(Disclaimer – experiences will vary depending on the environment and people of course but try for try itself.)
When I was home in Guyana, I avoided going to the gym at all costs, the most I ever worked out in front of others was at my yoga class but that was filled with middle aged women who made me feel comfortable in my body. During physical education class in high school, we were forced to run around a track and I always brought dead last. I panted for breath and felt so embarrassed every time. Don’t get me wrong though, I exercised at least five days a week everyday since I was sixteen; I had my own treadmill, stationary bike, weight machine and dumbbells. I just didn’t exercise in front of others. I, however never overcame my weight and was always on the heavyy side at around 185lbs. Exercise has always been part of my life, I even blew friends off because I preferred to stay home and work out because I feel so good after. I know I am not alone in feeling inferior because of my body. I felt ashamed of mine because my arms and my stomach and my back fat and because I cannot always wear the trending clothes.
Enter necessity – I recently moved to Florida and am now living in an apartment community. I do not have my own equipment but luckily good karma was on my side and my lovely community has a full fitness centre with cardio equipment and an amazing weights room with a machine for everything. I may be exaggerating here because I never did go into a full gym in Guyana.
I entered sheepishly at first not knowing what to expect and started with cardio – treadmill and elliptical. I waited a full three weeks to go into the weights room; I was so intimidated by all the buff guys (some very hot) working out in there but I am so glad that I got over my self and entered. I felt more comfortable working out with them than the women in the cardio room. The guys were serious about their workouts and when they recognize that you are serious as well, there is a mutual respect that is shared between you and them.
Of course, I am not saying that everyone is perfect at this gym. There are the girls that go just to wear their athleisure, there are the noisy guys who wants attention from said girls, there is the girl that takes her top off when she sees the guys in the weights room, there are those that text more that sweat. There are the couples where the men has to show the women how to operate the machines and then there are the one timers. They are all human and not to be feared.
I have grown accustomed to the people that go at the same time I go and there is the friendliness of respect for the reason that we are all there, to workout, to push our bodies to make them better, healthier and stronger. If you ever let intimidation keep you from a gym, don’t be afraid, I was and I over came it. Everyone – the fat girls like me, the buff guys, the girls with perfect bodies, the athletes, the mothers and the fathers both young and old, they are all in the gym working towards their own goals. You might just meet your own goals while making friends (including the buff hot guy with the man bun).
I am now working up the courage to go to the free power yoga class the community offers but that would require waking up early on Sunday mornings.