I hate the gym. Not because I’m thicker than a Snicker and would feel self-conscious working out among the sweat-slicked bodies of the get fit crew, but because I actually hate the repetition of gyms. But for many women who are trying to whip their bodies back in shape, the gym is the perfect starting place to build an exercise habit. Only there’s one problem: They are scared of being the “big girl” at the gym!

Let’s face it; going to the gym when you’re a newbie is daunting enough. You may not know how the equipment works, you probably won’t be able to keep up with the pros on the stair climber, and you might not even like it…for months.

But starting a new workout regimen when you’re overweight has its own set of challenges: getting winded quickly, figuring out what you’re going to wear so you don’t look fatter than you are (yes, sometimes this matters), and working out among the ripped bodies of fitness junkies can cause the most confident big gal to question herself, just a little bit.

So what to do if you’re worried about being the “big girl” at the gym?

First of all, stop. With 60-prcent of American either overweight or obese, there’s a good chance that you won’t be the only fluffy person at the gym. So ditch that fear and get moving.

Next, although it may seem shallow, having cute and comfortable workout clothes can boost your confidence. Leave the giant t-shirt and old sweats at home, when you look good, you’ll be more inclined to hit the gym, especially after those endorphins kick in.

Finally, give yourself permission to go slow. If you’ve been out of the gym for a while, then you’ll have to let your body get used to moving again. Don’t overdo it. Don’t try to keep up with the woman on the next treadmill, and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do the things you did last time you worked out. Take it slow.

Returning to the gym can seem daunting, but stick with it, soon you’ll be a pro.

Have you ever been the big girl (or gym) at the gym? How did you feel? 

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  1. Hi Britni!

    I’ve always been the “big girl” at the gym and you know what – it doesn’t bother me a bit. I give 100% whether I take a group class, hit the treadmill or weights. It’s important that I accomplish my fitness goals. Also, it’s always nice to show the other gym members that big girls can hang too.

    Great post!

  2. i have always been skinny and i STILL dont like going to the gym because ppl no matter what size you are are going to talk about how ridic it is that you are out of shape because yes you can be skinny and out of shape

  3. A good gym will not make you feel bad @ att. FYI: tons of skinny people @ the gym are not professionals; even they make mistakes. The problem is that because you are fat and they are skinny…you have projected that they know what they are doing. Well..it is easy to mask an exercise fitness style when you are skinny. But the real gurus are those that walk in fat and leave skinny.

    So, the real exercise snobs are not at the gym, they are doing real expensive stuff like pilates, hiking, biking, pole dancing, steam yoga.

    Please don’t be intimidated by the fake skinnies. The real ones to watch are those who are fat and are there with a goal.

  4. aaahh this is why I work out at home, because I always feel self conscious, even though no one has ever said anything. The irony of it all, is that one of the main reasons you’re at the gym is to lose weight and get in shape, smh!!

  5. When I started working out 2 months ago I was the 335 lb big girl at the gym. At first it bothered me but then I reminded myself that i don’t want to be the big girl in the coffin. I workout mid morning when all the serious body builders are the only ones there. At first it was strange. My hubby, who is a former body builder and is still very fit goes with me several days because he works nights, and it is easier when he is with me. the first time that I went alone I really felt out strange. Now 47 lbs down and 2 months later I know all the hard core guys by name. They always offer advice and are willing to spot for me when hubby is not there. It is nice feeling like I am a part of a community. You get used to it after a while.

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