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Gym Fear: Because I’m Fat

By Raphael | In Fitness, Motivation | on August 24, 2011

I was working out in the gym this morning and a very overweight woman was working out close by. She was about 5’2″ and it appeared she needed to lose about 100 pounds, though that’s not what really got my attention. What I noted was how focused and intense her workout was, and how she was performing each exercise with precise form and giving it her all. Her energy, level of enthusiasm and laser-like focus was infectious. I love seeing this kind of action.

It’s a very difficult thing for a person who needs to lose a lot of weight to walk into a gym. Most people don’t realize how or why that experience can be so intimidating. But when you try to put yourself in the shoes of this person, really try to sense the emotion he or she is feeling while walking into that gym; it can be quite scary.

The woman in the gym today is my personal hero of the day. I didn’t speak to her because it wasn’t the right time, and I didn’t want to disrupt her groove. It takes a lot for me to break my groove, too; I don’t like talking to other people in the gym because I’m there to work out and get the job done with the most intensity possible on that day. But this experience was different. I had huge amounts of respect and admiration for this woman – and she didn’t even know it. Maybe she wouldn’t even care. But in my eyes she was setting the example for all those who are afraid to enter a gym or afraid to step into the scary weight area where all the guys are.

I like that type of courage. It’s the kind of courage that screams “I’m doing what’s in my best interest no matter what you think of me, and I’m doing what I know to be right, no matter how much I fear what you think of me.  It is non-negotiable.”

How about you? Do you want to work out in a gym, but you’re afraid to go because of what they might think? If so, tell me here in a message.

How about those of you who at one time experienced that same fear, but you went anyway? What words of encouragement do you have for others who want to do the same?

It’s time to become the hero of your own life.

12 Comments to "Gym Fear: Because I’m Fat"

  • Karen says:

    August 24, 2011 at 10:43 am - Reply

    I love this! And I’m going to bookmark it and read when I’m feeling low. thanks Raphael xx

    1. Raphael says:

      August 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Karen, oh how excellent! I’m so glad you like it. Wishing you all good things!

  • Paula says:

    August 24, 2011 at 11:31 am - Reply

    This must sound insanely silly to you, Raphael, because you know me so well. You know I don’t let fear run my life, I make choices and conquer my fears. However, I am still afraid of the gym. 🙁 I can make lots of excuses for WHY I like to work out at home, alone. Most people would think that I am a gym rat, by looking at me now. I still feel lost in the chaos surrounding most gyms. 🙂 It is something I have to get over. I will.
    Just wanted to confess. Thanks for posting about this lady. Now I can be done with excuses.

    1. Raphael says:

      August 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Hey Paula, thanks for sharing that. Lots of people feel that way….even those in great shape like you. Once you get a few sessions in a gym you’ll feel right at home. But again, thank you so much for sharing that. I know it must not have been easy to do!

  • Gwen says:

    August 24, 2011 at 11:51 am - Reply

    OMG Raphael did you sneak in to our gym this am. Well my form would not be perfect the rest is about right and yes the first time I went to a gym I thought I would die of shame. Now I figure I belong there too.

    The first time I went, it was a private gym, everyone was so nice to me and not what I was expecting at all. When I left I sat in the car and cried . It was just so emotional .

    The first time I went to our small community gym I was so nervous. I had hired a trainer and he walked in to the weight room ahead of me like he owned the place. I was so scared I thought I was going throw up. There were alot of young hunks in there doing their thing. I thought okay they are busy I will get through this. When we started to work the guys stopped and started leaning against the wall and watching. I thought okay this is too much for me until I realized they had never seen a trainer at work before and everyone wanted some tips. No one was interested in me or my size.

    Any way that was several years ago and even though I am that 5’2” 61 year old woman with lots to lose, I have always been treated with dignity and respect. One day several people were on the treamills and I was the only one working out in a small room. ONe of the guys on the treadmill said look what she is doing that is hard to do you know. OH wow I was smiling on the inside.

    If you are afraid to go take it from me just do it. It will be okay. Everyone is so busy worry about themselves they are not watching you as much as you think . If they are watching you it may not be because of your size. Go for it,remember you deserve to be there and you are worth it!!!

    Great article, Raphael.

  • Raphael says:

    August 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Gwen, wow what a fantastic post! Your experience is going to help a lot of people out there. I can’t express how much I appreciate this.

  • Jenny says:

    August 25, 2011 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Pam will know I am not working but I had to take a moment and say, ” You need and agent!”

    1. Raphael says:

      August 25, 2011 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Ha ha…thank you, Jenny! I agree.

  • Vi says:

    August 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Very inspirational! Everyone goes to the gym or somewhere to work out with their own agenda. They only care about themselves and what they need to do. Don’t ever let anyone intimidate you. You pay the same dues as the hunk or the skinny girl and probably work out harder because you really want this! Congrats to Gwen. Great job!

    1. Raphael says:

      August 26, 2011 at 4:29 am - Reply

      Hi Vi – Thank you for those excellent words of wisdom!

  • Cathy says:

    August 26, 2011 at 4:55 am - Reply

    It’s taken me a while to get to this but definitely want to comment. When i first read this I was instantly taken back to that fear, I carried it for a long time…all the insecurity totally plagued me. It took me forever to even *consider* going to the gym…obviously only fit people belong in gyms. I truly believed that. After losing about 40 pounds or so I finally worked up the nerve to go.

    My first several workouts I was consumed – I’m so out of place here, I’m so sweaty, I don’t know how to use this or do that, everyone must be looking at me and laughing! I don’t know how I continued to go, but the truth is finally a few days in, I realized the only one who was looking and laughing and causing any problems was me. The only one who thought I was out of place was me. I only wish I was as focused when I started as the woman you describe here, that I was able to stand up for (and to) myself with such courage.

    I do know, once I was able to let _myself_ off the hook, it got better quickly. When I was able to hold my head up and actually look around, what I found was that most people didn’t care and/or paid no attention, and a *few* people were even rather friendly, encouraging, and supportive.

    Raphael thank you for writing this, it’s so encouraging to read first about someone so strong and dedicated to herself …a true role model and hero, as you said. And particularly coming from you (as a total musclehead type, you’re likely one of the first ones someone might assume is doing the finger pointing), your perception and deep understanding from outside looking in is calming and reassuring.

    Being there in the past, I know it can be really hard, but I would totally encourage anyone and everyone to get up and give it a try. Lift your head and look around..at some point you’ll look back at the amazing distance traveled and be proud of how far you’ve come and how strong you really are 🙂

    Gwen said it best, “If you are afraid to go take it from me just do it. It will be okay. Everyone is so busy worry about themselves they are not watching you as much as you think . If they are watching you it may not be because of your size. Go for it,remember you deserve to be there and you are worth it!!!”

    (wow long huh? sorry, this one struck a deep chord 🙂

  • Raphael says:

    August 26, 2011 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Cathy, what a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing this!

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