People, we have a problem! Australia is currently running in a fourth place in the unfortunate collective competition for having the WORLDS fattest people. Currently in Australia 63% of the adult population is overweight or obese, with 28% categorised as obese. This puts us just behind the US (36.5%), Mexico (32.4%) and New Zealand (28.4%).
Recently, I was made aware of something I hadn’t put a lot of thought into before. But now that I think about it, makes a whole heap of sense. I never realised, or put myself into a position to think about, what it would be like for someone who had been classified as obese to actually walk into a gym and join.
So what might you feel like if you found yourself in this situation:
- You don’t know much about gyms, who’s there, what you need to do, and what this means (lack of knowledge = fear)
- You have probably been subjected to shows like the Biggest Loser, and therefore think that all trainers will make you vomit as soon as you step foot into the gym floor (maximum fear)
- You wonder whether you can in fact do any of the exercises that are being asked of you (embarrassment and fear)
- You feel like all eyes are on you, judging you for the way you look (embarrassment, possible disgust of self, shame)
- You think that everyone at the gym looks like a sports model and hence feel uncomfortable being around people that look like that (shame, lack of knowledge)
……And the list could go on.
So there’s a huge problem that lays right here.… People are afraid to walk into gyms. And I can see why with such issues laid out above.
Let me clarify one specific issue with the above 5 reasons…. because I feel I can offer a non psychological point of view. (I’ll address other issues, like ‘How to Find a good trainer’ in my next article).
I own a gym. Not your big commercial gym, but a small, quaint, personal gym. And let me tell you what our clients look like and who they are. They are NOT fitness models. They DO NOT walk around the gym looking like this……
Our members are real people. They are mums, dads, grandparents, sons, daughters, teenagers. They range in body size and shape from tall and lean, to tall and curvey. They are short, stocky and strong. Some have bigger thighs, some have smaller calves, some have bigger backs, others have bigger glutes. Some are stronger than others… We/they are all different in their body shape, size and strength. And nothing is wrong with any of them. They are all there because they are trying to do something, not judge others.
If you walk into my gym, you will not be surrounded by sports models parading around in crop tops and tight bike shorts. None of our male clients get around their shirt off sporting and 8 pack (sorry MSC members). You will be surrounded by everyday people doing everyday hard work; and motivating, encouraging and supporting each other through it. So PLEASE….. If this is one reason you are not stepping foot into a gym, leave that mentality at the door.
Let me also clarify, that very few people actually look like sports models. Even sports models themselves only look that way for 1-3 months of the year because ‘that look’ is so hard to maintain. In fact, about 1% of the population actually looks like this (if this weren’t true, why are we #4 in biggest people). So, one thing you can do before walking into a gym, is not be embarrassed to enter because of the way you look.
If you are thinking about making that very necessary decision to do something about your weight, and you are still uncomfortable entering a gym after reading this, then look into Online Training. I know some people who prefer to get into Online Training before they feel comfortable enough to enter a gym, and that’s absolutely fine. Let me know and I can hit you up with some pretty awesome online trainers. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed when walking into a gym. That’s what gyms are there for. That’s what they are designed to do. Help you lose and maintain your weight, help you gain strength and make some gainz… and not to make you feel embarrassed, weak and ashamed.
If you are still struggling mentally to get yourself into a gym. I’ve got one more thing I want to make you aware of.
What I’ve learnt in life is that no one cares about you and what you’re doing. Negative and selfish, I know. But hear me out. People care about you, sure. But they don’t give two shits about what you’re doing with your life, how you chose to live it, or the decisions you’ve made to get there. No one cares about anyone but their own first. After their family is ok, that’s when the care factor filters to others. We are a selfish creatures after all. So what I mean by this is!… If you are over weight and embarrassed to walk into a gym, think of it this way: No one cares that you’re there. I’m not trying to be rude. I’m just being realistic. People are too busy worrying about themselves and what they are doing, to worry about what you did in life to get to be that size, or look a certain way. The trainers at the gym will/should care about you. In the end, they want you to achieve your goals. But other members are not looking at you wondering why you’ve stepped into the gym. In fact, these people may have been in exactly the same situation as yourself. And depending on where you go, you may actually get a whole heap of support for being there. Yes, you might actually find that people aren’t so bad. You may even make a friend. Who might turn out to be a training partner in future.
As you know, I am a trainer. I have been training fucking hard for close to 15 years. And guess what…. I myself am no fitness model. I have big thighs in comparison to my upper body and I can’t gain muscle (I’m still devastated about that). So what? I give up? No! It was only when I learnt that genetics make up 50% of the way you look, that I had no choice but to drop the ‘poor me’ attitude and try to make something of the 50% I could control. Am I 100% happy with how I look. Well, no (because I like chocolate waaaaay too much). But am I 100% happy with how I feel? That’s a YES. I’m strong. I’m fit. I’m healthy.
If you started training right now, will you have bigger thighs than your upper body too? Will you have small calves compared to your quads? Who knows. But you gotta try. And wouldn’t you rather be ‘big boned’ and fit, strong and healthy, than ‘big boned’ and heavy on the boarderline of getting heart disease? And when you get to the end of your life, will you look back and say ‘I wish I had tried’ or would you look back and say ‘well I’m glad I didn’t try’. I can almost guarantee that you’d say that you wished you tried. Because even if you fail (and this is for anything in life), at least you can look back and tell the story that you gave it a go. And everyone knows that sometimes you start, and then quit/fail, many times over before you actually succeed. The point is, don’t give up, especially not on yourself.
So, in conclusion, there is absolutely no way that if you are on the heavier end of the spectrum, that you should feel embarrassed, or nervous, or ashamed walking into a gym because you feel everyone there will look like a super model. You should feel empowered, proud that you have made the first, and hardest, step into being a better you.
Now go get ém.