*** Disclaimer… I am not a clinically trained professional (although I did get a certification as a Certified Personal Trainer in 2005, but I let it lapse due to my disabilities) . Please make sure before starting any type of fitness or diet regimen (which I’m not trying to promote a diet regimen (although it’s your body and if you want to lose weight that’s your business, just give some ideas on supporting those who are looking to start working out a gym or start a fitness regimen), once that you’ve been cleared for exercise by your physician***
With the winter holidays behind us, and a new year, there is a lot of advertising and sales for both weight loss products and gym memberships. And a lot of people join gyms in hopes of getting fitter or feeling better, regarding whether or not they want to lose weight.
Given the nature of what I do in social media by co-existing in the both the weight loss surgery community as a long time peer for support as well as a size acceptance/fat acceptance advocate. I see fitness is a hot topic whether people join gyms in helps of losing weight, or for my size acceptance/fat acceptance peers who ALREADY work out, and have to deal with a lot of crap that people can’t believe either people can be fat and fit or that their motive for being in a gym is NOT to lose weight.
I normally hate the advertising that we get bombarded with around New Years to promote weight loss and fitness. I am not saying that if people want to have either losing weight or getting fit that they shouldn’t do that. It’s your body, your business and your life… I’ve seen and have stopped following some peeps on Facebook, those people who have a tendency to mock those who make fun of those who do join gyms around this time of year and then with a holier then thou attitude if they work out on a regular basis make fun of how busy a gym gets but only temporarily….
This is my “how to go guide’ from a psychological perspective, how to get yourself to a gym and/or workout/exercise in public, get what you want accomplished and this also will help those who fall in the holier then thou attitudes if they are gym rats to realize they should concentrate on their own workouts and not analyze or make assumptions about anyone else and what’s helpful and what is not.
For those who have joined a gym in hopes to get some exercise and whether you’re fat or thin . The hardest thing will be once you’ve joined, is of getting yourself there. Once you’ve done that, that’s half the battle. The other will be how to stay there or keep going if that’s what you want . If you are a seasoned “gym rat” this can help you not interfere in another’s right to be there and what you might be doing or saying that you have no right to. Just like everyone has the right to workout without judgments or assumptions made .
It could be helpful and if your gym offers this, an initial consultation with a personal trainer can be helpful on learning how to work the machines and weights for strength training and to help get ideas when doing workouts to safely help build cardio endurance. Please keep in mind, that chances are they are going to want to sell you personal training sessions but you don’t have to take them up on it. They still have an obligation to make sure you know how to safely work the equipment and to evaluate what your needs are in learning how to do that,as well as learn how to execute proper form and function and give you ideas depending on what your fitness goals are to help give pointers on different forms of exercise and how to evaluate yourself without putting yourself at unnecessary risk by giving you ideas on how to assess properly how effective what fitness regimen you choose to do that in the safest manner, possible after they’ve educated you on how to do that .
For those of you who are joining a gym to lose weight and or want to work with a personal trainer whether your are thin or fat …..
1. Take baby steps. It sounds cliché but your more likely to stick with a fitness routine but to do it safely, get rid of the all or nothing attitude when it comes to working out. One of the ways that a lot of personal trainers are able to sell their packages is that they have their clients do too much, too soon, because they figure that if a client is “rewarded” with a quick weight loss, they’ll be able to sell more sessions. That is not in your best interest of your health. Especially if you are a weight loss surgery patient. It may be exciting to see the numbers go down on the scale, quickly. But you’ll end up, especially if you’ve just had weight loss surgery and can’t eat very much of eating 500 calories a day but working out with the intention of expending 1,000 calories a day or more of hurting yourself. Eventually this will also metabolically come back to haunt you, that’s if you don’t black out in the middle of a work out. Doing too much too soon is not an insurance policy that you won’t become fat again, if that’s what you are afraid of….
2. You also may find when you start a regular fitness regimen and if it contains both strength training and cardio, that you actually gain weight on a scale. If you are adequately fueling your body and hopefully able to get in adequate amounts of protein and liquids, you’ll be building lean muscle mass. This is where you cannot go by the scale. Go by how your clothes fit you. How you feel energy wise. But I cannot stress how important it is to properly fuel your body. Your intention of losing weight, will harm you in the end, if you are early on in your weight loss surgery “journey” or if you haven’t had weight loss surgery but drastically cut calories and exercise too much, on very little calories….
If you are fat and just staring to work out at a gym to improve your fitness levels or that you’ve been working out for a long time …
1. You have every right to be there, just as anyone else does. You will find out though that some people whether you are new to working out, or if you already extremely physically fit, that you will NEVER be able to get people to understand that some people go to the gym because either it’s good for them, or that you aren’t intentionally working out to lose weight. Try to ignore those who think they are being helpful by giving you unsolicited advice or give you kudos for doing something about your “weight problem”.
If you enjoy exercise or the health benefits exercise brings, keep that as your focus when you are going to get the unwelcome comments others may feel obligated to tell you or congratulate you “for doing something about your weight”. If you know why you are there and what it does for you, that’s all that matters. If you try to educate those who will never understand that fat people do work out because they like it and enjoy health benefits even though they don’t want to lose weight, realize some people will NEVER understand that. Don’t let it ruin your time at the gym.
Otherwise you’ll end up spending much more time, most likely being understandably pissed off debating people then actually working out. I wish I was wrong, but you are never going to educate a majority of people who either at the gym or not, will not believe you are at the gym because you like the way you feel after a workout. They are going to believe that you are lying to yourself about not wanting to lose weight or that you are doing something wrong as it applies to losing weight. It’s better to let that one go. It doesn’t matter if some stranger or even family and friends don’t get the benefits you get by being at a gym or working out. You get it. Don’t let that interfere with the benefit you get, and the only way for that to happen is to understand and accept, a lot of people will NEVER get it…
If you are new to working out and can only do 3 minutes on the treadmill or any piece of equipment, that’s AWESOME. That’s 3 more minutes doing whatever that you wouldn’t be doing if you weren’t there at all. The truth is, some people are small minded enough to watch what you do with not good intentions. However I wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction if they are such a jerk that watching people when they initially are learning to work out, get a laugh at anyone’s expense. It’s not worth letting yourself get hurt or angry. And it’s definitely not worth letting someone dictate how you live your life if that’s enough for you not to go back again.
2. It’s is possible that if you start an exercise regimen, even if you don’t intend to lose weight, that still might happen. You do not have to make any excuses for that, either. If it’s noticeable where people start commenting on it, you don’t owe them an answer or an explanation whether it makes you uncomfortable that people won’t understand why you don’t care about the weight loss or the fact that if you are in size acceptance/fat acceptance groups that while talking about intentional weight loss is usually frowned upon, whether you like the weight loss or not, it’s not anyone’s business to judge you….
For the “Good Samaritan Gym Rats”…….
1. If you see new people at the gym fat or thin. Feel free to say hi or smile. But try not to say anything else….Especially if they are working out. You wouldn’t love it if someone interrupted your workout. Don’t do the same to someone else.
2. Unless someone asks for advice on anything, don’t give it. Whether it’s regarding equipment or asking them why they are there. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate a person who has fat on their body for being at a gym. Or ask them how much weight they hope to lose. You wouldn’t want your valuable time at a gym spent answering or trying to dodge questions that are no one’s business. Don’t do the same thing to anyone else….
For the Gym Gyrks…..
1. Smirking or taking secret pics of someone who is fat or struggling on a piece of equipment or is sweating after 2 minutes on an exercise bike, in a gym pool, does not make your athletic prowess any greater. It does however, make you a COLOSSAL asshole. It doesn’t matter why someone who doesn’t fit your ideal standards of beauty or body aesthetics is at a gym. Let alone is your business what fat people eat in a gym or outside of it. Secure people in their beings, even insecure people who are halfway decent human beings, don’t look down or put people down to make themselves feel better.
2. If you are the type who does wonder why people only make it to the 2nd week in January when it comes to going to the gym and you’ve internally made judgments, don’t be surprised that some people may have picked up on them and you were part of the problem in someone feeling extremely uncomfortable working out in public. Realize a lot of fat people are in a no win situation. No one believes, incorrectly that people who are fat ,can either be fit and/or healthy. If you’ve used the excuse of your hatred of fat people under the guise of being worried about health, realize it’s bigotry and hate that’s consuming you. People who are physically, mentally and spiritually confident and kind people don’t make themselves feel better any anyone’s expense. While in the end, if someone really wants to work out either in a gym or in some other manner, they will find a way. But life is hard enough as it is. If you can’t be kind, be apathetic….But realize you are COLOSSAL asshole just the same and maybe your New Years resolution is to realize your prejudices and get over them…..