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Workout Embarrassment

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Wonderful triathlon training workout!

 

I met up with Ryan and we did a sweet run/swim combination.  First up: the run!  I’ve been holding on my runs since the marathon because I injured a tendon on my foot.  In fact, I’ve only ran 3 times for a total of 6.5 miles in the last 2.5 weeks or so! 

 

Today I felt ready to do a ‘long’ run.  Ryan and I did 2.0 miles together, and then I ran another 1.5 solo.  My foot felt great the entire time!  I’ve missed running and have my eye on an upcoming Half Marathon, so it would be nice if I was totally back to normal.

 

  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Duration: 36 minutes

 

Then, I back up met Ryan in the pool and did my first official triathlon swim workout.  I’ll be posting my training plan next week, but here’s what today looked like:

 

  • Total: 1,000 meters non-stop.
  • Intervals: 300 meters at 50% effort; 300 at 75%, 100 at 85%, 300 at 50%.
  • Duration: 25 minutes

 

Sounds complicated, right?  Well, to remember what I was suppose to do, Ryan suggested that I put a print-out of my plan in a plastic bag and keep it by the side of the pool:

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Let me tell you – 1,000 meters of intervals were REALLY, REALLY challenging.  But I finished and I feel so great!  I am feeling more confident that I will be able to rock that swim in March!  The actual race distance is 1,500 meters. 

 

Post-workout lunch:

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Two organic blue corn tacos stuffed with kidney beans, cheese, and salsa.  Shot glasses are excellent for holding up tacos!

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With a baked sweet potato (with real buttah and cinnamon) on the side:

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And cherries for “dessert”:

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Don’t be Shy

 

Last night, I mentioned that I felt awkward in the weights room because I was surrounded by big, muscley men.  A lot of you remarked that you feel the same way! 

 

I’ve gotten so many e-mails from people who want to start running (or biking, swimming, doing yoga, whatever), but are too embarrassed to start.  They fear that people are looking at them and judging them.  Or they don’t like being a novice and not knowing what to do.

 

I totally understand the feeling of being shy.  But you know what? Everyone is a beginner at some point!  And yes – people might be staring at you when you’re in the weight room or on the treadmill or on the sidewalk.  But when I look at strangers who seem like they are trying something new, I am usually thinking, “Aww. They are trying to get healthy/do a new activity.  Good for them!” Or I am remembering with a smile what it felt like to begin running 3 years ago.  Or I’m not really looking at that person, I’m just staring into space. 

 

Point is, I think most people are not judgmental.  And if they are – WHO CARES? Your workouts are for YOU! That’s what I try to remind myself when I feel funny lifting weights.

 

Repeat after me:

 

  • Everyone starts somewhere.
  • I will embrace being a novice and discovering new skills for the first time.
  • Everyone is too wrapped up in their own stuff to care about mine.
  • Just because someone is looking at me, it doesn’t mean they are thinking anything negative.
  • I am a bad-ass for lifting weights, running, doing yoga… whatever!
  • The miracle isn’t that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to START!  (My favorite running quote from John Bingham).

 

Do you ever feel shy about working out?  How do you get past it?

{ 149 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run January 27, 2010, 1:06 pm

    This is perfect timing for my first yoga class tonight. I was getting worried about being the new person and having no idea what was going on. You are totally right though, that I am there for myself and no one else!

    Congrats on the successful run and swim today!

    Reply
    • Andrea January 27, 2010, 1:21 pm

      Megan:
      I think you will learn, especially in a yoga class, that everyone is so nice and laid back! You will love it!

      Reply
      • Jessica January 27, 2010, 1:33 pm

        I commend you…i want to start but I am totally scared.

        Reply
        • Jenny January 27, 2010, 3:23 pm

          I actually wrote about my first yoga class on my blog- I felt the SAME way, but I think you’ll find that people are so focused on their own experience, that they don’t pay attention to you. Also, Andrea is right- yogis are really laid back and very nice(at least, that’s been my experience)! Enjoy your class- yoga has been truly transforming for me.

          Reply
        • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run January 27, 2010, 4:11 pm

          thanks everyone!

          Reply
  • Juliene January 27, 2010, 1:08 pm

    That’s great advice, I definitely felt that way when I first started working out at the gym. Now I feel like I run the place, haha not really. One thing that helped me was to remember that even if these people are judging me how many of them are going to have the courageous to say something. They can look all the want, take a pic it lasts longer.

    Reply
  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) January 27, 2010, 1:12 pm

    The workout in a plastic bag is SUCH a great idea!! I used to just get the paper wet and hope to be able to read it :)

    I feel like walking confidently in the weight room and looking like I know exactly what I’m doing helps me. I just act as if I own the place. Guys move out of MY way. Muahahha.

    Reply
  • Freya @ foodfitnessandfreya.wordpress.com January 27, 2010, 1:13 pm

    What a great swim workout! Swimming always looks so easy, but when you keep going continuously it’s such a great workout :D
    And wowzer that sweet potato looks to die for!
    I get shy too if I’m at the gym, but I try not to make eye contact with too many people/think everyone is in the same position, we all look sweaty and gross, so they can’t judge! Plus I’m not judging them – I admire the sweaty folk cos they’re obviously working hard :)
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  • kate January 27, 2010, 1:15 pm

    im looking forward to see your training plan! i havent had cherries for a long time! i need to get some.

    Reply
  • Gretchen January 27, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I once mentioned to some friends that I always felt self-conscious about running outside because people would judge me for running too slowly or something. They pointed out that people can’t even judge you when you’re running outside because chances are, they will see you for such a short amount of time that they’ll have no idea what your workout is like. They don’t know if you’re warming up or cooling down or if you’ve just started or if you’ve just run ten miles. I’d never thought about it that way and it helped me a lot. I definitely prefer running outside now!

    Reply
  • megan January 27, 2010, 1:15 pm

    i always feel that way when i try something new at the gym. one thing that’s good too, is if you’re unsure at all, ask one of the trainers/people working there for help. If they show you the proper way to do something, you’ll be much more confident in the future. just knowing i’m doing something the “right” way gives me confidence

    Reply
    • Anna M January 28, 2010, 8:57 am

      Absolutely! I cannot tell you how many “muscle men” I see lifting WAY too much weight, so much that they can no longer properly perform the lift. I teach a weightlifting class at a university, and these 18-23 year old boys come in and think I , a small-ish 30 year old woman could not possibly teach them how to lift. Let me tell you, they ALL lift incorrectly, and are insecure about it when I have to correct them. The best thing to do is schedule a session with a trainer, or take a few strength training classes and ask the instructor to keep an eye on you and offer tips. When people see you lifting correctly, they may even ask you for help! Plus, proper technique is just good sense. It challenges the muscles you are intending to challenge, as well as protects from injury.

      Reply
  • Evan Thomas January 27, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Great post! I feel so comfortable on the treadmill in the gym, but anywhere else and it’s like another story. I would love to get used to trying new equipment/strength training while training for my half. I think it’s important to remember that gym friends are there to encourage and teach

    Reply
  • Heather (Heather's Dish) January 27, 2010, 1:16 pm

    i’ve never felt shy about working out unless it was with women…is that weird? i usually just listen to my ipod the whole time and only focus on my own form in the mirror. if you don’t pay attention to others, they’re likely not going to pay attention to you :)

    Reply
  • Kelly January 27, 2010, 1:17 pm

    You go girl!! You are rocking the swim workout. You will do great!
    I’ve never really felt out of place in the gym. I was pretty much raised in a gym so I feel better there than any restaurant or other social situation. I recently joined a kickboxing class through our park district and was a bit apprehensive about it. Then I got there and figured out I’m there for me and I don’t really care about why the other people are there or if they are looking at me or whatever. My dad always taught me, if they are talking about you they are leaving someone else alone. So you know what? Let them stare, talk or judge. I am there for me and I feel great!

    Reply
  • Emily January 27, 2010, 1:18 pm

    That advice came at JUST the right time! I’ve been routinely going to the gym as I am trying to get in shape and lose weight for a trip to Costa Rica (YAY), but I stick to the elliptical. I really want to begin running because it’s something I could do at home when I am without the luxury of my campus gym. I’ve just been too scared because everyone I’ve seen on the treadmills are speed demons and run for EVER and I can barely run for 3 minutes! Maybe next time I hit the gym I’ll have the courage to conquer my insecurities now. :) Thanks!!

    Reply
  • amanda@thegrainsofparadise January 27, 2010, 1:20 pm

    I’m too shy to go into the larger weight room at my local gym. When you live on a small island everyone knows each other ( or about each other ) and it can be a little bit like High School in there. I usually stick to the stationary weight machines near the aerobics room instead.
    I’m also not the best at distance swimming and I would like to get MUCH better. I surf/paddle all the time but free style swimming is a total different animal.
    Good for you though! You are very inspiring :-) Aloha

    Reply
  • Jessica@fitchickwannabe.com January 27, 2010, 1:20 pm

    Great post! I think you just made me feel better about trying new activities. I need to write those little mantras down and remember to repeat them to myself when I am about to try something new that I am shy or nervous about.

    Can’t wait to see your triathalon training plan!

    Reply
  • Emily GG January 27, 2010, 1:21 pm

    One thing that helped me was the instructors at my gym always ask at the beginning class if anyone is new. I was nervous at first to raise my hand, but then I realized I want people to know I am new, and that is why I might be struggling. It is also a great way to get pointers on something you are just starting to learn. You benefit from saying you are new.

    Reply
  • Hangry Pants January 27, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I am convinced those men don’t even see you; they are too busy staring at themselves.

    Reply
    • Naomi January 27, 2010, 5:10 pm

      Haha! Or possibly checking that you are looking at them :)

      Reply
  • Laura @ Strong and Steady January 27, 2010, 1:22 pm

    Haha – Love the use of shot glasses!

    I didn’t get comfortable in a weight room until I had a trainer show me the right way to do different exercises. Once I felt more confident with my “moves,” the awkwardness kind of dissipated, and I actually felt pretty awesome for working so hard! But I still feel strange waiting in line with sweaty, muscly strangers for a water fountain or a machine!

    Reply
  • Andrea January 27, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Great post! I feel like we’ve all felt this way about starting something new at some point.

    Reply
  • Katie January 27, 2010, 1:25 pm

    Thank you for the advice and great attitude. I immediately copied it to a word document and printed it out. I have pinned it up on my wall so I will remember to look at it.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 27, 2010, 1:27 pm

    THANK YOU for that! I definately feel out of place with weights and I need to keep that in mind. You are so so right too. I worry so much about what people think of when I shouldn’t… they probably don’t care about what i’m doing and if they do, ok then. If they are judgemental, that’s their problem – not mine.

    I felt shy when I started running in public.. it felt like everyone who drove past me or saw me was staring at me and I could just imagine all kinds of things they might be thinking (most of which are probably not true). But now, I just don’t care anymore. I don’t know if it’s that i love running and I won’t let thoughts of others stop me but I just don’t care what people think of me in that regard anymore. I love running, I do it for me, and i’m not going to let anything silly like that stop me :)

    Your tacos look fantastic and congrats on the great (and pain free!) run!!!

    Reply
  • sarah January 27, 2010, 1:32 pm

    Everyone looks ridiculous working out. Everyone! The muscleheads are groaning and schvitzing, the yoga people are putting their heads under their arms, everyone is making funny faces and wearing weird-looking clothes. And any time something legitimately embarrassing happens (falling off the treadmill?!) I try to find the people who saw me and laugh with them. We’re all in on the joke in the gym.

    Reply
  • Miriam January 27, 2010, 1:33 pm

    I am not shy in the gym because I’ve been going for quite some time now… (like over 7 years) BUT, I remember when I first started training, I wasn’t in shape and too SHY to go to the gym, so I’ve started training at home, my sister had a cheap eliptical machine that did the job along with some jupping rope. When I started to feel better about myself, I joinned the gym. And I am there since. I believe that you must start slow, at your own pace and follow your feelings vs joining a gym get discouraged because you will compare yourself with the people around you and feeling self conscious about your out of shape body… BUT everyone is not the same… but it worked for me! ALSO, about the guys staring : boys will be boys… just don’t care of them, they’ll get use to you!! :)

    Reply
    • Miriam January 27, 2010, 1:54 pm

      Something to add… People don’t care about the way you look : you are in a gym. For example, I am the most sweaty girl you know and my face looks a tomato when I am done with the cardio part… and I am dress less than sexy (big t-shirt over pant)… But it happened that guys flirted with me at this point… (yeah, it amazed me each time). See how people don’t care… ! Actually people judge when you seems to be there for the wrong reasons (get noticed (showing off), annoy people, ect!).

      Reply
  • kittay skeezah January 27, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Great advice! It’s hard to not feel intimidated in the gym. But, like you said, most of the time people are not even paying attention to you, much less judging you. Also, there’s always going to be someone who knows more than you, that’s just the way it is. I workout in the mornings and the weights section is always full of men, not very many women. So, yes I feel a little intimidated, but then I remember that I do know what I’m doing! I hope more women will get the courage to do an activity they fear. It’s so worth it!

    Reply
  • Tyler Ramey January 27, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I despise the weight room. Don’t get me wrong, I love weights and even teach weight classes…but trying to deal with the overly obnoxious and down right irresponsible (they leave their stuff everywhere) men just infuriates me! Ugh. This blog boy can complain about other boys, right?!?! :)

    Reply
  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 27, 2010, 1:40 pm

    I used to feel intimidated by the gym I went to, which was filled with meaty, beefy guys. But then I finally just got over it– they aren’t concerned with me– they’re much too busy watching themselves in the mirror! Seriously!

    Reply
  • Jessica @ How Sweet January 27, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Love this, and it is SO true about everything else, too. We all gotta start somewhere!

    Reply
  • Caitlin in MD January 27, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I just want to say – and I think someone else touched on this above – that I have always felt like most men at the gym are WAY too wrapped up in themselves to notice what other people are doing. At least at the gyms I’ve gone to! They totally love to check themselves out in the mirrors, stare at their muscles, etc. I’m not kidding. Its sooo funny.

    Reply
  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story January 27, 2010, 1:42 pm

    Shot glasses to hold up tacos? Genius. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for sharing that tip, it will come in handy in my future with my love for tacos!

    Also, I always want to swim after I read your entries about swimming. We have an indoor pool at our amenity center and I think I might just go for a swim after work!

    Reply
  • Lisa January 27, 2010, 1:42 pm

    1. Those tacos look great.

    2. I honestly think no one is paying attention to people in the gym. I never get that vibe—I know I don’t care what anyone else is doing. So, just go do your thing!

    Reply
  • Susan January 27, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I just joined a gym…and just posted about being nervous about lifting weights there! I’m convinced people will be starting at me like I’m an idiot who is doing things all wrong! It’s silly but true. As a veteran runner, I never look at other runners and think, “They’re doing that ALL WRONG.” I’m just excited that they’re out there! Must remind myself of this in the weight room. I’m going to try a body pump class as an intro to weights at the gym…I think it’s a more…supportive environment and the instructor will be there!

    Reply
  • Wendy January 27, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Great job on the swim!

    I used to feel shy about working out in the weight room, until I started on a 6-month weight program offered by my Y. It really helped build my confidence to have a trainer show me how to use all the machines & how to do the exercises. With several years of “experience” at the gym, I no longer feel shy about trying new things. The more you do it, the more confident you’ll feel.

    P.S. I LOVE that John Bingham quote!

    Reply
  • swimsutra January 27, 2010, 1:45 pm

    Crazy as it sounds–I was really intimidated when I started taking yoga classes. It seems silly now, but some yogis are realllly intense.

    Reply
  • Kristin January 27, 2010, 1:47 pm

    I wasn’t so much embarrassed in the weight room as I was just uncomfortable. I didn’t enjoy sweating next to a bunch of other people and having them grunting at me. So I set up a small home gym with dumbbells, barbell, etc. and I run outside and then do workout DVDs and weight training at home. Works much better for me personally. I dreaded the thought of going to the gym but now I actually look forward to my workouts.

    Reply
  • Janessa (epicuriousvegan.blogspot.com) January 27, 2010, 1:49 pm

    What a great message! It’s true that in can seem intimidating, but a lot of the time, either people are looking at you because they don’t know what to do and are seeking guidance–and assume you know what you’re doing–or like Caitlin said, are thinking positive thoughts about you or just staring into space.
    It’s kind of fun to embrace the trying–you get to look as silly as you want, and no one’s gonna judge!

    Reply
  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 27, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Great tips, Caitlin!

    The only time I feel shy/awkward is in dancy group classes. Like step or zumba, haha

    Reply
    • Laura January 27, 2010, 8:06 pm

      Hahaha yes me too! Soooo uncoordinated…

      Reply
  • jessicaamc January 27, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Oh man I have felt that exact same way! I’ve had a gym pass for almost 2 yrs and I’ve gone to many classes but only used the (cardio) machines once and have never used the weights! That all changed this past Saturday when I met up with a friend and her ‘personal trainer’ friend who showed us a quick and easy full body, full gym circuit.

    At first I was a bit nervous, I didn’t want to look stupid or get in anybody’s way. But as I looked around I realized that although there were the typical muscly men&women in the weight area, there were people of all shapes, sizes, fitness abilities etc there too!! After 1 round of the circuit I was sold, I could do this on my own and not be embarassed!!

    Reply
  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) January 27, 2010, 1:53 pm

    I definitely get a little embarrassed when it seems like everyone else knows what they are doing and I don’t. Like today I was on the elliptical, feeling great, and there was a bootcamp class going on right behind me. Even though my workout was great, I still felt like someone might be judging. :/

    Reply
  • The Linz January 27, 2010, 1:53 pm

    AMEN Sister! I love your repeat after me part. It’s so true, everyone has to start somewhere. And it’s great to just get out there and do it. The funny thing is most people aren’t paying attention to you anyways. And you shouldn’t waste your energy on worrying about what other people think. Save your energy for your awesome workout! :)

    Reply
  • Holmgirl January 27, 2010, 1:54 pm

    A few years ago when I started working out regularly, I was so embarrassed to be there that I couldn’t work out in my building’s gym if someone else was in there. Then one day I decided to see what it was like if I stayed on the elliptical when someone else came in. And you know what? It was completely anti-climactic. The guy cared more about what TV station was on than what I was doing. I got over my embarrassment really quickly after that.

    I kept this in mind when I started running. Sure, better runners passed me all the time, and anyone driving by could see me huffing and puffing away, but I sucked it up and dealt with the embarrassment. It paid off when I went for a run early one awful cold and rainy morning. The only other person out was this clearly experienced, old school runner. When he passed by, he wished us an incredibly cheerful good morning. I felt like such a stud!

    So the next time you feel embarrassed to be taking on something new, remember this: If you keep it up, YOU become the badass.

    Reply
  • Super G January 27, 2010, 1:55 pm

    I remember the first time I got on the treadmill. Everyone around me was running and I was walking… Recently, I decided to become a runner and I’m doing the “run/walk” method. Unfortunately, my shoestrings get loose and I’m forced to stop and lace them. (Feel free to laugh now!) I get so embarrassed and shameful…So now I’m a little scared to just run, I rather just powerwalk… Please help…

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 27, 2010, 1:56 pm

      Aww! My shoelaces always come loose, too. I double knot them :) It’s OK to stop on the treadmill, breathe, get off, get water, walk, whatever. I think all the comments before yours proves that other people feel nervous, too, but there is no reason to be scurred!! :) Do the best you can do.

      Reply
  • Katie L. January 27, 2010, 1:56 pm

    I really like that! Thanks Caitlyn! This is perfect for my sister. I’ve been trying to get her to come out with me to work out, but she’s always afraid of people watching her. Those are great “words of wisdom” to tell my sister next time. :)

    Reply
  • BroccoliHut January 27, 2010, 1:58 pm

    To be honest, I’ve only set foot in the weight room of my gym about 3 times…over the course of 4 years! I get so intimidated, especially because I have kinda “toothpick” arms–I fear that people are evaluating me as I work out.

    Reply
  • Virginia January 27, 2010, 2:01 pm

    Caitlin, I love that you brought up the topic of workout embarrassment! At a yoga class recently, the instructor was trying to tell us not to worry what we looked like in a certain pose. The instructor, who had recently shaved her head, said, “I tell myself it’s none of my business what other people think about me.” It made everyone in the room chuckle, and it helped me focus on what *was* my business – getting fit and doing good things for myself and my body!

    Reply
  • Karla January 27, 2010, 2:01 pm

    LOVE THIS POST! So true! No one cares!

    Reply
  • Kayla@Wholesome January 27, 2010, 2:04 pm

    Caitlin- Holy crap girl. This blog is the most inspiring, uplifting, and encouraging blog I read. I look forward to each post…keep up the amazing work!

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 27, 2010, 2:06 pm

      thank you :)

      Reply
  • Krista January 27, 2010, 2:07 pm

    Way to go with the swimming! I love swimming but it is definitely a tough workout, especially when you are really pushing yourself. I totally agree with your post about workout embarrassment. I go to a small gym and can sometimes be the only female in the weight room… I’m definitely self conscious about using the weights around the big guys, but once I just make myself GET OVER IT I always have a great workout! Great post!

    Reply
  • Joey January 27, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I LOVE this post! Thanks for the encouragement for us beginners… We need it! :)

    Reply
  • Jessica January 27, 2010, 2:14 pm

    This is such a great post as so many people can relate! I am SUPER self conscious and shy, so imagine my fear when I walk into the gym. I started to think about the fact that when I am working out I am too busy to notice other people, so what makes me think they aren’t the same way? I put on my headphones, crank up the music and drift into my own little world!

    Reply
  • susan (stepping off the coaster) January 27, 2010, 2:17 pm

    this is a great post!! actually just what i needed today, as i was feeling down about not posting as big of a weight loss this week as i wanted and feeling mad and embarassed about letting myself even get to this point, etc.

    i have to STOP… and remember that this is a JOURNEY that i should be proud of even having the courage to start!! proud that i did lose some weight! and that no one is judging me as much as i’m judging myself!

    Reply
  • Fallon January 27, 2010, 2:19 pm

    4 years ago when I was over weight that was my fear, that I would look silly in the gym. I didn’t know how to really use any of the equipment except for the cardio machines. So I stuck to that. Eventually I asked my parents for my 19th birthday if they’d be willing to get me a personal trainer at the gym so I can learn how to use the equipment, learn proper nutrition and start to get healthy. In the end it was the best thing they could of gotten me. I’m not longer shy or embarrassed to be at the gym. I don’t care HOW much I sweat because at the end I know I had a good workout. Now I have people that come up to me to tell me what a great job I’ve been going or people ask me for advice. I love it. We all go through those feelings but you know what, sometimes you just gotta kick yourself a few times to get moving and really not care what other people thing! It all about you at the end of the day, isn’t it?

    Reply
  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner January 27, 2010, 2:28 pm

    I love this post! I used to be “scared” to try yoga because I can’t touch my toes…but now it is one of my favorite things to do! I just do it for myself and ignore all the pretzels around me :-)

    Reply
    • Laura January 27, 2010, 8:08 pm

      One of the best things about yoga is that, with time, you totally will be able to touch your toes! You will be a pretzel!! (But only if you want to be :))

      Reply
  • Meredith January 27, 2010, 2:30 pm

    You can also take your printed/written workouts, splash some water on a kick board, and press the paper onto the water, which seals/sticks it there. It won’t destroy the paper (unless you douse it and tear at it) and saves you the hassle of a plastic bag.

    Reply
  • Tina January 27, 2010, 2:31 pm

    I agree that a lot of times people aren’t really paying that much attention. We are all naturally self-centered (that’s just part of being human), so to think other people are focusing that much on us is silly. And we do all have to start somewhere.

    I’ve recently been battling embarrassment at the gym because I worry people at my gym think I have “let myself go”. I trained for a figure competition and you have to get to an unhealthy weight for them. Fortunately, you don’t maintain that level of leanness and while I understand how my body changed after the show was for the better and healthier, I still feel like I look huge to the gym goers who were used to seeing me so so super lean and ripped. Add onto that the fact I had to gain an extra 10 lbs to be at a weight my body allows me to get pregnant, and the fact no one in my real life knows that we’re trying and its part of why I’m bigger, I just feel judged and like people wonder why I’m not how I was when training. Then, I remind myself people aren’t thinking about me that much. They have their own concerns. And who cares if they are…because if they are, they need to get a life. Lol. So I’ve moved on, feel better and stronger, and know that what I’m doing makes me happy and that is all that matters.

    Great post!!! Sorry for rambling…

    Reply
  • Grace January 27, 2010, 2:31 pm

    I actually a very shy and self-conscious person on the whole, but I’ve always had the attitude that working out and fintess is for ME. I will probably never see or interact with most of the people at the gym for very long, but my body is going to be stuck with me forever!

    ==

    Off-topic a bit, given that you love Lady Gaga so much, when I saw this in my RSS feeds, I had to share it with you: http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2010/01/lady_gaga_wardrobe_cookies.html

    Reply
  • Cassie January 27, 2010, 2:32 pm

    I LOVE this post. I always used to feel that way about running outside, and always chose the treadmill instead. Lately when I run outside, I realize that I am so focused on my workout/music/not tripping over the sidewalk (it’s happened!)that I dont even notice the other runners. And if I do – i always think something positive like “damn right, you go girl.” The same can be said for seeing runners while I am walking or driving – it’s impressive that you’re getting out there for your health, and I even feel a twinge of jealousy for not being able to get out there and run too. Don’t let your self-consciousness stop you from taking care of yourself! Trust me from experience :)

    Reply
  • Morgan January 27, 2010, 2:33 pm

    Great job on the swim!
    The other day you had mentioned that you were going to float on your back in the triathlon when you need a break. Maybe ask Ryan how to streamline float on your back. You’ll be efficient and kicking will keep you moving, and keep you warm!

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 27, 2010, 2:35 pm

      I will! Thanks for the tip :)

      Reply
  • PippaPatchwork January 27, 2010, 2:35 pm

    I have to admit, the first time I swam I was pretty nervous. I announced to the girl I was sharing a lane with that I’d never done this before. Now I’m 90% confident–but lately I’ve been wanting to try the butterfly stroke and I just don’t have the guts to do that one in public yet. I feel like it could look really ridiculous if I get it wrong!

    Reply
  • Amanda January 27, 2010, 2:36 pm

    I felt embarassed when I first started working out at 235 lbs. I always felt like people were judging me. Then I realized that I’d rather be judged about working out and being fat than sitting on the couch eating potato chips.
    I realize now that no one was paying any attention to me. I’m glad I stuck with it :)

    Reply
  • Heather (The Single Dish) January 27, 2010, 2:38 pm

    I just pretend I know what I am doing and tell myself that no one is watching me or judging me!!

    Reply
  • Stephanie January 27, 2010, 2:39 pm

    Truthfully? I used to be shy but now I love the feeling of walking right into the weight area, grabbing some weights and getting down to business. Best part? Sometimes I lift as much or more than the guys.

    Reply
  • LindsayRuns January 27, 2010, 2:41 pm

    When I was running slow at the end of a 15 mile run and someone would blow past me, I wanted to shout after them: “This is mile 15!” Or when I’m in the gym that is attached to an infantry battalion (read: chock full of young Marines who do the epitome of boy things all day long and are not in contact with many women. read further: many many eyes on your ass as you do donkey kicks) I get nervous and don’t want to do my plan. Or if I’m swimming laps and I’m struggling more than I think I should, I feel I should “explain” to the lifeguard why my stroke isn’t olympic level.

    But the workout is what I want and need, who cares if they are looking. And they probably aren’t anyways. It just feels like it because you are thinking about yourself. Guess what? So is everyone else.

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 27, 2010, 2:50 pm

      I have a really good idea for a t-shirt! I want to design a tech t that has two spots for removable numbers on the front and then the words “TODAY I AM RUNNING XX MILES” so you can put in the numbers on your shirt. that way, everyone knows how far i went. LOL. I’m totally serious.

      Reply
      • Julie January 27, 2010, 3:36 pm

        Caitlin! Now someone just stole your idea! Go copyright that ASAP!

        Reply
      • Laura January 27, 2010, 8:11 pm

        Ooh ooh with two sets of velcro 0-9′s! Fabulous.

        Reply
  • Sara @ ActiveGal January 27, 2010, 2:42 pm

    I know that feeling all too well! I have been nervous about doing free weights for so long because I feel like everyone is staring at me in the “body building” part of the gym. I am actually right now trying to break through that fear!

    Reply
  • Carol January 27, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Love the post! Good timing because I’m totally nervous about going my first Body Balance class tomorrow at the gym! Keep thinking about how the walls are partly glass and people can see in lol. But I’m still going to go for it because I know as soon as I’m there I will be ok and will be pleased I did it.

    Reply
  • ashleigh January 27, 2010, 2:53 pm

    I love this post! I commented last night that I do feel uncomfortable sometimes around all the boys doing weights but honestly I am just thinking about MYSELF the whole entire time. I am not paying attention to anyone else and I never am which means that no one is reallly thinking about me!! We are all too wrapped up in ourselves…thanks for pointing that out!

    Reply
  • Christina January 27, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Yay, I can’t wait to see your triathlon training plan. I’ve been planning on signing up for one for like a year now but the swimming part always scares me. This year I’m just gonna go for it!

    Reply
  • Lauren January 27, 2010, 3:06 pm

    OMG, When I first started a kick-boxing class at my school all my friends said I was a huuuuge spaz but I can’t remember taking any other class that was just THAT much fun (and empowering) so I realized that I didn’t care what I looked like doing it and I think that little hurtle has helped me try new things like “Couch Potato to 5K” and in the near future I want to try the new craze ZUMBA ;-)

    Reply
  • Jenna January 27, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Yess I was once SO intimidated by men at the gym especially at my gym at college!
    Bit as a freshman last year I decides enough was enough and if I wanted to work out then I was going to!!! I didn’t care if there were all guys in the gym pumping iron, I was gonna do! Even though I wasn’t lifting as nearly as much as them I didn’t care! I just walked into the gym confident with my head held high! And that is how o conquered it :)
    Jenna

    Reply
  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self January 27, 2010, 3:12 pm

    You’re absolutely right that everyone has to start somewhere. Also, it’s important to remember why you’re working out in the first place – you’re doing it for YOU and YOUR health, not for ANYONE ELSE! :)

    Reply
  • Maura @ Maura Me to Love January 27, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I have a very fat gift certificate to a swanky Santa Monica yoga studio…that I got 3 years ago. I have yet to use it because of my fear of looking like an ass. Perhaps time to change that fear into a goal of looking like a “bad-ass” instead :)

    Reply
  • D January 27, 2010, 3:16 pm

    I tell myself…

    1. They are probably feeling self conscious too, it’s natural. Why would I be the only person on earth feeling this way?
    2. Can I remember what anyone else was doing in the gym yesterday? Probably not. Therefore, even if someone does look at me/wonder what the hell I’m doing, they’ll have totally forgotten it by tomorrow
    3. Maybe I am a slower runner, etc than the person next to me, but that’s just the way of life. I’ll always be better at something, and worse at something – we all have strengths and weaknesses
    4. Every single person has a “first day” at a new class. Even the instructor had to learn the moves at some point. And no one has to know it’s my first day
    5. Um, Self. Get over it. No one really cares!

    Reply
  • Deirdre January 27, 2010, 3:16 pm

    You always ask the best questions! Last year when I joined my gym for the first time it was the first time I had worked out since college and I was SO nervous. I was overweight and I was convinced everyone was gonna see how out of shape I was. I went to the gym any way and the more I was there the more I realized that the gym is like so many other places in New York. People are too busy paying attention to themselves to notice what you are doing. It made me feel so good.

    Reply
  • Jen January 27, 2010, 3:20 pm

    Caitlin – How do you cook your Sw. Pot? Nuke them or in the oven? Wrap them in foil if you use the oven?? I’m trying to figure out the best way…

    Also – everyone should keep in mind that all the other people in the gym feel intimidated at some point also. I’ve been a gym rat for 15 years now but when I do something new, I get nervous. It’s good to do something that scares you. It helps you grow!

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 27, 2010, 3:23 pm

      wash, stab with fork, wrap in a wet paper towel, and micro for 6 minutes. ta da!

      Reply
  • Liz January 27, 2010, 3:20 pm

    I work out at my gym after work, and the weight area is always crowded with a bunch of guys. It can be intimidating, but my advice is to just put head phones in and no one bothers you. You probably know just as much (if not more) about weight lifting as most of the guys there.

    Reply
  • Samantha January 27, 2010, 3:23 pm

    I have and still do feel intimidated in the gym sometimes, mainly because of my weight. I haven’t made much progress in the weight loss department lately, but I am trying my hardest. I am pretty comfortable now, but there will always be those awkward moments and feelings. At least you are working out!!

    Reply
  • Julie January 27, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Sometimes I’m intimidated in the weight room, but I get over it because I figure no one is watching me, they’re doing their own thing!

    Reply
  • Chloe @ Project Live Well January 27, 2010, 3:37 pm

    This is a great post – I only recently did my first Body Pump and Spinning classes and yes, I felt very shy and embarrassed at being the only newbie in each class. I even messed up a couple times and probably looked like a bit of a dork!! BUT everybody was really nice and I’m glad I pushed myself to do something new. However nervous I was I would never let that kind of anxiety stop me from pursuing my health goals.

    Chloe

    Reply
  • Matt January 27, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Great post! This actually hit home for me. I work in a weight room (I am actually working right now) and I am surrounded by huge men. If you have seen my pictures on my blog, I am pretty tiny. I like to lift weights after work, but sometimes I get self conscious. It took me awhile to realize that no one really cares, and if they do, so what? I have just as much right to workout as they do.

    Reply
  • Danielle January 27, 2010, 4:01 pm

    Oh my gosh Caitlin! I am so guilty of this! I feel embarrassed everywhere outside of the yoga studio– the gym, the weight room, the pool, the sidewalk, etc.–and it is something that is desperately limiting my fitness routine. I was even petrified to race, although I’ve found that with that the levels of overwhelming support and excitement eliminated my fears. Thank you for this post dear :)

    Reply
  • Anne @ the doctor takes a wife January 27, 2010, 4:30 pm

    The weights at my gym face all the cardio machines, so every time I go to try and learn to use them everyone is STARING at me. I finally recruited my friend to show me how to use them properly tonight so that I can not be so self conscious!!

    I would LOVE to start swimming, but still don’t feel confident enough to bare it in a suit :-/

    Reply
  • Kendel January 27, 2010, 4:48 pm

    Way to go on your killer workout! It sounds like you’re in good shape for the long haul! I loved your advice on gaining confidence to “start” your life without embarrassment or shame. Thanks for putting it all so eloquently!

    Reply
  • Cyclist Kate January 27, 2010, 4:52 pm

    I just realized that if anybody was negatively judging me for doing something that’s good for me, that’s THEIR problem! I love the quote that any judgment you make is really a judgment of yourself…I take this to mean that if somebody is making a mean judgment of me when I’m doing something new, that judgment has nothing to do with me and everything to do with that person’s insecurity or unhappiness (they’re probably secretly jealous that they’re not as brave as me!). This has helped me have compassion for people who are judgmental and mean, and it’s also given me a push to be more brave about doing new things, just to show people that it can be done and doesn’t have to be so scary.

    It’s always a little nerve-wracking to start something new…yoga, reformer pilates, running, rock climbing, swimming class, water aerobics for athletes class, riding a century…there’s always the fear that everybody’s going to see that you’re a novice. But you know what? Have fun, throw yourself into it, and before you know it you’ll be the one guiding the newbies.

    Reply
  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) January 27, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Congrats on the workout – I completely agree that swim intervals are HARD! But oh so good training wise :)

    Reply
  • Kate K January 27, 2010, 5:10 pm

    I was so afraid of going to the gym for the first time. I would go at “off” times like early in the morning, actually I still do that! It takes the worry out of making sure that I get to use the equipment that I want without a ton of people around. I was the same way when I started running…I was worried of what people would think when they saw me running or “attempting” to run when I first started. At first I would run on roads that I knew not too many people drove on but pretty soon my confidence grew and now I don’t even think twice about hitting the main roads (so long as there is not too much car exhaust!)

    Reply
  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad January 27, 2010, 5:19 pm

    I do feel a tad bit self conscious when I’m in the free weight area. But I just try to remind myself that my workout is really not that interesting. I don’t watch other people work out. Why would I think others are going to watch me and think I look silly?

    Reply
  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness January 27, 2010, 5:21 pm

    I actually don’t feel too bad in the gym– for some reason, I feel comfortable doing my little routine, even if I’m surrounded by guys who are bench pressing my body weight! I do feel a little out of sorts in a yoga class if I don’t really know what I’m doing. But the thing that has helped me the most is to remember that most people are too busy thinking about themselves to think too much about others. REALLY! That girl that is skinnier and faster than you– she probably isn’t thinking “wow, look at that slower girl over on the treadmill.” Nope! Instead she’s thinking about her kickass workout, or her not-so-kick-ass-workout. The only exception is oogling guys, but there’s not much you can do about that.
    A few weeks ago, one of the trainers in the gym actually stopped me in front of a bunch of people and told me I was doing my exercise (deadlift) wrong. Some people would have been embarrassed, but I was just happy that he took the time to show me a better way to do it. And truthfully, I doubt anyone was thinking “Wow, look at that girl- she can’t do the deadlift right… haha.” No one is perfect at the gym- not even that muscular, sexy, twenty something that you always admire. So I always tell myself to just worry about myself, like most of the other people at the gym are doing! And it works! :)

    Reply
  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write January 27, 2010, 5:22 pm

    I used to weigh 343 pounds and that was a major obstacle for me, feeling like everyone stared at me the moment I walked into a gym.

    What finally changed was realizing, WHO CARES?! You’re completely right, Caitlin. Working out is about you, and if they think crappy thoughts they are probably just crappy people that you wouldn’t want to know anyway. :p

    Reply
  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness January 27, 2010, 5:23 pm

    PS- GREAT POST and great comment conversation, because a lot of people DO have fears about going to the gym or trying something new. No one wants to look or feel silly & I think this post gives them the motivation to just TRY it!

    Reply
  • amy January 27, 2010, 5:30 pm

    I just traipse around the weight room without a care in the world, and my gym is full of meatheads. I’ve just accepted the fact that the meatheads are going to give me a look or two — I’m often the only female in the weights area. No biggie. And often, guys are more than willing to get out of my way. They are so impressed to see a girl in their territory. And, they try extra hard to play nice with the few females in the weights area. Just walk in there like you belong, and then, you belong!

    Reply
  • Penny January 27, 2010, 5:32 pm

    Really great post and great advice.

    Reply
  • Cynthia (It All Changes) January 27, 2010, 5:37 pm

    I used to be so embarassed to run outside because I’m slow. But as I got faster (but not fast) I got more confidence.

    And I always get embarassed at the weights because I have a list my trainer gave me to do on my own that I carry around and I’m not particularly strong.

    Reply
  • Allison K January 27, 2010, 5:37 pm

    I get scared in group situations when I don’t know anyone else, but knowing this about myself..I force myself to do things like take a new fitness class at my gym. Although I’m still to chicken to try spinning!

    Reply
  • liane January 27, 2010, 5:44 pm

    I really liked your points for repetition. I’m going to print them off and post them on my fridge.
    I am always so nervous to start something new or to return to an activity I haven’t done in a while (like weight training) so repeating those phrases will really help!

    And, I am now craving tacos. Or maybe just chips and salsa ;)

    Reply
  • Amy @ Second City Randomness January 27, 2010, 5:45 pm

    When I see someone who is obviously starting out- I definitely giggle to myself. Not because of them (I try to keep the smile to myself because I don’t want to offend anyone)- more because I know exactly what I looked like when I started exploring the weight machines or trying to perfect free weights/abs/yoga pose/whatever. It’s always a learning experience!

    Reply
  • Kerry (Running on Faith) January 27, 2010, 6:08 pm

    When I went to my first yoga and pilates class, I had the SAME fear!! but then I realized that no one knows whether it is my first time or not so all I have to do is “pretend” that I know what I am doing for the first time. Then after that, the mentality started to fade away since I already had been to a class. Easier said than done, because I want to go to a kickboxing class and I need to muster up that courage to go for the first time!! I’ll take my own advice (and yours) and pretend that I’ve been there before!!

    Reply
  • Lisa January 27, 2010, 6:12 pm

    I love your advice on just getting out there and trying a new class or routine. I feel the same way – you’re working out to be healthy. I think it’s fantastic when someone is trying a new class, coming to the gym for the first time, or if another girl is in the weight room with me! It’s encouraging to see others adopting a healthy lifestyle! The important thing is that you’re doing it for YOU (and maybe your kids and/or other loved ones).

    Reply
  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 27, 2010, 6:14 pm

    Nope – I never feel shy about working out. I doubt anyone is paying attention to me!

    Reply
  • Kloé January 27, 2010, 6:53 pm

    That’s so true. Every time I see someone running I’m like “Good for you!” and yes I say it out loud in the car. And yes, my boyfriend laughs at me every time. But I still do it :-)Best of luck on your triathlon, I want to do one so bad… I’m learning how to swim, and it’s getting there!

    - Kloé

    Reply
  • Angela (Oh She Glows) January 27, 2010, 6:55 pm

    I LOVE how you approach new exercise challenges. That is seriously one thing I love about you (there are many, haha). Anywho, it took me a while but I finally was able to read that shot glass upside down and I Laughed out loud (aka LOL’d)…hopefully after my visit you will have me saying that about domestics and imports too ;)

    Reply
  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health January 27, 2010, 7:04 pm

    I am *so* glad you made this post – I needed it!! I’m currently trying to start running. My goal is 3 miles, but I’m still only at 1/2 mile :/ I’ve been avoiding running at the gym, though, because I’m too embarrassed that people will think it’s dumb that I’m only running for a few minutes. Wow, I’m embarrassed to even admit that! But you’re exactly right. NO ONE CARES. And if they do….who cares about them!! Your list of “repeat after me’s” was so encouraging =) Thanks, C!

    Reply
  • Jessica January 27, 2010, 7:05 pm

    Ahh those tacos look amazing. And that sweet potato!!!!! So jealous.
    But I totally agree with you–ya just gotta do your thing and not care what other people think!! I’m always the dork lifting her 5, 10 (?) pounders……and i sware no one even looks over/judges me/even notices it!!

    Reply
  • AM January 27, 2010, 7:08 pm

    I take streetfighting. I am the only female in the class. The first day, it took so much for me to show up (no idea what to expect). It was, for lack of a better word, the awesomest decision i ever made. And the most bad ass. I’m still the only girl. But i don’t fight like one.

    Reply
  • michelle January 27, 2010, 7:28 pm

    perfect timing for this post! because of my new school schedule, i have to run in the evening instead of early in the morning which means the streets are a lot more crowded with people (eek!). i have been so self-concious that i have skipped many of my runs lately. your post definitely helps my fears…i’ve been a runner way too long to let this affect me!! thanks caitlin!

    Reply
  • Sara @ OurPrivateKitchen January 27, 2010, 7:50 pm

    Loved your posts about the gym. We do all have to start out somewhere. If I see someone really busting their tail lifting weights or running on the treadmill (and I can tell they aren’t all that comfortable yet) I always like to go up and tell them “great job; you are doing awesome!”. The smile that lights up their face always makes me feel good and encourages me to get out and try something new, outside of my comfort zone.

    Reply
  • amanda January 27, 2010, 8:00 pm

    Honestly, I had one of those everyones looking at me days today. Hot Yoga for the first time in over a month and was next to a woman who advance posed every option as my arms could barely hold me in side plank! I get over it by thinking: she started here once, and if I want to get there I need to pay attention to ME and get through this! Good luck with the swimming :)

    Reply
  • Jessie January 27, 2010, 8:01 pm

    Wow, just 6.5 miles in 2.5 weeks! I hurt my hamstring and am going stir crazy not being able to go on the ET =(. What would you recommend doing to pass the time and move since I cant do that? I am not part of a gym sadly.

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 27, 2010, 8:08 pm

      Aww. Maybe you should ask your doctor? Upper body strength training or rowing?

      Reply
    • Laura January 27, 2010, 9:10 pm

      How about taking fitness walks? Does walking hurt your hamstring?

      Reply
      • Jessie January 27, 2010, 9:29 pm

        I have actually been on a few walks, thank you for the suggestion. I went on a hike a week or so ago as well and after that it hurt worse, so I think I am stuck with just walks =( which really sucks because I am a very active person and walks dont really do anything for me. I have done upper body STing as well but am trying to gain weight so want to focus more on lower body and my arms are already “buff” looking.

        Reply
        • caitlin January 27, 2010, 10:03 pm

          honestly, everyone gets injured at one point or another. my philosophy is that if you’re to lead a long, active life, you’ll just have to learn to deal with injuries the best way you can. the first time i was injured (my knees) i was a total emotional wreck. then i realized that 1) it’s OK to do “lesser” workouts for a while 2) the break much be a blessing in disguise! since my foots been screwed up this time around, i haven’t been totally gutted because i realize it’s not that big of a deal. i hope you heal up really fast and enjoy the time to relax :) you’ll come back stronger and more ready than ever before!

          Reply
  • Amber K January 27, 2010, 8:03 pm

    That is some fantastic advice. I know when I first joined a gym I refused to take off my hoodie while I worked out. Even though I was sweating and incredibly hot, I just couldn’t do it! The more I worked out the more comfortable I got (I’m sure the pounds slipping away helped). I just had to jump in there and do it!

    Reply
  • Jenna @ EatingGreen, StayingLean January 27, 2010, 8:07 pm

    Great post! Almost everyone I know says they don’t do weights because they are apprehensive about standing next to all of the other men by the free weights. What I do in that situation is remind myself how badass that one woman does look standing next to all the other men when I watch from the row of ellipticals! Thennn, once you’re down there you can just think about how much everyone else envies the fact that you actually did it.

    As for John Bingham, I LOVE him and bought both of his running and marathon training books :)

    Reply
  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers January 27, 2010, 8:08 pm

    I feel awkward sometimes but I just tell myself what other people are thinking doesn’t affect the results my workout has on ME– I get sronger and more fit no matter what anyone else thinks while I’m doing it!

    Reply
  • caronae January 27, 2010, 8:29 pm

    Love your reflections at the end of this post, so true:)
    FYI, with typed up swim workouts, you can also dip them in the pool and then either stick them to the gutter or a kickboard propped up against the starting blocks. It sounds weird, but works perfectly fine. Try it!

    Reply
  • meg c. January 27, 2010, 8:36 pm

    I think people need to remember that everyone who’s working out is pretty focused on their own body and what they are doing. nobody cares about you when you’re working out! haha

    Reply
  • Kaisha January 27, 2010, 8:44 pm

    OMG,I am TERRIFIED of using the gym at my school b/c there are always lots of muscley guys lifting weights and stuff.
    Anywho, this post TOTALLY motivated me and I am getting off my butt and getting on the treadmill RIGHT NOW. 2nd time this week so far! Thanks for the encouragement Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Anna January 27, 2010, 9:10 pm

    It IS funny how gyms are so segregated, the cardio machines are all female and the weights are all men even though lifting weights is REALLY good for women (increase bone density, toning, etc etc) I have no problem navigating through the meat-head iron pumpers to lift….keep in mind ladies that if guys are staring at you it’s not because you look wimpy, but because they think you’re HOT! ;)

    Reply
  • Pam January 27, 2010, 9:22 pm

    My own philosophy, Nike says it best: Just Do It! :)To elaborate, Susan Jeffers said, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Nobody ever said it had to be easy or feel easy!

    Reply
  • Rachel January 27, 2010, 9:24 pm

    Mmm, tacos! I think most people who aren’t very physically active are, in part, afraid of what other people will think. Even people who ARE physically active can get that shy bug. I guess getting out there & doing it depends on just how much you WANT to be active.

    Reply
  • Sara January 27, 2010, 10:59 pm

    I was just telling someone about how I’m such a slow runner, even after running for a few years. And then I added that I wasn’t looking for sympathy or anything like that, it’s just the truth: I’m slow. But I do it. And that’s what matters the most to me!

    Oh, and I gave you a shout out on my site; I mentioned winning The Spark! Thanks! http://www.howeverabsurd.com/2010/01/25/team-conan-random-thoughts-and-a-birthday-wish/

    Reply
  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) January 27, 2010, 11:22 pm

    That’s such a great quote! Good post-so true!! :)

    Reply
  • danielle January 27, 2010, 11:40 pm

    I love this question and everyone’s comments because I always worry about what fellow gymgoers are thinking of me. I just think, worst case scenario, a handful of people are laughing at my inferior running or lifting or biking skills for maybe an hour a day. (and really, what are the odds of that?) But that’s still worth it if it means that the “me” that everyone else sees (and that I see in the mirror!) the other 15 or so hours of the day is a fit, healthy one!

    Reply
  • Bridgette January 27, 2010, 11:40 pm

    9 times out of ten I am the only woman in the weight training area with the guys. I used to feel self conscious like I shouldn’t be there but I think that I have every right since we all pay the same dues and I just as much right to be there even if I am the only woman most of the time. After awhile I just went in and did my thing and move on. I must say while I no longer feel uncomfortable and the guys have been really great. I really felt like I truly belong the day that one of the guys asked me to spot him. I was like me and he said yes. I felt that I was respected and accepted as one of them just trying to get my muscle mass on…:) so people may look but if you are consistent and go in to get your workout on, they will respect and even ask you to spot them once in awhile.

    Reply
  • Lisa January 27, 2010, 11:59 pm

    I as so self-conscious about starting to run because I had to stop every 1 or 2 minutes (literally) and walk. But I told myself that I couldn’t expect myself to get better at it until I put my time in, so I just buckled down and tired to quiet my inner critical voice. I think having a strong, positive mindset of one’s own is the most important thing, not only to fight self-criticism but also to assure oneself that others are not in fact staring at you and laughing silently. Staying focused on doing your job is critical.

    Reply
    • caitlin January 28, 2010, 8:47 am

      Don’t be embarrassed to walk and run because EVERYONE starts off this way. Truly! :)

      Reply
  • Diana (Mymarblerye) January 28, 2010, 8:13 am

    I always feel judged when I lift my 8 lbs at the gym but hey at least I’m trying!

    Reply
  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion January 28, 2010, 10:26 am

    I tried my first rebound class last Friday, and it is very dancey (is that a word? I don’t think so). I am a little uncoordinated in the dance department and I felt a little awkward, like everyone else knew what they were doing. I was feeling really uncomfortable until the girl next to me, who had the routine down perfectly, said, “Isn’t this fun? Do you like it?” Clearly she knew I was new at it, but that reminded me I was there to have FUN, not feel weird. After all, I was on a freakin’ trampoline! I probably still looked awkward, but who cares!

    Reply
  • Retta @ RunRettaRun January 28, 2010, 11:06 am

    I think everyone goes through work out insecurities at first. And like you said, who cares? Easier said than done but I definitely had to just get over it and do it. Everyone is a newbie at some point :0).

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  • Katharine January 28, 2010, 11:30 am

    Lifting weights with mostly men took some getting used to but I figure I have the same right as anybody else, no matter my skill level! Plus, I’ve found it helps sometimes to motivate me and keep my form correct.

    Reply
  • Ashley @ Good Taste. Healthy Me January 28, 2010, 12:51 pm

    I used to feel embarrassed but now I totally don’t care. If I need to read the instructions on one of the weight machines I do. No sense in hurting myself trying to look experienced.

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  • Sarah January 28, 2010, 12:54 pm

    When I first started working out at the gym I used to go with my boyfriend all of the time. (I know some girls refuse to work out in front of their significant others, so going with any friend is helpful.) It actually gave me more confidence having him there, and he acted as my personal motivator. It was great too when we both wanted to try a new machine or exercise because then we could both figure it out together. Nowadays I go to the gym alone and I’m not self-concious one bit because I know what I’m doing. I think if you are a beginner then having a buddy systems definitely helps!

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