There was always two major things that I found to be extremely intimidating at gyms. First, the fact that everyone looked like they knew what they were doing and I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know how the machines worked so I stuck to the elliptical and bikes. Due to this, I didn’t always have the best workouts and it resulted in not much of a change for me, physical and mentally. Second, it’s just plan intimidating. I thought that gyms are a place where I was vulnerable and could be easily judged.
For these two reasons, I avoided the gym unless I had a gym buddy. But that had its own effect because it made me depend on someone else, instead of depending on myself. Depending on myself to make myself healthy, because in the end, that is what motivates to change the most.
To make a long story short, this summer, I said “enough is enough”. I started off the summer by forcing myself to go running or jogging, by the gorgeous Rideau Canal, a couple times a week. At first I was so nervous that I everyone would look at me that I just went walking in my ordinary clothes. Then worked my way up, pretty quickly, to going in workout clothes and then started to jog.
However this became difficult because of the heat wave. And I further realized that come the fall and winter I would need to continue in the gym anyway, I couldn’t avoid it. And cardio is only good for so long. I needed weights, so I had to start facing the intimidating gym.
Now, I made a personal decision to not go to the free campus gym. Firstly because I detested it, partly because I associated it will not being confident, and because the whole facility wasn’t pleasant at all. Secondly, I thought that maybe having to pay for a membership would be an added incentive.
I joined a gym. That gym offered a start up personal trainer session. It would give you 6 sessions with a personal trainer to teach you the machinery, and to give you a routine that will best improve you. This is was really important to me and was, in the end, a great decision. The personal trainer make me go to the gym because I had appointments to keep and it was booked in my schedule. And they also made me feel like I was actually doing something productive and so I learned to like the gym. No longer did I feel like I was making no progress.
This feeling made me go to the gym, but honestly, I only needed this determination for the first two times before I genuinely enjoyed going to the gym. I realized how the gym doesn’t make you vulnerable. It makes you stronger, literally and figuratively. Mostly everyone goes to the gym, plugs in their earphones and goes into their “zone”. No one compares themselves to others because everyone comes to the gym to improve themselves, independently. And everyone looks the same, with sweat falling from their face, and a “tomato face”, that no one sticks out. It strangely is a sense of calm, mixed with the feeling of being a completely bad-ass pumping iron.
Now, I’m nowhere to near to being confident in gyms. I want to start doing classes, mostly yoga. I’m nervous, but the feeling of conquering the gym gives me confidence that I can accomplish the next step.
So if you take anything from this post and my experience, realize that there are many small milestones to working up to going to the gym and all of them are positive. This is just another accomplishment that can make you stronger. Be strong, be confident and you can do anything.