I am super self conscious at the gym. This is related to the fact that I never, ever participated in athletics in high school, hated gym, and refused to wear sneakers/athletic shorts until I was twenty. I was scared of all the fit, strong girls because they reeked of confidence, borderline cockiness, and definitely understood how to put their hair up and roll their sleeves properly. (I am still working on this…)
So whenever I go into the gym, wearing my sneakers and shorts and loose-fitting tank top, I never feel like I quite belong. I am, firstly, covered in tattoos, and secondly, I just lack that authority that says, “Yeah, I’m gonna rage on this elliptical, what of it?” (This is how I imagine most of the sporty girls talk.)
My goal is to be as inconspicuous as possible. So I hop on the machine, plug in my earbuds and then almost magically am transferred to my own little world where I am listening to my rage-workout music (Which consists of the 300 Soundtrack, Rage Against the Machine, Jurassic 5, and some other more embarrassing artists.) and am all of a sudden super fit and full of prowess and stamina.
About halfway through my 40-minute elliptical battle, I start getting super red in the face and pretty sweaty.
Now, I have NO IDEA how any of the sporty, athletic, attractive gym-goers get their fitness, because they do about ten minutes of cardio, twenty minutes of weights, and about half an hour of walking around talking… and they look super good doing it. No red faces, hardly any sweat, and they definitely are tanning in their spare time- no red faces happening.
I, however, am imagining myself trudging through waist-deep quicksand while battling my way through Sparta… because the only way I ever see results from working out is if I put high inclines and heavy resistance, so I always look like I’m struggling really hard because well, I am struggling.
So as my workout winds down, I try to pump myself up to walk around the gym to use the weight machines. I usually choose three machines, because if I do any more than that I start to feel self-conscious again as my steam and adrenaline run out from the cardio. Additionally, everyone in the gym seems so laissez-faire about using the machines. A couple are pretty complicated, I’ve seen USM baseball players knock themselves out with some of them. So, I stick with the typical ones, then buzz out as fast as I can.
And this is how my gym experience goes, day after day, and has since I actually got the gumption to enter a gym. Which, by the way, took a couple years of confidence building by running outside.
You want to know the best part? I know no one is even watching, or cares, or gives any second thought to the little tattooed girl who never makes eye contact with anyone and has zero social skills.
But, that’s how it always has been, and always will be. And it’s ok, because at least I’m going, right?