Fear of the Gym Stopping You?

I am afraid to go to the gym or workout outside; people will look at me or make fun of me, therefore I do not exercise at all.  As a Health Coach for the last 13 years I hear this constantly.  Mostly from overweight people and a majority of females.

Some of those fears are absolutely justified with weirdo creepy guys who do stare and swoon at the gym.  A small group ladies talking about other people at the gym and judging them, unfortunately happens too.

In fact, I witnessed a creepy guy scenario Saturday at my gym.  I was on the Elliptical and I usually read my kindle to take my mind off the pure torture of cardio, but sometimes I look up at the TV’s or around the gym.  There is a guy, in his 40’s, nice guy really, semi-regular at this gym time, goes out of his way to say hi to people and well wishes if you happen to pass by.

However, he is single, at least I hope he is, and apparently on the prowl.  In his defense before I rip him apart, I never noticed him being so gross before.

There is a woman, younger,  is always at the gym around the same time as our little morning group of regulars, she 99.9% of the time minds her business, listens to her music, and does what the rest of us are doing….working out and not really paying attention to anyone else.

This day our “nice guy,”  broke and went full creeper.  I was in the weight room with them and he initiated a conversation with her.  She was clearly in the middle of her workout and wanted to be left alone, but she did take her head phones off and was polite and spoke to him briefly.

Of course, he took this as a sign of true Disney love (guys are the worst, I fully admit it, and I am guy).  He spent the rest of his workout staring at her, following her around, and doing goofy dangerous exercises to try and get her attention.   At one point he was holding a weighted flat bar with one arm above his head staring at her.  A highly dangerous stunt by the way.  I was paying more attention to him than she was and it was sad.

I moved to the cardio portion of my workout and happened to look up in my exhaustion and see the woman is leaving, her work out done.  On her way out she stops to talk with some of the older folks who were standing by the exit.

I catch out of the corner of the room our boy come out of the weight room at a fast pace and starts literally doing karate moves, jumping kicks, on a mat near the exit.  He is grunting extremely loud all the while looking at the woman to see if she was watching him.  As if she was going to stop talking to those people and run over to him embrace him in true love. 

It failed, she did not even look at him doing those cartwheels.  He got discouraged and actually walked up and interrupted their conversation.  They were clearly annoyed so he left and actually loudly said, “sorry for interrupting, I will catch up with you later.” Then went back to doing rolls, kicks, jumps, and grunts while staring at her.

It was weird.  It was creepy.  It was gross.  To end this sad story, she left, never looked back at him.  After she left, he snapped back into reality and went back to the weight room to finish his workout. INSANE, but entertaining.

So yeah, when I hear someone say they are afraid of going to the gym, because people will oogle them, it is a legit fear.  I mean, I am guilty myself, by watching that event unfold and writing about it in great detail.

I am here to say confidently that while that fear is real, almost all of us, men and women, are just trying to get our workout done and move on with our lives.  I have been consistent and inconsistent with the gym since I was 16.  That guy swooning over that woman was an outlier.

There are always going to be bad apples, do not let them spoil your tree.  If an individual or a group are personally making you uncomfortable or verbally being idiots, or even doing headstands and karate kicks to get your attention at the gym; ignore them or report them, get them to change their behavior and get them out of there.

As I spoke before about fear in my first ever post, “What are you afraid of;” it all boils down to a fear of failing.    That fear of people looking at you is real, but it is an excuse not to make a change.  Making changes within ourselves is damned tough.  I have heard nearly all of these fears and excuses throughout my career, and used them myself.  It all goes back to the fear of failing.

Can the gym be intimidating, sure.  As is anything else we try to do for the first time in a public setting.  Think of something you did for the first time publicly, were you nervous?  Scared?  Thinking of excuses as to why you shouldn’t do it?  Yes, yes, and yes is the correct answers there.

That is NORMAL!  However, once you do that thing and keep doing it, that fear is gone and those excuses not to do it seem silly.

Yeah, people are going to look at you at the gym, just as you will look at them, will there be some creepy guy staring at every female in yoga pants, or two old ladies talking about everyone at the gym, yeah probably, but ignore them   You are trying to be healthier for you, not them.

Finally, most importantly, most of the people at the gym could care less what you are up to there.  They just want to get their own workout done .   If they are like me and I am guessing most are?  They are probably cheering for you in their heads, for showing up, and hoping that you keep coming back as you make a better you.

What are your thoughts?  Any stories about the weirdos and creeps at your gym?  How did or do you handle it?

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