Thank you to Rainbeau Curves for letting me talk to you today about how to get over gym anxiety when you are plus sized.
I avoided the gym for many years because of gym anxiety. Not only did I avoid it, I laughed secretly in my head at those that loved hanging out in the gym and decided they must all be vain, self serving and even rude. I thought for sure they must be making fun of me behind my back. I am so sorry I ever thought those things. I now love my gym time.
Not only does it get me healthy and give me “me time”, but I feel things I never thought I would feel at the gym. These include powerful, exhilarated, inspired and bursting with energy. I am amazed at hoe mechanical my body is and how I am able to push it to it’s limits in ways I never thought possible.
Just 5 months ago, I had bought a wheelchair and decided I would just give in and use it. The time at the grocery store was getting too painful, my daily activities taking twice as long and the idea of taking a walk in the park with my husband was something I thought i would have to say goodbye to. I simply had too much chronic pain.
I then had an “aha moment”. I decided that I wanted to give it one last go at health. I am a fighter and I am not willing to give up. I joined a gym, despite the anxiety, and started eating clean. I also quit that nasty habit of smoking.
The first time I went to the gym, I was very nervous. I actually took a few weeks to give in and just join one. I thought I would be the only big girl in there and all those negative thoughts about the “kind of people” I would see there. Here are some tips for you on how to get over gym anxiety when you are plus sized so you can join me on my journey to health.
How to Get Over Gym Anxiety when you are Plus Sized
Visit a few gyms before you decide on one. I knew I had found the right gym when I saw people that looked like me. Not just other plus sized people, but “average” people. People that I could see myself chatting with. I also loved that my gym provided a room for just women who wanted to work out on their own. Ask questions of the staff and ask for a tour. Most will be more than happy to give you one.
Wear outfits that make you feel confident when you go. I suggest wearing workout and fitness clothing for plus sized women that makes you feel confident and is specifically designed for plus sized people, not just in bigger sizes. I like the brand Rainbeau Curves because they fit well on my body and they are comfortable and supportive. Look for tops that are flowy to hide a tummy like I do in this Lilian Stripe Tank. I like the softness of these Maya Capris.
Go with a friend. If you can’t see yourself going alone right now, find comfort in a friend. Often times, gyms don’t require your friend to be a member, but extend a free guest pass for a specific number of times or indefinitely. Some gyms, like mine charge a low fee each time they go, but if you want a friend to come a couple times, this shouldn’t get too costly. You may even be able to add them to your membership for less and split the difference.
Wear headphones with your favorite music. Zone out. That’s what I do to get over it. I bring noise cancelling headphones, my phone and Pandora. I am able to focus on what I am doing and drown out everyone else.
Go to a 24 hour gym late at night. Our gym is 24 hours at one of the locations in town and at first my husband and I went late at night when peak times were over and we could mostly be alone. This was a great way to get familiar with the machines so my confidence was boosted when I started going during the day.
Make an appointment with a trainer. If this is your first time in a gym, start with a few training sessions. A trainer can help you get used to the equipment and help you develop a plan so when you are on your own, you will know what to do. Some gyms offer a limited number of free sessions when you join, even!
Do some research. Check out what others have to say about the gym you want to join. Feedback from members in crucial in decision-making in most cases.
Realize everyone starts somewhere. If you look around and see people that look the way you wish you did now, understand that maybe they came very far to get where they are now. They might be years into their journey. Don’t allow others appearances to make you feel bad, instead try to feel inspired! Also, try to remain open and friendly. It might surprise you that many people are also open and friendly at the gym and want to cheer you on.
Looking for more Plus sized Fitness Ideas?
Check out my post on Tips for doing yoga when you are plus sized!