Archive for the tag - working out

I’m Insecure at the Gym.

Dear Davey,

I’m 26 years-old, a certified personal trainer… I’m gay and while I would certainly be considered to be very fit, I’ve been feeling increasingly ostracized in the gay fitness community.

I used to LOVE going to the gym. I’d go five or six days a week, sometimes twice for an extra cardio or abs session, and loved every second of it. Lately, I’m barely able to drag myself there once or twice a week, and I feel nothing but self-conscious the whole time. I live in a densely gay populated area of DC, so the gym is essentially like watching clothed porn stars work out. While I realize the foolishness in comparing oneself to others, these guys are in PHENOMENAL shape yet strut around talking about how terrible their abs look, and how their arms are only seventeen inches big and all sorts of ridiculous crap.

Still, over the course of many months, it’s kind of made me feel like what’s the point of working out at all? I’m in great shape but certainly not bodybuilder/porn star worthy. Being a trainer, I’ve always prided myself on having healthy, balanced, challenging workout plans, and now when I walk into the gym, I just feel like I have no clue what to do.

From,
D

gymDear D,

Thank you for your heartfelt and honest email. You’re certainly not alone.

If you didn’t go to a gay gym, I’d be tempted to remind you that most people are too caught up in their own workouts to pay much attention to anyone else around them. In most situations, the judgement that exercisers feel is perceived judgement and not actual judgement. The reality is that most people could care less what you look like or how much weight you’re lifting.

But things are a bit different at gay gyms. As someone who has attended many gay gyms, there’s a certain layer of sexual tension that pervades the environment. And yes, many guys do seem to be paying attention to the exercisers around them.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

First, when amazingly built guys talk about how crappy their abs look, know that it’s a reflection of their own insecurities and not an assessment on your level of fitness. Just because they’re spouting ridiculousness to each other doesn’t mean that you need to believe or internalize it. That is their path and their fitness journey. Don’t make it your own.

Second, reassess your reasons for working out. What motivates you? Yes, there is an appeal to looking a certain way. As a personal trainer, you know that vanity is what brings most people in the door. The thing is, most of us soon discover the true benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle – and how it fundamentally improves every aspect of your being. The shift happens wherein people exercise not because they hate their body, but because they love their body. And honoring your body with exercise is an extension of honoring your life. That’s the real magic. So take some time to examine your reasons for working out, and then let those reasons be your motivating force.

Third, you might want to find a new gym. If you truly feel like your workout environment is too toxic to tune out, why not go somewhere else? It’s great having a sense of community and working out with friends, but perhaps a different gym is a better fit. If you can’t change the way that you look at your gym situation, there’s no shame in removing yourself from it.

I’d love to hear what other suggestions readers might have. Please share them in the comments below and I hope this helps reinvigorate your passion and love for working out.

Love,
Davey