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Why You Feel Embarrassed at the Gym (and Why You Shouldn't)

Why You Feel Embarrassed at the Gym (and Why You Shouldn't)

We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!

Workout-related humiliation is common: After all, you're doing things that require coordination and bum-in-the-air positions in a room full of strangers clad in sweaty spandex. Not only does this scenario lead to the obvious physical mishaps (falling in Zumba class, passing gas during downward dog, naked encounters in the locker room, etc.), it can also make you feel, well, awkward.

Here are 4 common gym insecurities, and why you should ditch them ASAP:

You think: "Ugh, everyone is in better shape than I am!"
Snap out of it: First of all, don't assume that just because someone weighs less than you that they are in better shape than you are. Being skinny isn't necessarily a sign of being fit — being strong is. To get an actual accurate reading on your body composition (rather than just comparing yourself to others), exercise physiologist Fabio Comana, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, recommends checking your waist-to-hip ratio and your Body Mass Index (here's an online calculator).

And to get yourself in a more self-accepting state of mind pronto, position your body in a confident way: Shoulders back and down, head up, abs braced (like someone is about to sock you) and glutes engaged. Exude confidence and everyone will be jealous of you!


You think: "I have no idea what I'm doing."
Snap out of it: This might be true, but don't assume that everyone else does. They may look like they're pros, but chances are, they're just going through the motions (and not necessarily in an effective way) because they are too proud to ask for help. One-up them by seeking out the assistance of a trainer. You don't even need to buy an expensive lesson, just show up at the gym with a workout in hand (click here to download SELF's workout app), and ask one of the trainers roaming the floor if your form looks OK. Do this a few times a week and people will be asking you for help before you know it.

Two more solutions to your gym woes when you keep reading.
You think "How do these girls look so cute in their gym clothes — I feel as awkward as an eighth grader in gym class!"
Snap out of it: OK, you're being hard on yourself. However, if you're wearing old sweatpants and a cotton T-shirt, it might be time to update your gym apparel. To perform at your best, you want breathable materials that allow sweat to evaporate so your body can cool itself efficiently. While you're in shopping mode, it's also not a bad idea to invest in a few workout pieces that make you feel hot. You're working hard; you deserve it. SELF's style team recommends the LuluLemon Groove Pant. Although expensive at $98, they're super comfortable and give you a fab butt lift.

You think: "Seriously, this hip-thrusting move is the ultimate humiliation."
Snap out of it: It's true: some moves just don't feel fit for public consumption. The beautiful thing is, you don't have to do moves you hate as long as you find suitable substitutes. For example, instead of the abductor/adductor machine (or, what has been described as a medieval birthing device), try this Jane Fonda-inspired inner-thigh lift (sweat band optional). With legs crossed, you'll be slightly less worried about a TMI moment. Click here for three more swaps.

For more advice on how to deal with other embarrassing gym moments, click here.

How do you conquer workout insecurities?

More from Self:
Get Slim Without the Gym
Design Your Own (Embarrassment-Free!) Workout Video

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amber512 amber512 6 years
I have gotten pretty much any possible funny look at the gym, but 99% of the time people are more worried about how THEY look. They aren't looking at you :)
zc zc 6 years
You just got to remind yourself that all the "ridiculous" looking moves are getting you fab results! That's what helps me!
mondaymoos mondaymoos 6 years
My only embarrassing gym recurrence is buying the wrong pants. It's not fun to get up from a spin class with a very obviously seat-shaped sweat stain.
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 6 years
I've been going to the gym consistently for about five years now, but I remember how hard it was to get into the habit. My biggest tip is to make it non-negotiable. Sure, you'll feel self-conscious and out of shape at first, but the more often you go, the faster you'll find your routine and all those insecurities will fly out the window. And even the buffest gym rat had to start somewhere!
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