I’ve just found out there’s a word for something I didn’t know existed: “gymtimidation”. Apparently the fear of being judged, intimidated or embarrassed in the gym is stopping some people going. The “skinny bitches” and “meat heads” scare some people so much, that even though they want to workout and improve their lives, they don’t. That makes me really sad, so as someone who probably sits somewhere in between a skinny bitch and a meat head, I have a message to all the gym newbies:
You Are Welcome.
Not for the intimidation, but you’re welcome to come train with us. We all started somewhere. I can promise you, if you’re in the gym and working on your health and fitness, those of us who aren’t complete douches are not judging you. You think you’re too fat, too weak or too unfit to train? You think you’re clothes don’t look good or your face will get all red and sweaty? Who cares? Honestly, I’m not in the gym judging anyone for the effort they put in. (If you grunt and carry on, don’t put your weights back, leave sweat on the benches or don’t use deodorant, then maybe I’ll be judging you, but that’s a whole other blog.)
We’re all training for different reasons. Right now, I’m training for a figure comp so my carb intake is lower and I’m dropping weight. I’m tired and training hurts more than usual. I’ll look for anything to motivate me, and believe it or not, sometimes it’s the unfit, overweight or weaker people who inspire me, because I know the effort they’re putting in. There’s a lady in my gym who’s lost a heap of weight, she’s still bigger than I’ve ever been and I think she’s amazing. She’s consistently worked hard, trains like a trooper and is kicking some major goals. There’s another lady who’s probably twice my age and just getting back into the gym. She has cellulite, she wears shorts, she’s strong and she’s brilliant. There are plenty of people who are huffing and puffing, sweating away who look terrible in the gym. Who cares? They leave feeling awesome for the workout they’ve done. You deserve that feeling. If you want to go to the gym, please, just go.
If you’re not sure where to start, book in with a PT for a couple of sessions, just to show you around. Don’t let them bully you into a 12 week plan if that’s not what you want. There are plenty of trainers willing to work with what you need. Maybe you just need a session a month to get some new ideas. Maybe you need to see them three times a week for a month to really feel comfortable. If you can’t afford a trainer, try and rope a friend in to train with you. If you get nothing else from me, hear this, everyone who wants to be in the gym is welcome there, and anyone who makes you feel otherwise is an idiot (that includes yourself, if you’re inventing intimidation tactics in your own head). Regardless of where you start, being the least fit person in the gym is way better than being the least fit person in McDonald’s. If you want to train, do it! It takes all kinds to make a gym, and maybe there are some fit kids already there who just need you to show up and inspire them.