Hello gym membership!

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My post workout green smoothie. Recipe from ‘Be Body Beautiful’ by Lucy Mecklenburgh. Image credit: Anna Fearon

Back in April I wrote a blog post entitled ‘Gymphobia‘ about how I found it hard to go to the gym because I had a bit of a fear of it. However, I am pleased to report that I have conquered this irrational fear. It may have taken me five months, but I have finally done the inevitable and got a gym membership!

Between April and now I have taken baby steps towards joining a gym. I was running on a regular basis in order to increase my fitness levels so that I could complete the Race for Life in June. Alongside this, I was trying to become more healthy and made green smoothies, packed with fruit and veg such as kale, bananas and pineapples (**see the photo caption up above for the recipe details).

However, my long-term goal was always to tone up my body and I didn’t think that I could achieve this just through running. I also felt that going to the gym would increase my confidence as I see the results.

And did I mention that I have a real love of food (especially pizzas and burgers)? Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! Well, it’s near enough impossible for me to eat grub like this and not gain weight. Gone are the days when I had a super fast metabolism and could eat what I wanted, when I wanted! So, as you can see, I kind of had to bite the bullet and get down a gym at some point!

My gymphobia is officially wearing off. It’s really not as scary as I thought! In fact, I did a workout in a ladies only gym today. I soon realised that the majority of women in there were exercising quietly without paying too much attention to anyone else. So, I didn’t feel uncomfortable or like anyone was particularly judging me for my lack of gym-intelligence (and by that I mean the knowledge of how to use equipment, and where to fill my water bottle up etc. etc.). 

I imagined myself falling off the equipment (Miranda style) but after being shown how to operate everything by an instructor I felt a lot more assured. I spent roughly 40 minutes working out on my own. This involved spending around 7-8 minutes on each machine and then finishing my workout by doing some squats with weights. Because who doesn’t want that killer Victoria’s Secret bottom sported by Candice Swanepoel and co.?

It may have taken me a few months to get a membership, but I have got there. So, there is hope for all you ladies out there battling with gymphobia!

There is one simple solution: Let go of your fears and get down to a gym. 

Gymphobia

Concrete jungle where fears are made of…

fitness
Exercise class. Image credit: LocalFitness on Wikipedia.

I have gymphobia. What’s that?… I hear you ask. It’s quite simply a fear of the gym. I first came across this word in an issue of Cosmopolitan’s Cosmo Body and it really rang true with me.

I have always imagined the gym to be a place where ripped men flex their muscles and pose on the equipment. If you’ve ever watched the gym scenes in The Only Way Is Essex then you will know what I mean! Plus the idea that people can see me attempting to use equipment and failing freaks me out! If you’ve ever watched the BBC comedy series Miranda and seen her at the gym then you can imagine the epic scenes that may unfold.

Thankfully, things are changing, not just for me, but also in society. Firstly, a campaign called This Girl Can, which was developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations, was launched earlier this year. It encourages women of all shapes and sizes to exercise. It was started after findings that some women don’t exercise because they have a fear of being judged. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a size 6 or 18, the gym can be a very daunting place and it’s fantastic how empowering this campaign has been.

At the start of the year I made a New Year’s resolution to get fit. I got a pay-as-you-go gym membership and undertook a variety of exercise classes. Whilst I did find some posey types hanging out by the lockers chatting up girls, I found that my expectations were largely wrong. Most of my classes contained older folk who were clearly just at the gym to exercise.

That is not to say that it has been plain sailing. I tried out one class and found the instructor to be patronising and unhelpful. Whilst I was doing my best attempt at a plank the instructor came over to me and shouted, “THAT’S NOT A BLANK, YOUR BUM IS IN THE AIR”.

Rather than helping me to correct the position, the instructor went back to the front of the class. I felt this moment, brief as it was very off-putting and didn’t do anything to change my perception that some people look down at people like me who have no idea what the difference is between a plank and a push-up.

I’m trying not to let this put me off as I realise that there will be some professional personal trainers out there who go above and beyond to help their clients. I would not say that I’ve fully got over my gymphobia, but I have made some progress since the start of the year. It’s just a matter of baby steps and trying to establish a routine.

My top tips for helping to overcome gymphobia:

Get a mate to go with you

If you have a friend with you you will feel more at ease. Plus you have someone to chat with and spur you on!

Stop caring

What I mean by this is stop caring what other people think of you. Go to the gym with no makeup on, workout, get sweaty. Who cares? It’s the gym after all and everybody *should* be there for one reason: to get fit.

Set yourself a goal

You may have a summer holiday booked or a wedding to attend that you want to look your best for. Set yourself a goal – for example – what you want to have achieved by a certain date.

Do you have gymphobia like me? Have you got any tips for overcoming this? Let me know in the comments box below…

For more information on This Girl Can go to thisgirlcan.co.uk