Why You Should Not Fear The Gym If You Are Overweight

Why You Shouldn't Fear The Gym If You Are Overweight
Blend Images, Marc Romanelli

More than one person has said to me: I want to join a gym, but not until I lose weight or get more fit. But that’s kind of like saying you don’t want to lift weights until you become strong. Just like lifting weights helps you get strong, the gym is your workshop to lose weight and get fit. The gym isn’t a stage with a spotlight on you; it’s a place filled with various bodies of various fitness levels where everyone has a common goal—health.

You don’t have to wait for your ideal body before you get a gym membership and show up. Not sold yet? Let me convince you.

If you are in the gym, you have a common goal. Listen, if you join a gym and go there to work out, you care about your health. Every person working out at a gym cares about their health and that shared value is one of the reasons why gyms inspire a sense of community. Yes, some people are there training for an event, or trying to get impressive biceps or wanting to look good in a pair of jeans. If your goal is to look good in a little black dress, to lose 30 pounds or to get legs of steel, your goal should be respected. We are all wired differently and we are different parts of our journey. Remember, if you step into the gym, you care about your health just like everyone else there.

 Everyone is focused on their own workout. If you are self-conscious about your weight, you may wonder what other people (those fit people or fitness buffs) are thinking about you when you step on the treadmill or go to a group fitness class.

You will be happy to hear that most people probably aren’t thinking about you at all.  More likely, they are focused on their own sweat sessions or the tough day they had at the office. If anything, someone might glance your way and think—good for you—working on your health. Gym enthusiasts are generally a supportive and good-natured bunch.

Don’t get stuck in negative thoughts that aren’t grounded in reality.

The only opinion that matters is yours. If you let what others think about you, change what you want to do, I can tell you one thing: You are really letting what you think change what you do. You have to decide if you are going to be on your own side and have your own back. Your opinion is the one that counts. You determine your self-worth. Taking good care of yourself, say with a gym membership, is actually a way to raise your self-worth. Any decision you make that’s positive can increase the way you feel about yourself. Spend your efforts working on the opinion that matters most—yours.

Find a gym with the right vibe. Gyms, like people, have different personalities. Find that kind of gym if that’s right for you. Most gyms offer trial memberships so you can experience what they are like before you commit and pay. Take a tour of the gym around the time you plan to workout. When you walk into your gym, you should feel like you want to be there and be part of the vibe.

Try and select a gym that’s geographically desirable. You don’t want a long commute to the gym. Accessibility will help you go on those days when your self-motivation is waning a bit. Speaking of that, check the gyms hours and amenities to see if they have what you need.

Joining a gym is great for accountability. If you are paying for a membership, that alone can be a motivator to go to the gym. If that doesn’t do it for you, just going to the gym a couple of times can make you want to keep going. You start to form habits and patterns that pull you to show up. Find a lifting buddy or sign up for the small group weight training class and get to know people there. Those people expect to see you. That makes you show up. Or you find your favorite elliptical machine and enjoy the time with your favorite playlist. When you make going to the gym a habit, the momentum you create helps you stick with the habit.

So don’t wait until the scale says a certain number or until you can lift a 45 pound barbell before you join your local gym. Your gym can be your ultimate workshop for working on you. All you have to do is join … (oh, and go!)

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