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Youre never too fat to hit the gym. By Fat Bridesmaid
It took me a long time to get the guts to join a gym. I thought about it every day, and not just passing thoughts like, “Maybe I should think about joining a gym.” Oh no. I’m talking daily reprimands like “Ugh! Join a gym already!” each time I drove past one which, in my hometown, shakes out to about seven times a day. All that and it still took me three months to go in and buy a membership. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it or didn’t know where I wanted to go;
I’d convinced myself I was too fat to join a gym.
Yeah, don’t ask me to explain that logic because duuuuuude I have no idea.
But I know I’m not alone. How many times have you heard people (I’m looking at you, ladies) say things like “I’ll join a gym when I lose ten pounds,” or “I can’t go to a gym looking like this!” It doesn’t make sense but I know – I know – how genuine and real those concerns can be. When you’re out of shape and self-conscious about your body the idea of going to a public place and sweating in front of God and everyone is terrifying nauseating less than appealing. But it doesn’t have to be! Let me go ahead and just debunk some of the scary thoughts you may be having about the gym.
I’m too fat to go to the gym.
Can you physically move from one place to another and convert oxygen into carbon dioxide? Yes? Then you’re not too fat to join a gym. Gyms exist so that people (fat, skinny, short, tall) can go workout. Believe me when I tell you that you will not be the first fat person to walk into the gym and you will not be the last. Worst case scenario? The Membership Coordinator might ask if you’re interested in losing weight and – guess what? – you are! I weighed over 300 pounds when I joined my gym and no one batted an eye. If I can do it then so can you.
The machines at the gym are scary. I don’t know how anything works.
This is probably a legitimate bad excuse because no one wants to look like an idiot or, worse yet, get hurt. Thankfully, the gym probably employs several people who can help you navigate the vast depths of cardio and weight machines (hint: they’re the ones standing around wearing matching shirts). If you’re not sure how something works all you have to do is ask and they’ll help you. And a lot of gyms offer free orientation for new members, where a trainer will walk you around and explain how to use different machines. If that’s still too scary (and it’s okay if it is) start on something basic like the elliptical and do some trial and error with the different settings. Go ahead and push the buttons, you won’t break it.
I won’t be as fast as everyone else.
No one cares. Seriously. No one cares how fast or slow you go. True, they might notice you’re not running as fast as they are, but that kind of observation gets filed away with things like what color shirt you’re wearing and where they parked the minivan. Just for argument’s sake let’s say you happen to be on the treadmill next to a marathon runner. He’s busting out six-minute mile after six-minute mile and you’re walking at a slow and steady pace. Chances are the Marathon Man is too focused on his own workout to care much about what you’re doing. He’s busy with other things like breathing, sweating and possibly resisting the urge to stop for a bathroom break. He’s not wasting time thinking about you so don’t waste time thinking about him! There’s always going to be someone bigger, stronger and faster than you. Don’t use it as an excuse to stay away; use it as motivation to keep pushing yourself.
People will make fun of me.
Ahh, this one is scary, but I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that going to the gym now isn’t the same as going to gym class in junior high school. There’s no bullish gym teacher screaming at you to climb a rope or run sprints around the track. You can start off with something familiar, build some confidence and go from there. Just because your gym offers group fitness classes doesn’t mean someone’s going to force you to participate. If you’re emotionally uncomfortable with something (for me it’s lifting free weights on the main floor with the big bulky dudes) then do something else. The bad news? It’s possible someone might make fun of you. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; there are some sad, nasty people out in the world and yes, you might eventually run into one of them at the gym. Then again you might not, so I guess the question is are you going to let the idea of a bully keep you from reaching a goal that’s important to you?
I’ve been a member of my gym for more than a year and I still have good and bad days. I go in the morning when it’s less crowded because I don’t like to sweat around other people. When I miss more than a day or two I get paranoid that the staff will quietly judge me for being a slacker. At least once a week I see a senior citizen who could totally kick my ass. And yet I’ve lived to tell the tale, with only the teeniest bit of emotional scarring. It turns out I’m a lot stronger and tougher than I ever gave myself credit for, and I’m willing to bet you are too.
Want a Thursday helping of MizFit? Head to Annabel & Jen’s blogs. They’ve invited me over to play answer a fitness question as they’ve lost a cumulative 250 pounds & are currently challenging each other to lose the final 10.