A Fear of Working Out in Public
I was hesitant to admit to people that I knew I was overweight.
Even though I was 344 pounds, I ignored my weight to the best of my ability. I steered clear of mirrors, avoided scales, and was fat and happy eating 5,000+ calories a day. By donning a pair of workout clothes and stepping into a gym I was admitting to the world that I had a problem.
When you announce your desire to lose weight, you’re all of a sudden shifting an issue that was once very secretive (in our minds) and putting it out in the open.
Whenever you perform an activity like walking or running outside, stepping onto the treadmill at the gym, or joining a fitness class, you might think you’re being watched, judged, and maybe even mocked for trying to lose weight. It’s a very common feeling for folks that start working out in public.
When I was obese, I had a constant feeling that everyone was staring at me. Not only when I burned calories at the gym, but at restaurants, movie theaters, and everywhere essentially. I slowly lost this feeling as I lost weight.
I’ve experienced this fear of working out in public from both sides, first from being fearful of people watching me, then seeing new people in the gym (usually around New Year’s) be fearful and look around between every set to see who’s watching them. While I might have glanced at new people, it was only because we were so accustomed to seeing the same faces at 5:30 AM.
It was never out of judgement, but out of hope. Hope that I’d see them again.
Still, you shouldn’t care what I think or what anybody else thinks. We all started at different places on the scale and we’re all moving at different paces. When you try to workout in public, you’ve got to concentrate on the task at hand and the task is to improve your life. Turn on some music, focus on what you’re doing, and stop being intimidated by the speed on the treadmill beside you or the massive weights the bodybuilder is lifting across the room.
You’ll get there one day. There’s absolutely no reason to be afraid to show people you’re willing to put in the work to get there.