What if I told you that I know this fear well? If I told you that I’ve cried more than my fair share over feeling inadequate because for brief moments in time, my brain has convinced my soul that the way I look, me… just me, should be ashamed of the way my body presents itself to the world. That many times over and over again I fell into self loathing because… if you don’t look a certain way then surely you have no reason to be confident! *insert eye roll*
I’ve been every size on the planet. I am also a mother of 5. With each pregnancy my weight has increased. After each child (bar one) I have worked my big ol’ butt off trying to regain my confidence through achieving a strong, healthy body that I am proud of. And I’m proud to say that each time I have attempted to achieve this goal, I’ve attained it.
Now, my body has been through the wringer. At one point in my life I tipped the scales at 150kg. As a woman that is only 5’2″, the stretch marks that cover my entire body tell this story. At times I feel that I should be ashamed of them, but what am I going to do? Cut the entire length of my body to remove skin to try and look perfect? I think that’d do more damage than good. So I own it. I was small then I got big. Then I was big, and I got small. Now I’m smack-bam in the middle again and about to take you all on a journey with me.
The point of this article is to encourage you. To let you know that despite the fear that you may have going on inside of you, despite that voice that constantly talks you out of working toward achieving your desired results, I’m here to tell you that you are worthy, and that no one will think any less of you for showing up at the gym while fat. (Shock horror, I used the F word!)
“They’ll look at me in disgust and might say something.”
“You can’t even fit clothes to go to the gym! Just stay home and don’t embarrass yourself.”
“Why even try? It’s too much right now.”
This is the internal battle people around the world face when they find themselves in situations, just like mine.
So how does one work through the mental turmoil that plagues women (and men) all over the world?
Here are 5 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Going to the Gym when You’re Overweight or Out of Shape
1 – Realise You Are Perfect as you Are:
Do not believe the self deprecating thoughts. This body is the only one you will ever have. You are entitled to look any way you wish! Realise that even though you may not be where you would ideally like to be, that you’re still the shit. Being larger or out of shape doesn’t mean that I’m any less kind, or funny, or honest when it comes to offering my opinion. I still love to laugh, and dance, and make people feel good. The person I am is not dictated by a number and neither are you. I just happen to know I feel better about myself when I’m living a healthy lifestyle. You still have great qualities whether you’re size 2 or 24. The body that you have now, today, will be the reason you come out the other end so strong and proud of what you achieve. Learn to accept what you have now, while working toward your desired result.
2 – Seeing You at the Gym Makes a Regular Gym Goer Proud:
Sure it’s obvious that you’re not a regular there…yet. But no one is judging you poorly. Instead it sets a fire alight inside our bellies. We’re cheering for you! Silently wishing you well and if you take a moment to make eye contact with us, you can expect a smile, not harsh criticism. We’re always up for a new gym buddy.
3 – Everyone is There for the Same Reason:
This leads on from point number two. Did you know that everyone at the gym is there for the same purpose as you? Yes that includes the guy with bulging muscles and nipples peeking out from behind his tank top, and the girl with resting bitchface that looks like she belongs in a bikini at the most exclusive resort in Bali. The couple who make every movement look flawless, and the big guy that just apologetically wiped up all the sweat he dripped on top of the bench he was using. That Mum that looks like she’s about to pass out? She’s there for the exact same reason as all of them. Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is there to better themselves. To spike those feel good endorphins and walk away feeling like they’ve accomplished something. You are not alone, I promise!
4 – If you Don’t Try, You’ll Never Know:
That life you’ve been living in fear… How’s that working for you? Need I say more?
5 – Find that Thing you Love:
This is one thing I always, always, tell my friends and family. If you want to be successful at anything, do what you love. It rings true when it comes to training too. But how?! How do you know what you love when you’ve never entered a gym before? You test it out. Are you a dancer? Do you love the thought of stress relief through throwing some punches? Would you like to zone out and walk for an hour with your headphones in? I like to lift heavy shit! Almost every type of gym out there will offer you a free or low cost trial. You don’t have to force yourself to go somewhere that you don’t like. Shop around for the right fit, like you would jeans or a dress. There is something out there for everyone.
6 – Take a Friend:
Personally, I prefer to train alone overall. But! There are plenty of times where having a workout buddy has been a real highlight. I’ve had sessions with many different friends Selina, Sophie, Myka. I took part in a bootcamp because my friend Rachel wanted someone to go with. Zumba was always fun when I went with the girls!… And then there was this one time I booked a private dance lesson for my birthday, with a bunch of friends. Ooo lala!
Staying accountable by chatting with my girls in private chat happens too. My partner is full of muscle and I feel extremely motivated when we head to the gym together and I can look up and see him pushing the weights around.
If you are shy or afraid, reach out to someone you know and trust for support. There’s probably someone close to you wishing for a workout partner, just as much as you are.
Are you up for the challenge?
What’s your favourite way to train?
Let me know how you go!