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What's stopping you from working out or joining a gym?


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In this past I would do that fairly common thing where you say to yourself, "I'M GOING TO DO ALL THE THE WORKOUTS!", destroy yourself in about a week and then decide that exercise is painful and torturous and simply not sustainable. I finally managed to overcome this when my (fairly new, at the time) boyfriend, a fitness junkie, gave me a simple workout plan I could actually stick to. Things went on from there.

Why I (still) don't go to the gym? There are a plethora of reasons: 1) My local gym consists mainly of machines I have no need for, and to my knowledge has no squat racks (my brother used to work there, so unless things have changed since....); 2) I am socially awkward and anything involving contact with the outside world or people looking at me freaks me out; 3) I currently do my workouts at 6:30 in the morning, and I can't see myself dragging myself out to the gym at that time of day, especially not in the winter; 4) I'm a germ-a-phobe and would probably run at the sight of other people's sweat; 5) I can't afford it. I could probably provide more reasons, but the general feeling from me on this one is just "Nooooooo!"

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A gym can help with these goals immensely, lumping people who go to the gym into one group who just go for looks seems like a bit of a sweeping statement.

I didn't mean that at all! No offense, but I don't know how you got that out of what I was saying. What I meant is that what stops me from working out is when I become preoccupied with body image - whether or not this is in a gym! That's just me personally. I'm not saying anything about anyone else.

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I didn't mean that at all! No offense, but I don't know how you got that out of what I was saying. What I meant is that what stops me from working out is when I become preoccupied with body image - whether or not this is in a gym! That's just me personally. I'm not saying anything about anyone else.

 

Sorry if I misunderstood, just that the thread is why people don't go to the gym and your post started with image concerns so I assumed, my fault! 

 

I just see a lot of posts of people who start out going to the gym who avoid it/quit/don't go because they're not 'lunks'- which is irritating since we're on a forum that's supposed to help people get fit and the people they're afraid are judging them....are people that they're in turn judging themselves. 

Spaz Ranger

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One of the things that has held me back from the gym over the years is not having an accountibilibuddy -- the gyms I can afford aren't in great parts of town, and I have spent most of my life being told how to avoid being raped... and muscle-bound men in a "man's environment" in a not-great part of town... hasn't seemed wildly appealing. 

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I work out at home, mostly because then I have no excuses to get it done. With the gym for me I could think of a ton of reasons to not go... 1.) getting ready and getting there is a hassle 2.) I hate having people watching me exercise. 3.) I don't like the idea of leaving little squish with random people. 

 

I tend to walk with my mom, or pop on some free workouts from Hulu and a resistance band work out I found on pinterest. It helps because if I need to stop and nurse the little one I am able to, and then get back on it. I also can do some house work and get some lunges or jumping jacks in. Currently it's working for me. :)

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Distance, unfortunately.

 

However, day I ditched my membership was also the day I decided to invest in a barbell, plates and bench that also went high enough to act as a squat rack. I went to a sports equipment resale shop near my house, got all the necessities, and drove out to the gym to kill the membership.

 

I haven't regretted it. The $150 worth of equipment purchased has more than paid for itself in the last 6 months.

 

On one hand, I miss the mirrors lining the walls. Vain, I know. Still, I don't miss this one dude in particular that was so loud. I don't mind a grunt here and there; I do it too. But this guy would grunt taking breaths, drinking water, walking, etc. What made it awkward was the fact he also rides my train to work.

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Why I avoid working out: low-energy. I've been to the doctor and had a bunch of blood tests, and all I got was a recommendation of a low-dose anti-depressant. I'd still like to go to the gynecologist, because two different forms of birth control have bombed on me now. (Planned Parenthood isn't particularly interested in finding out why.) I think hormones might have something to do with my low mood.

 

Why I avoid going to the gym: low self-esteem. When I work out by myself, I see the progress I make. Even if I can't do a certain yoga pose, or can't do many push-ups, I see that I can do it better than I had been, and I feel successful. When I go to a gym or class with other people, and newbies pop into a full backbend, I feel bad about my progress. I know I shouldn't, but I do.

 

The problem is that I don't challenge myself as hard as a class does. Which is why I loved my personal trainer at the fancy-pants gym. I just can't afford her.

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I recently joined Planet Fitness. I can't lie, it feels like pre-school for fitness between the tootsie rolls and all the purple. But it's close to my house, super cheap, and reminds me of high school gym class.. Recently, home has become filled with distractions and obstacles, and it's nice to have an option to go work out somewhere else when I can't at home. Some people stare, but I've reached the point where my health matters more than my feeling embarrassed. I said to myself "What's the worst that could ACTUALLY happen?" and once I realized I wasn't going to poop my pants, it was a lot easier. :)

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Why I avoid working out: low-energy. I've been to the doctor and had a bunch of blood tests, and all I got was a recommendation of a low-dose anti-depressant. I'd still like to go to the gynecologist, because two different forms of birth control have bombed on me now. (Planned Parenthood isn't particularly interested in finding out why.) I think hormones might have something to do with my low mood.

 

Why I avoid going to the gym: low self-esteem. When I work out by myself, I see the progress I make. Even if I can't do a certain yoga pose, or can't do many push-ups, I see that I can do it better than I had been, and I feel successful. When I go to a gym or class with other people, and newbies pop into a full backbend, I feel bad about my progress. I know I shouldn't, but I do.

 

The problem is that I don't challenge myself as hard as a class does. Which is why I loved my personal trainer at the fancy-pants gym. I just can't afford her.

 

Why I avoid working out: low-energy. I've been to the doctor and had a bunch of blood tests, and all I got was a recommendation of a low-dose anti-depressant. I'd still like to go to the gynecologist, because two different forms of birth control have bombed on me now. (Planned Parenthood isn't particularly interested in finding out why.) I think hormones might have something to do with my low mood.

 

Why I avoid going to the gym: low self-esteem. When I work out by myself, I see the progress I make. Even if I can't do a certain yoga pose, or can't do many push-ups, I see that I can do it better than I had been, and I feel successful. When I go to a gym or class with other people, and newbies pop into a full backbend, I feel bad about my progress. I know I shouldn't, but I do.

 

The problem is that I don't challenge myself as hard as a class does. Which is why I loved my personal trainer at the fancy-pants gym. I just can't afford her.

Hormone related issues run in my family. My gran, my mum and I have PCOS, and have a cousin with Hashimoto's. It's really worth getting checked out and asking for tests. After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I changed my diet to eliminate refined sugar, dairy, and cut way back on soy and eggs. After two days, I felt so much better. My cousin takes supplements and she said she felt really great after her diet changes and supplement use after a week. Hope you feel better soon!

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Two things.

 

1: $$$. This is stopping me from going to a real gym although I have access to a free gym at work. The second reason is why I don't go to said gym at work.

2: 100% complete embarrassment. I know people say they don't really care what you look like when you go to a gym but I do. I hate being seen in public, let alone being sweaty, gross AND fat. No way. If I ever get to under 200lbs then I might go. Before that I will continue to workout inside my house.

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Stopped working out: I live on a military base in Japan and I HATE lifting weights and body weight exercises. We have a track that I run on, but they took away my climbing wall and the punching bag, so now the only thing I enjoy doing is the running.

 

As for stopped going to the gym: Besides hating to lift, I've been laughed out of a military base gym. It wasn't even for doing something wrong, but it was because I wasn't as strong as them. The marines flat out pointed and laughed, "Look at that weak ass bitch over there with her 20lb dumbbells."

the only time I've been okay with going into a gym is when I worked odd hours and there was barely anyone there

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I go to the local Y, our Y has a financial aid based on median income and community involvement of the area. So even though I'm an engineer (albeit at a non-profit, not making Google money) working at a non-profit keeps my monthly payment to around $40/month.  I live in 300 sq. ft studio so exercising at home isn't really comfortable and I often workout at nite after work.    For my size and build, I've always been more flexible/strong/resilient than haters at the gym expect. The worst part for me was dealing with the open locker room and showers but a few months and portable lysol solved that. 

 

I really want to join a climbing gym but the enviorment there is so outside of my arena I can't cope. I feel so out of place and you're all climbing on a wall so there's no avoiding the social aspect.  I went climbing with my co-workers at my old job and the security basically stared me down the entire time and search my bag (and only my bag) every time I went.  One of my co-workers complained about it and allegedly that guard is no longer there but it kind of soured me on the whole thing.   

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I go to the local Y, our Y has a financial aid based on median income and community involvement of the area. So even though I'm an engineer (albeit at a non-profit, not making Google money) working at a non-profit keeps my monthly payment to around $40/month.  I live in 300 sq. ft studio so exercising at home isn't really comfortable and I often workout at nite after work.    For my size and build, I've always been more flexible/strong/resilient than haters at the gym expect. The worst part for me was dealing with the open locker room and showers but a few months and portable lysol solved that. 

 

I really want to join a climbing gym but the enviorment there is so outside of my arena I can't cope. I feel so out of place and you're all climbing on a wall so there's no avoiding the social aspect.  I went climbing with my co-workers at my old job and the security basically stared me down the entire time and search my bag (and only my bag) every time I went.  One of my co-workers complained about it and allegedly that guard is no longer there but it kind of soured me on the whole thing.   

 

 

Have you thought of looking through some climbing meet ups for those new to it? Even if you have some experience it'll help build your network and maybe you'll find some friendly faces that attend your local climbing gym!

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Spaz Ranger

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Injury. I have spent the past 5 months trying to recover from tendonitis in my wrists and now my shoulders too. I can't ride my bike, lift weights, or go to CrossFit, which are the only forms of fitness that interest me! PT is kind of useless at this point because I just need to build back up strength (well, my shoulders still need to calm the F down, they are still actively hurting from tight muscles), but every time I try my PT exercises, I end up hurting for days.

 

*pity party for 1, please*

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I'd say for me, mainly cause I'm super self conscious and I know I'd be really awkward in a gym. I'd be too busy thinking about what other people there think of me to focus on the workout. Plus i'm 5 foot nothing and a girl and I hate cardio so I'd mainly be going for the free weights, which is apparently quite the men's area.

 

However, I'd really like to get to the point in my life where I'm confident enough to go to a gym and just zone out and work out. 

Also I'm a student and gyms cost money.

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I'd say for me, mainly cause I'm super self conscious and I know I'd be really awkward in a gym. I'd be too busy thinking about what other people there think of me to focus on the workout. Plus i'm 5 foot nothing and a girl and I hate cardio so I'd mainly be going for the free weights, which is apparently quite the men's area.

 

However, I'd really like to get to the point in my life where I'm confident enough to go to a gym and just zone out and work out. 

Also I'm a student and gyms cost money.

Everyone's self-conscious and awkward for the first few times they go to a gym, regardless of gender and size, because you don't have your routine down and you don't know where anything is. But I guarantee you, you'll get used to it soon and zone out all that bothered you before. And really, the guys in the free weights are generally don't care that you're there. I usually go to the gym at my university, where the guys are usually smart and polite, and there are always some girls. Now I had to move to a different gym for a month, the clientele of which consists mostly of older guys. Turns out they don't actually care that I'm there, either. In fact, I've never been bothered at any gym, other than the normal "can I work in/take that plate/how many sets do you have left" questions.*

 

So, yeah, you just have to make yourself go there a couple of times and then you'll be good.

 

Since you're a student, does your college/other place of study have a gym? I think most places do, and they're either included in the tuition or very affordable for students. And if it doesn't, some gyms offer discount prices for students.

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I'd say for me, mainly cause I'm super self conscious and I know I'd be really awkward in a gym. I'd be too busy thinking about what other people there think of me to focus on the workout. Plus i'm 5 foot nothing and a girl and I hate cardio so I'd mainly be going for the free weights, which is apparently quite the men's area.

 

However, I'd really like to get to the point in my life where I'm confident enough to go to a gym and just zone out and work out. 

Also I'm a student and gyms cost money.

 

What Polaris said. You get into a routine, become familiar and you get comfortable. I still get some anxiety around a lot of people but that's me anywhere, so I also tend to go to the gym in low traffic times if I have to go alone (5am is my favorite time, almost no one there!!)

 

Everyone is focused on their own thing unless you do something crazy like crush yourself under too much weight or try to do weighted heavy squats on the bosu. 

Spaz Ranger

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I recently joined Planet Fitness. I can't lie, it feels like pre-school for fitness between the tootsie rolls and all the purple. But it's close to my house, super cheap, and reminds me of high school gym class.. Recently, home has become filled with distractions and obstacles, and it's nice to have an option to go work out somewhere else when I can't at home. Some people stare, but I've reached the point where my health matters more than my feeling embarrassed. I said to myself "What's the worst that could ACTUALLY happen?" and once I realized I wasn't going to poop my pants, it was a lot easier. :)

I'm glad you posted this as PF gets such a bad rap.  I, too, joined PF, as did my husband and teenaged daughters.  We were primarily looking for the cardio equipment, especially in the winter time.  Our treadmill is on its last leg and it didn't make sense to buy a new one.  We actually have weights and such in our garage when and if we get to that point.  I think some people stare and I've caught myself "staring" when in reality my "eyes were stuck" (i.e. staring off into space) as we said in high school.  I actually like it because its NOT like high school gym class.  PE is the major cause of most of my exercise anxieties. 

 

Before PF I stuck mainly to home workouts.  You have to do what makes works, you know?  Not everyone wants to belong to a gym and the reasons vary. 

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I don't let it stop me from working out entirely, but the reason I haven't joined a gym since we moved and often procrastinate about running when the weather is nice is other people. I'm extremely introverted (not self-conscious and not shy, but human interaction, particularly with strangers, takes a ton of energy for me), and the people around here always want to chat. Yes, even when I have my (bright pink, so no, they're not missing them) headphones in. When I'm working out, I don't have the extra energy to expend exchanging small talk with people I don't really know, and the constant expectation that I will do so makes the whole experience very unpleasant for me. I'm sure it's just a cultural difference from the bigger and more anonymous cities I've previously lived in, but it's definitely changed how I work out and how I feel about working out.

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Ha! Starstuff, I feel you!

The reason why haven't joined a gym (yet), is because i don't want to workout on my own. I need someone i know that can help me and makes me come back (that's where my bf is going to step in). And I really don't want to interact with other people. I also don't like it when strangers come up to me and start making a conversation I'm not interested in.

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I belong to one, but I rarely ever go. Why not - because I'm spoiled; I have bench, rack, bars and plates in a back room at home where I can use them in absolute convenience and quiet. I even have a treadmill; I'm one of those very odd specimens who actually enjoy using one. So why do I keep the membership - the gym is right next to where I park at work, it's incredibly well-equipped, and it's super cheap for me. And I don't have room for a rowing machine in my back room.

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I don't let it stop me from working out entirely, but the reason I haven't joined a gym since we moved and often procrastinate about running when the weather is nice is other people. I'm extremely introverted (not self-conscious and not shy, but human interaction, particularly with strangers, takes a ton of energy for me), and the people around here always want to chat. Yes, even when I have my (bright pink, so no, they're not missing them) headphones in. When I'm working out, I don't have the extra energy to expend exchanging small talk with people I don't really know, and the constant expectation that I will do so makes the whole experience very unpleasant for me. I'm sure it's just a cultural difference from the bigger and more anonymous cities I've previously lived in, but it's definitely changed how I work out and how I feel about working out.

I don't know if you're comfortable with this or not but if I'm not feeling particularly chatty I stick my headphones in, go hard and just focus on my form or equipment. I also have RBF so when I'm focused I look a little bit mean, which could be why most people stay away. 

 

If someone still approaches me the first time I pretend I didn't hear and keep doing my thing- if they insist I take a headphone and say 'sorry, I'm in the middle of a set, do you need help with something?'  and if they say no respond with 'Ok, thanks I'm going to get back to my workout, I don't have much time to finish' And then do your thing until your workout is done. I was always super shy and got anxiety without at least a buddy but over time, like everything else you just get used to your environment. 

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Coming from already low self-esteem I get paranoid easily and refuse to go to the gym even though when I do have memberships I try to go. Case and point, I paid for a membership at Planet Fitness last week (stopped going to a gym after I moved 4 years ago). I went the first night and was doing good. 40 minutes into the workout two young girls coming in, sit down at the recumbent bikes in front of me. Fine and dandy until one occasionally glances over her shoulder towards me (assuming because no one else was there), turns back to her buddy making little snickering noises. Once I leave the equipment this man and woman on treadmills side by side notice as I walk by to head into the lobby and make a call. They could not stop staring and it was obvious too. Their face said it all. It was like I didn't belong there. The girls I was probably paranoid about but the man and woman on the treadmills were not held back in their staring at all. The lobby was an open area and they literally watched me during my call. I hope they are not there tonight when I go. The lady also looked like the one who left a review on the gyms website mentioning how she likes it that there are no "big, bulky or stick thin people". As far as I have seen, at 280 I am the biggest member there. :( what are gyms meant for if not to gain bulk, lose weight, or maintain? So much for the 'judgement-free zone'.

"If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail."

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From everything I've heard, Planet Fitness sounds like the judgiest of all gyms. But you go in, you put on your headphones, you do your thing, and you check it off your list. You paid to be there, you have a right to be there, screw anyone who judges you and whatever they think.

 

... But honestly? What the starey folks are thinking, at least half the time, is more like, "Wow, that person is amazing for having the dedication to show up here and work out -- I now have no excuse whatsoever."

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balance in mind ... body in motion ... making inertia my bitch

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