It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for my wife and I. We finally finished up the sale of our big box gym, Champion Fitness and got my wife out of the grindhouse that was this semester. My future dietitian is almost home free!
It’s back to work now, and a topic I want to cover is a question I hear and see posted a lot on social media: I don’t go to the gym because everyone looks at me.
Why is everyone looking at me? Is there something on my face? Are my shoes untied? Please tell me I remembered pants.
I asked myself all of these questions the first time I set foot in a gym. The truth is that everyone is worried about themselves in the gym and are too self-conscious to even have time to judge anyone else because they feel the same way you do. They are worried about how they look, what people *may* be thinking about them and whether they have pants on or not, too. Rarely are you being looked at critically or actively “judged” in a gym setting.
It’s natural to have nerves when going to the gym. That’s fine. You just can’t let those nerves get in the way of the big picture. It may be awkward going to the gym if you are new, but, using the excuse of “everyone looks at you” just doesn’t fly. Pause for a second and humor me: Say everyone in the entire gym was actually judging you. That shouldn’t matter. Why? You’re there for you. You do this to feel better about yourself, not to make others feel better when they look at you. Be honest, if someone is judging people in the gym chances are you’re not going to have them over for dinner, anyway.
Don’t put the gym on a pedestal like it’s a place you don’t belong and you have to be worthy to go there. Think of it just like you think about other stops you make throughout the week. Grocery store. Wal-Mart. Church. Restaurants. Work.
The attitude you have must be centered on what you want for yourself. Focus on you. Do it because it makes you feel good. If you can start there before you step foot in the gym it won’t matter who looks at you. An important note before we go any further: Looking (x) way will not bring you happiness once you get there. Be happy with who you are, happy that you’re here doing this thing called life. You don’t have to “like” how you look currently, but, you have to own it. Realize what made you want to go to the gym in the first place.
The truth is that everyone you think is “looking at you” more than likely don’t know what the hell they are doing in the gym anyway (which is okay, I’m not saying everyone must be an expert). But, a gym bro who does lateral raises with the 50lb dumbbells and looks like he needs an exorcist or the girl who is doing the routine she saw on the “She Squats” Instagram are not anyone to be worried about.
Let us not forget that something like 90% of the population (don’t fact check me) suffer from a condition known as RBF (Resting B*tch Face). I do. You might. Those looking at you in the gym probably do, too.
Maybe you’re judging them because you think they are judging you. Monitor your self-talk the next time you are in the gym. It may be that you are the one doing the judging. Assuming someone is judging you is just you passing judgement on them. I bet your mind is blown right now.
Lastly; are you bringing attention to yourself by what you wear to the gym (you know what I’m talking about)? If you answered yes — people are definitely looking at you and it is unequivocally 100% your own fault.
Pre-Gym Mindset Standards:
- You’re there for you (or your loved ones). What someone might be thinking about you doesn’t matter.
- If someone IS judging you, do they really matter in the grand scheme of things?
- Know that 99% of the population of any gym is there to get better and only worried about themselves.
- If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing — everyone else probably feels the same way.
- Have a plan for the day. Do your work and get out.
- Don’t think of the gym any different than you do any other place. It’s just another errand on the to do list.
If your mind is right before you set foot in the gym it will change everything. You won’t walk in and look like a deer in headlights, you’ll look like every other person there who came prepared and ready to work.