I’ve never been one of those people who is all “I have to lose weight before I can go to the gym.” That’s not to say that I don’t ever feel self-conscious being The Fattest Woman at the Gym (because typically I am), but I just figure, “Hey, we all came here for basically the same thing, right?” And with only one exception, I’ve never been made to feel “less than” while at the gym. In that one case, some rabid step instructor lost it because I took a water break. After some smart remark (“Some of you are working harder than others…”), I packed up my ish and left the class, never to return. If I’d thought of it at the time, I would’ve reported him. But I was pretty young then and didn’t know the power of “keeping the customer happy.”
But that was one incident in about 15 years of gym-going. Since that time I’ve learned that most of the folks who are there are so wrapped up in their own workout (or too busy admiring themselves in the mirror) that they aren’t even paying any attention to anyone else. Even in the locker room, most women are so busy trying to score space to discreetly change into/out of their sports bras and spandex that they’re not even bothering to check out anyone else.
I think the real key to being The Fattest Woman at the Gym is to “act as if….”
Act as if you belong there, because you do! You paid your membership fee like everyone else. No one has any right to make you feel out of place. If anyone does, take it straight to the powers that be. Sometimes, that might mean going so far as writing to corporate management. Trust, in this age of social media, no one wants a disgruntled customer walking around. Just make sure you’ve got the right culprit. *ouch*
Act as if you know what you’re doing, because, in truth, nobody has a clue. I don’t care how fancy their designer workout clothes are or how much they huff and puff while slamming down weights and strutting around. The vast majority of people do NOT know what they’re doing at the gym. I’ve worked with enough trainers who have coached me on form and reps to recognize
an idiot a phony when I see one. (We all have that one guy at the gym who parades around in a wife beater, does ONE rep with a swollen barbell, slams it down with a grunt and then resumes his sashay across the weight room floor.)
Act as if you will pull out a can o’whoop-ass if someone twists their lip to say something off-color to you. Okay. So maybe this isn’t the best piece of advice. I don’t want you to walk around feeling defensive. But despite all of the advice above, in the back of my mind, I’m still half-expecting some perky gym bunny to roll up to me one day and say something along the lines of “I think it’s so great that you’re here!” I’ve got my response all prepared.
Unfortunately Thankfully, I haven’t had to use it yet.
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