The fitness industry can be confusing, misleading, and scary. Or it can be full of wisdom and encouragement. What’s your perspective?
Leah Segedie (@bookieboo) over at Mamavation.com asked her blogger audience to write a post about what could make the fitness industry more approachable and friendly to everyone. As she explains in her widely read blog, she was previously overweight and extremely intimidated by working out in gyms. Everyone seemed to be thin and/or athletic and she felt very self-conscious even walking in the door.
This isn’t uncommon. Even if you are athletic and/or thin, you might be nervous walking into a new gym. Is everyone looking at me? What if I make a mistake? Will I stick out like a sore thumb or make a terrible mistake?
I know that walking into a gym is scary; I’ve written about feeling intimidated numerous times. But what I see as the bigger problem is how intimidating a weight room is to walk into – you can hop on a cardio machine and tune out. But lifting weights when you’re a newbie can be very intimidating, even for a guy.
My perspective has never been from a position of being overweight; I know that just being a woman or just being new to weights is enough to make the weight room intimidating. And I’m sure if you don’t feel confident about your appearance then it’s even more nerve-wracking.
The question is, how do we get around this intimidation factor? We need to get around it because getting into the weight room is crucial to your health, and I know this even more since becoming a personal trainer. Weight training not only strengthens your bones and increases your metabolism, but it helps you lose weight faster. Changing your body composition is one of the greatest benefits of strength training.
First, let’s not blame gyms for our insecurities. In my view, when we blame external things for our fears, we’re only feeding them. When I have a fear, I have to gauge how badly I want the result. Do I experience some temporary discomfort in order to gain a fantastic benefit? Or do I throw in the towel and decide it’s not worth it?
There’s an attitude you get after doing scary things regularly that enables you to do more scary things. You start to have a self-confidence that no one can affect. You are hell-bent on getting what you want, even if it means being uncomfortable. I’ve seen this in other people and I admire it greatly. Leah over at Mamavation now has major badass ‘tude and it’s served her incredibly well.
I see all kinds of people come into the gym with goals and aspirations of changing their bodies. And you know what? I admire every single one of them, just for coming in. It’s scary as hell to join a gym and it’s scary to see a personal trainer for the first time. But these people are doing it and they’re owning it.
Sure, there are some gyms that are reminiscent of a bar on a busy Friday night. And there are “meathead” gyms that cater mostly to macho dudes. Hey, these gyms serve a purpose, but they are probably not for you.
It’s a matter of picking the right gym. The gyms I’ve belonged to and worked in are filled with regular people – some single, some married, some losing weight, some gaining muscle. Well-meaning people who are doing their own thing and not passing judgment. We’re all there to accomplish something, and we each have our own story.
When you believe in yourself and your goals, you’ll take that step to go into the gym. You might hire a personal trainer to help you learn and feel more comfortable in the weight room. And if your gym is messed up, you’ll take your business elsewhere. That’s not going to stop you though.
Many things are scary the first time. It’s not the fault of the gym (usually)… it’s just the nature of trying new things. Starting a new job, going to a party, joining a class, meeting new people… Any time you don’t know anyone, don’t know what you’re doing, or feel like you could be different from everyone else, it’s scary.
So let’s not blame the gym or the fitness industry for our insecurities. Identity your goals. Find the right gym and the right trainer. Take a deep breath. And GO. The next time, it’ll be easier.