest way to acclimate yourself to a new gym is to take a tour, take the gym up on their free personal training sessions, or try out a group fitness class. Just getting accustomed to the lingo, equipment and faces let you dip your feet without drowning. Read up a little bit on fitness equipment before you head in and print off a few workouts you can try. Take a friend with you for those free weekly trials so you have a buddy in this unchartered territory. I also find that reading or listening to music helps me fall into my own little wonderland where I don’t even know what’s happening around me.