I am currently on a weight loss journey, and I’m so proud of myself for not letting my anxiety keep me from achieving my goals! A year ago, I would have never stepped foot in a gym. Now, I’m working hard trying to get myself healthy at the gym with my corporate membership. So, how have I come this far? I forced myself out of my comfort zone, that’s how.
Growing up with social anxiety was tough. A lot of the time, it would prevent me from doing the things that I wanted to do. I remember back in high school, it stopped me from joining the volleyball team, and it stopped me from playing the piano for my church. This irrational fear that I would mess up or that I wasn’t good enough prevented me from even trying, and boy, it made me feel awful not being able to experience any of that.
I am currently not where I want to be when it comes to my weight, and I’m working on getting rid of it. Around college is when I started packing on the pounds; all that stress and eating out has caught up to me! Getting a job where I sit down all day hasn’t done much to help either. Over the past 5 years, I’ve gained well over 40 pounds. It came to a point where I didn’t even want to be near a scale 😔
My first time ever going to a gym was back in late middle school or early high school. It was with my sister and a friend, and it was the most frightening experience ever. Everyone seemed like they knew what they were doing with their toned bodies, and here I was not knowing anything about exercise machines or working out. I was very intimidated. I didn’t want to be that one person who didn’t know what she was doing because I was afraid of getting made fun of. Because of that anxiety, I never went back. And I decided that if I ever did want to go back to a gym, somebody had to be there with me. I refused to go to a gym by myself.
Fast forward to March of this year; I’m at my heaviest weight ever, and I’m miserable because I’m always feeling like a bloated whale. My supervisor, who also works at the gym that’s below the office where I work, one day asks if we had a corporate gym membership, how many of us would use it. I was one of the few people who agreed to take advantage of that fantastic offer. About a week later, she hooked us up with that corporate membership, and I had to admit that I was pretty excited!
I was also terrified about going to the gym. Those anxious thoughts kept coming back: I won’t know how to use any of the equipment. I won’t know what I’m doing. I don’t want to work out in front of other people. Etc., etc., etc. I knew I had to take advantage of this gym membership (which I’m not paying for, by the way) because it was a use it or lose it deal. Luckily, one of my coworkers and I agreed to go together and be each other’s workout buddies. She’s shy like I am, so she understood my anxiety about going to the gym by myself.
The first time we went was a little awkward considering neither of us knew how to use the machines, and we both felt uncomfortable exercising in front of other people. I ended up on the elliptical machine since it looked like the easiest to use while she went on the treadmill behind me. Not too bad. But after like 20 minutes, we had absolutely no idea what to do next. I was getting anxious all over again, but I was so grateful to have someone there with me to figure out our next steps. We both ended up doing a few simple exercises like crunches and some dumbbell workouts. Ultimately, I still ended up feeling awkward, but not nearly as much as I would have felt if I were alone. Again, I was so grateful I had her with me.
As the weeks went by, there would be times where she wasn’t able to go to the gym as often as I was trying to go. Because she couldn’t go, I ended up not wanting to go by myself. As a result, I wasn’t as active as I wanted to be and kept gaining weight. I finally decided that enough is enough. I was tired of feeling like an Oompa-Loompa, and I was ready to start seeing some changes! I had to convince myself that if I wanted to go to the gym, and my workout buddy wouldn’t be able to make it, I was still going to go. So I did.
Let me tell you, going into the gym for the first time by myself was petrifying. I still had no idea what I was doing, so I went back to the elliptical since it was the only machine I knew how to use. I also tried to do some of my target area workouts that I have saved on my Pinterest and on my notepad. Being tucked away into the far corner made me feel like I had my own space, and no one was watching me attempt some of these workouts. As I started getting more into my workout, I started feeling a little less anxious.
It took some getting used to, but slowly, I started becoming more comfortable going to the gym on my own. In fact, I’m starting to really enjoy going there to work out. I’m aiming to go at least twice a week now. Every time I go, I push myself to work harder, so I can finally lose all this stupid weight. I even learned how to use some of the other equipment.
I think what made this process so easy was the fact that the gym is so warm and inviting. The majority of the people who go there are old, so that took away some of the intimidation. I also enjoy how small and clean it is. Oh, and their bathrooms are NICE! I love how amazing the handsoaps smell, and I love how they have a little bathroom spray (that I may or may not have had to use a couple of times 😳). The workers are also super friendly and helpful when I don’t know how to use a machine. I don’t feel embarrassed having to ask how to work something because they’re so chill about it and want to help without making me feel bad. I am always looking forward to going to that gym and getting a good workout after a stressful workday.
So, once I stop working at my job, would I ever get a gym membership elsewhere? Possibly. As I’m learning more about how to use some of the gym equipment, I’m feeling a little better about myself. Of course, I’d want to keep using those machines because they work so well for me. Although I’m not sure if any other gym would be as lovely as this one.
I’m already feeling better about myself after only 3 months of using that gym. I only hope to learn more and continuously push and challenge myself until I get to my desired weight goal. I never would have had this opportunity if it weren’t for my job, so for that, I say thanks! According to my supervisor, I’ve used my gym membership the most out of everyone who has one. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come!
My tip to anyone who is dealing with “gymtimidation” is to start out by going to a smaller gym first if that’s possible. Think of why you’re going to the gym, and use that as a motivation to keep going back. Also, find someone willing to be your workout buddy, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most importantly, headphones are your best friend at the gym! The music will drown everyone out, and you’ll be in a better mood as you workout.
Thanks so much for reading!