Conquering the Big Bad Mean Gym

I know the gym can be an intimidating place. For some it’s the crowds, for others the machines and the lack of know-how, for some it’s being around muscleheads and thin bodies, and for other it’s what I call the comparison syndrome. Most people will tell you to suck it up and just go, but for those that know me, I’m not going to do that. I’ll explain how I overcame all three of these things and offer the best advice I can.

Let’s reverse the Order

#1. Machines/Weights and Lack of Know-How
When you finally get to the gym, most people freak out, because it all seems so overwhelming. Do I do free weights? machines? Do do I work that machine? You’ve got to start small or easy and work your way up. It’ll all come together.

Taken from The Story: Chapter 1
“I’ll be honest, when I first started in the Gym, I was scared and timid…. so I started where, and with something I felt comfortable with; Working my Legs, the area where most guys neglect, and I found my beginning.”

That’s exactly what you have todo. Find your nitch, or safe spot, your zone. Some people feel safe on the treadmill, others on the track, for me it was the bike. It was something I could do, something I already knew how to do. I could tune everything else out. Also don’t be afraid to ask someone for a little help, especially a trainer. That’s what they are paid to do. Asking could save you from wasted time and a possible injury. I promise, it may seem embarrassing to ask, but they spend more time laughing and talking about people doing exercises wrong more so than who needed help. Confidence will spread, there I still exercises that I “waited” years to try/evolved to.

2. Muscleheads and ThinBodies. Sure there are going to be people of all fitness levels in the gym. Some big some small, etc. Don’t let these people get next to you. Don’t sit back and say, I’ll never look like this, I’ll never be that thin, or that strong etc. You may be embarrassed to walk in front of them or say excuse me. Musclesheads can be scary. Some guys still intimidate me, physically. Just stand your ground.  They have the bodies we want for one reason(besides good genes) the one thing they share, is a goal,  a mission. That’s exactly what you need. First you need an over all goal. Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Over all Fitness.. etc. Then you go in with a set of exercises that you think will help you accomplish your goal. Never enter the gym without a plan.

Soon after I graduated to the “Real” gym, I started giving myself upper body days and lower body days. Nothing to specific.–What I do, now is I keep a workout journal. I take it with me to the gym. I know what body parts, what exercises I’m doing on what days. How much weight I should use and such. You’d be surprise how much time you can save, and how more focused you are, when you plan.

3.Compasion Syndrome(CS) – When you finally get comfortable, being around those thing bodies and muscleheads from #2, CS kicks in, if it hadn’t already. First there’s the top level of CS. She’s thin, I’m big. Why is she even here? He’s huge, I’m tiny. etc. You’ve got to look past everyone else. They could be struggling with body image issues, just on another level. They could be former”heavy weights”, staying persistent. You never know, that’s why it’s best to ignore them. The 2nd level of CS comes from closer level of comparsion. I’m doing bicep curls with 20’s he’s doing bicep curls with 45’s. He’s makes me look weak.. Don’t sink. People have different goals when it comes to lifting weights. Some lift for strength, some life for size, some for endurance. Unless you’re paying close attention and counting his reps(which you SHOULD NOT BE), you don’t know how’s he training. If’s he’s only doing 5 reps and you’re doing 10 reps, you both are pretty even, even though it look like he’s doing more weight. We just talked about goals. If your focused on your goal, you’re be fine. It’ll feel good one day when you on the upper section of the rack, if that’s where you’re headed.

4. The Crowds..- Ok even this still freaks me out. I hate a crowded gym. I just can’t concentrate on what I’m doing, even with Ipod in hand. There’s not to much I can do, here, except advise you to find low times at the gym. Early morning, Lunch and Late Nights seems to be the best. 4:00pm-7pm seems to be the worst. I’m a Lunch time, kinda of person. If you can’t get there during any other time, just try your best. I’ll be working on a post, I called the “Crowded Gym Survival Guide”

Lastly, I understand that everyone’s lifestyle does not permit them to go to the gym, rather it be time restraints, family obligations or finicanial reasons.  I have not forgot about you. I don’t want to tell you to just by some home gym equipment and to walk.  Your post is coming, I promise.

Explore posts in the same categories: Advice, Exercise, Life, Resources, Self-Image, Weight Loss

3 Comments on “Conquering the Big Bad Mean Gym”

  1. Sharon Says:

    great new blog, Justin!

  2. waistloss Says:


    AS far as the muscleheads go, you might want to sask them a question or two they might be able to give some advice or motivation. They are much more likely to be helpful if they see someone who is trying to better themselves. Ask them the best way to do an exercise or ask them for a spot. You just might make a new friend and that makes the gym a more pleasureable experience if you walk in and see people you know.

    When it comes to crowds I really agree with you. Unfortuantely the gym won’t clear out until about March. It’s sad but that’s when the resolutions fall by the wayside and the people whoare really serious shine through.

  3. Lori Says:

    Actually, as far as trainers go, watch and see how the trainers act and interact with their clients and the equipment. My first trainer was my age and that should be good but I spent the entire time trying to reassure her that she didn’t look our age.

    There’s a guy trainer who has worked with a very willful (and because I know her) person who is very overweight. He strikes me as very patient because this woman would not put up with anyone who isn’t and realistic.

    The crowds…waistloss is right; March will be when we separate the resoluters (great word, btw) from the regulars. (It also coincides with Spring Break; probably some of our students are getting in shape for the beach…)

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