QUESTION: Hi Ms. Genao. I have a question. I just joined a gym and I like it there but I always get the feeling that guys are looking at me when I’m working out. Especially stretching…lol. I’m shy so I’m a little intimidated by the whole atmosphere. Do you have any tips on how to make my gym experience less nerve-racking for me? I feel a bit intimidated by all the guys there. Thanks. Oh yeah…you look great!
AMANDA’S ADVICE: Thank you for the compliment! I am glad you posted this question because it’s something a lot of gym goers deal with. However, it seems to affect women more than men.
If you get the feeling that guys are looking at you, the truth is that they probably are. I bet women are looking also! It takes a special kind of mental prep to be able to tune everything out around you and do what you are supposed to do at the gym, including stretching. It took me a while to feel comfortable doing exercises that looked a little “sexual”, but I’ve mastered the art of tuning things out. What I do is wear my headphones and listen to my playlist. Also, before I go do my workout, I make sure I have a plan of action that includes which and what type of exercises I’ll be doing, how much cardio I want to do, etc. During my workouts I’m usually too preoccupied with singing in my head, so the only person I pay attention to is me to make sure I don’t hurt myself. LOL.
However, if you are still feeling uncomfortable or feel exposed, you could try isolating yourself until you can venture out into the open spaces at your gym. You could find a quiet corner or try the women’s section. Those exist for a reason – you are not the only one that feels this way!
You also have to remember that lifting weights and gyms are typically men territories and as women we are not socialized to work out the same way men do. I suggest for you to keep doing your thing, work up your confidence and prepare yourself mentally to be in the same space as men without feeling intimated. If you do feel threatened or harassed by another gym member, I suggest you say something to the gym staff. I find that most gym management staff takes this particular issue very seriously.
Good luck and let me know how things work out!
Amanda Genao, Fitness Expert
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