About a year ago, I reached out to a former member to check in because life had happened that caused a major life shift, causing her to stop working out for a period of time. When we chatted, she was in a position where she could start focusing on herself again, but, in her words, “I’m too embarrassed to go to a gym… so I don’t.”

Long story short, she was out for a year, and during that time, she stopped eating well, starting eating more convenience-based food, and basically stopped working out. 

She gained about 30lbs, lost a lot of her progress she had worked for and was embarrassed. 

I can honestly relate to this, I’ve been in a similar position before, but I want to know what YOU would tell her to do? Have you ever been here, and if so, what did you do?

There are TWO cases that I see when a person is too embarrassed to workout.

  1. They have never worked out before.
  2. They are a former athlete or gym rat that stoped and lost a lot of their progress.

Both of these can warrant their own discussion but let me tell you what we told her.

One. Stop comparing yourself to the person you were last year. Life happens. Life will happen again. But to compare yourself to a previous year when your life is/was completely different is not fair to you. Your circumstances are different, your day to day life is different, and you’re having to learn a new way of living; you’re still trying to figure things out. This is normal and ok! But stop comparing; it only makes things worse.

Two. No one is looking at you or judging you. This is a big fear that everyone has… being the/a new person. Walking into a new place and thinking, or feeling, that all eyes are on you. Critiquing, judging, and comparing. 

I can’t stress this enough. No one is looking or comparing. Everyone is focused on themselves and not judging you. You may be judging you, which goes back to my previous point of comparing your life now vs. what it was last year. A lot of that fear you have is in your head. 

Here is a little secret… that insecurity you have? Everyone, especially the fittest of the fit, has it, so you’re not alone. 

 

So what should you do?

One. Come in with a plan, don’t wing it. Winging it just makes YOU feel more awkward and lets those thoughts in that others are watching. So get a plan, use some of your older workouts, download THESE off our site, or even get them off another website, but HAVE a plan.

Two. Bring headphones. Headphones will bring you inward and keep your focus on yourself. Listen to some good music and forget everyone else. 

Three. Focus on one workout at a time—just one. Don’t worry about the week or month but make your world small and just focus on THIS one workout. Start there. I wrote about something similar to this a while back that I feel it can help with you this way of thinking. It’s worth the read HERE <==

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I want to stress that being embarrassed to go to the gym doesn’t mean that something is wrong and you are broken. You are not broken; I know that you are trying. It’s ok.

Being embarrassed means that you are aware you are not living to your potential, and you are judging yourself because of it, perhaps judging yourself too harshly and unfairly. 

When you start judging yourself harshly, then you being criticizing yourself and every little thing you do. This self-criticism can lead to you feeling devalued as a person, overwhelmed, and eventually depressed. 

 

So how do you work through this?

One. Forgive yourself. Stop beating yourself up for whatever you are embarrassed about. It’s in the past, you can’t change it, but you can change how you respond to it.

Two. Stop comparing. Comparison is entirely unfair to you. Your life is different now than where it was when you felt your best. Compare to your yesterday, not your past life. 

Three. Make your world small, focus on what you can do today (this piggybacks off the previous point), and don’t worry about tomorrow. Turn inward and focus on what you can do today, this afternoon, this hour, or now. Not tomorrow 

Four. Realize that everyone else is feeling the SAME way as you, your not alone. People aren’t judging you. They are worried about what YOU think of them; they are too concerned with themselves to worry about you. 

Five. Get a buddy or coach/mentor. I’ve always found that when someone is embarrassed, not being alone can go a LONG way with getting change started. Having someone help you along your journey and even guide you will get you over those mental roadblocks quicker.

 

 

In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.

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