There’s no reason to be. I bring this up because recently I’ve had a few interactions with people, who for whatever reason, are embarrassed to work out. I guess I didn’t really know that so many people feel this way. But I hear that they think everyone is judging them (either in the gym or on the roads) and they don’t want to be embarrassed by how they look working out. They tell me that they are self conscience about their bodies, their running pace, their lack of knowledge around gym equipment, their age, etc. etc. etc.
I have never felt that way. Well, except for once. I had just had wrist surgery, and once I was cleared to start rehab, the only weights I could lift were 2-3 lbs. So I hid in a side room at the gym so nobody would see me doing curls with baby weights. But then a group of body builders came in the same room and stripped down to g-strings and started critiquing each others poses, as they were preparing for a competition. I was trapped in the room, surrounded by giant men in tiny banana hammocks, lifting 2 pound dumbbells – so yes, I was a little embarrassed.
But anyway, I seem to recall in college someone telling me they were intimidated being around buff dudes in the gym, so they didn’t go. Now I’m not saying I was buff, but I was on the cheerleading team and we had to lift weights…a lot. The gym was our second home. And yes, we had a strength and conditioning coach, just like every other sports team on campus. Here’s photo proof of my involvement:
I remember talking to some of the other regulars at the gym and asked if they ever judged anyone else, and they all said “No.” They were too busy focusing on their own workouts. In fact, they said they actually respect the out of shape people they see in the gym. They respect how their in there working to get better. The only time they don’t is when someone just shows up one time and quits. Or people who are just there doing things half-butted. But if you are there and committed, then others respect you, no matter what your fitness level is.
This goes for people running too. Whenever I pass another runner, I don’t say to myself, “They should not be out here.” Instead I think, “Hey, another runner trying to get better, just like me.”
And when I’m in my car and pass by someone running, I’m always jealous. I’d rather be out there on my feet than on my vehicular wheels.
So to sum up: lift the weights, run the roads, swim the the pools, bike the streets, yoga the yoga mats, do whatever it is you like to do without fear. Nobody is judging how fast you run, how much weight you can lift, how unflexible you are, etc, etc. Chances are, you are actually being respected or envied……Unless of course you’re doing something weird, like stealing all the paper towels and putting them in her giant purse, like I saw an old lady at the gym do the other week. If that’s the case, then yes, I am judging you Mrs. Paper Towel Stealer.