Hopeless about Working Out.

Dear Davey,

I have been trying to write this for a while now. I just haven’t been able to find the correct wording I’ve wanted to use.

It is frustrating and intimidating when I go to the gym and see all of these muscular, fit guys. They all have been working out since they were in their teens and have >8% body fat. They know what they’re doing because it seems they’ve had years and years of instruction and their bodies have adapted to their fitness lifestyle.

Then I walk in.

Embarrassed to be even near them, I am in my late 20’s, 6’4”, 320lbs and approximately 25-28% body fat (by skin fold calipers). I am a self-conscious overweight gay man in a conservative Midwestern city and I’ve been single all my life and I don’t have a support system. I hate hearing “I’m sorry, I just don’t date fat guys.” I have never played a serious sport; I sat inside, read, played video games, and ate my feelings. I have been trying for years to get into an attractive shape.

I know I have an awesome personality, I just want a body to go with it, you know? I have a large frame and I could look wonderful if I could just get myself to do it. When I go to the gym, though I get jealous and annoyed at people who look like you do. I become hopeless that no matter how hard I work I just won’t look like they do because I haven’t been working out since I was 12. I just want results now, even though I know that obtaining what I want to achieve will not happen overnight or even in a year for that matter. How do I get over this fear and jealousy?

From,
Scott

Whatever your excuse is, it's time to stop believing it.

Dear Scott,

After reading and re-reading your email, I’m most struck not by your hopelessness, but by the many excuses you use to justify it.

When I was younger, I wanted to get into shape to look like the chiseled Abercrombie models plastered across my local mall. Like you, my motivation stemmed from a desire to look a certain way. But, as I worked out and transformed my body, I was surprised to discover that exercise is about more than the superficial changes. I suddenly had more energy, zest, confidence, better sleep habits and improved focus. Beyond transforming my body, exercise and proper nutrition transformed my life.

And like you, I had my excuses. Yours involve:

  1. A history of being sedentary,
  2. A lack of support,
  3. The need for instant results,
  4. Lack of fitness knowledge,
  5. And jealousy.

As a personal trainer, I can tell you that I’ve heard all these excuses before. You’re excuses all have one thing in common: They’re bullshit. And I know this because I’ve used many of them personally.

To your four excuses, I say this:

  1. Just because you haven’t exercised doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy fantastic results. In fact, since you’re new to exercise, you will notice huge changes fairly quickly.
  2. If you don’t have a support system, join the club or build a new one. Or be you own cheerleader in chief.
  3. Though you won’t have your dream body overnight, each day is a day closer to your goals. And a year from now, you’ll be glad you started today.
  4. If you feel like you don’t know what to do, educate yourself. There are a million resources, books and articles that will give you the information you need. In fact, I’m going to send you a free copy of Davey Wavey’s Ultimate Guide to Working Out to get you started.
  5. Don’t waste your energy cultivating anger or jealous – especially about the way another person looks. If anything, be happy for their success and tap into their wisdom. After all, habits are contagious!

You have the ability to shift the conversation in your mind, and I suggest you use the power of your thoughts and intentions in such a way that they support the changes you’re looking to make. Choose and cultivate those thoughts that bring you closer to your goals. Instead of sabotaging yourself before you begin, use the power of your words to your advantage – and be driven by the many, many improvements in the quality of your life that exercise will bring. Rather than make excuses why not, make reasons why.

Let the light that is your amazing personality (you yourself admitted you have an awesome one) burn so bright that it illuminates your pathway to success. I have no doubt that you can do this. I believe in you. The only question is, do you?

Love,
Davey Wavey

If you have an exercise question, ask Davey!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. Great article. I hear and read this all too often. I myself am one of those guys that have been working out since age of 12 and have never had to struggle to be in great shape.

    I personally don’t mind when someone approaches me at the gym asking for advice. I can also say that 90% of the guys at the gym don’t mind either. As long as it is workout related and you are not doing it constantly it is fine to ask.

    Also, getting professional help from a trainer is always the best way to get started. You would be surprised how helpful it can be. In the end, being healthy is a lifestyle!

    Great article Davey and good luck on your journey Scott!!!!

    Justin W.

  2. Though never overweight, I too have made the move from sedentary lifestyle eating my feelings and studying. I first started very very small, and this past year had enough confidence to join a gym and commit. When I started, I would walk a hour a day, quickly. Then I rode my bike as often as possible. Now I’ve moved to strength and cardio training at a gym.
    I was never sporty, but I’ve pushed myself to like things because after I feel better about myself. What I found helped put things into perspective:

    The hour you sit on the couch watching a tv show doesn’t mean very much, and the time is blow away easily. Imagine taking that time and using it to work out instead. An hour is very short, and easy to tackle.

    Really, starting is easy, but holding on through Life is harder. You can’t give up on yourself. Just think, that every gym visit you are ahead of everyone else who doesn’t work out.

    Just doing it makes you successful!

  3. Wow! What an amazing answer. Being a gay man who is also struggling with weight issues in this cruel cruel “gay” world I know how it feels to be rejected. And yes it takes time I was 306 at my heaviest point and in a year have gotten my self down to 250 with exercise and changing my eating habits not dieting THEY DON’T WORK! It’s an every day struggle and yes I’ve fallen off the wagon and gained and lost but u have to pick your self up and keep on going I still have 50 more pounds to go. I use to cry at the gym more mad at my self for letting my self get so bad and as the pounds came off my confidence gets stronger I go out now and not afraid to approach guys. I take it one day at a time and remember no matter how good u look there’s always somebody hotter younger than you it’s not about competing with them it’s about being the best you can be.

  4. Davey, I love your response to this gentleman. Two years ago I was seventy pounds heavier and I was fed up. I stopped making excuses and learned to love fitness and my body, for everything it was as well as for what it wasn’t. I lost the weight by working out and changing the way I ate and thought about food. I didn’t resort to magical diets, pills or plastic surgery. I still have stretch marks, ten pounds to lose, and my, muscles aren’t very visible. I know I will never look like Jillian Michaels, JLo, or Kate Moss but it’s ok. The most important thing is the INTERNAL changes that a new lifestyle causes more than the external ones. I share this with everyone wishing to lose alot of weight and I hope this gentleman reads this and knows that those internal changes are what make the sacrifice worthwhile. You are great Davey Wavey, many hugs to you.

  5. Great article, as always. It’s a blast to see the inspirational words pour onto the website from Davey. I’m still struggling myself for any results. I picked up P90X and worked out for like a week or so and didn’t notice any improvement so I gave up. I’m thinking of starting up again, but I have my doubts.

    I felt kind of disappointed when my friends went to the gym for 6 months and only then told me when they had top-shape bodies which really demoralized me.

    Oh well. Thanks for the article Davey, you’re an amazing person.

  6. So I read this story earlier in the day, and Scott’s story really hit home with me. I’m in almost identical circumstances, except I weigh more.
    This semester I signed up (through basically necessity) a class that requires me to go to the gym a certain number of hours. And I have been putting it off. After reading this I went for the second time.
    Yesterday I went for the first time, and the gym my school has an arrangement with has all sorts of paper work I had to read and sign, and then I found that I was wearing inappropriate footwear. It was very intimidating, the other men were seeming paragons of perfection and they kept making angry grunting noises. I was very out of my element.
    I went today, prepared with sweat pants, and a shirt with a pocket for my iPod, and appropriate shoes, and it wasn’t bad at all. I asked the attendant about the difference between weight machines and free weights and he suggested I used the machines. I ran into someone I knew, and we started talking while exercising. And then when the incredibly muscled man doing weighted pull-ups started groaning we made fun of him (quietly, he easily could have ripped us in half). Then we basically hung out and just lifted weights and walked on the track and the treadmill for 2 and half hours. The track goes by the free weights where some the muscley guys were making loud grunting noises while lifting weights, I made a joke about constipation. They all laughed and next time around one guy loudly asked his friend to bring him a roll of toilet paper.
    I guess my point is that, the gym is intimidating, it sure was for me, but Scott, don’t be intimidated. Its a new social situation, and that’s what’s rough, its not that “The Gym” is rough, its just like other parts of life.
    My only question is, why do gyms have so many mirrors? What’s the deal with that?

  7. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the advice you gave in one of the videos from your ultimate workout. (paraphrasing) – Don’t be intimidated by those guys at the gym. They had to start out scrawny or overweight at some point. – Ever since I heard that, I’ve not felt the least bit self-conscious at any gym or other fitness activity.

    Also, there are more ways to get motivation besides joining the club (or, maybe these are just alternative clubs). Check out sites like Fitocracy, Fitbit, EarndIt and Runkeeper. They all help you track your progress and have lively communities.

    Keep on lovin and peacin. 😉

    Leon

  8. Scott Huntley says:

    Davey is bang on on this one. I started off this year a 235 pound wall of fat. I was always intimidated by the gym bunnies staring, gawking or poking fun. I finally put all the BS aside and stopped psyching myself out. I MADE myself go. I hired a personal trainer (very important for learning proper form and technique) and set up a plan that was suitable for my needs and goals. I was shocked that not one person cared about what I was doing, other than my personal trainer! In fact, when I was struggling, some would come up and offer great advice (bare in mind that the gym I go to is purely heterosexual muscle heads with arms the size of my legs LOL!) Most people that go to gyms are very focused on their own routine, they very seldom converse with the outside world until afterward. The key is consistency. Never stop and never ever fall stagnant. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. People will notice your determination, not your body 🙂 The results I experienced using this philosophy is staggering…after six months, I was already at my target weight of 200ibs and lowered my bodyfat percentage from 21% to 14.2% currently. I look and feel great, and you will too if you exude confidence in every step you take toward your goals! Positive vibes and good luck to you!

  9. Scott, I really want to tell you that its never too late to make the changes that you want in yourself !

    I am 43 years old, like you never “worked out” or played sports. In the last year I have dropped 48 pounds, am hovering around 13% bf and am in better shape than I have ever been !!

    For me it was a 3 year process to get down to what I thought was an acceptable size before I started to really do something about it. PLEASE dont take that long !

    I was 21 when I came out and though I was uncomfortable with my body all my life, it wasnt until I hit the gay scene that I really started to have body image issues and my self-deprecation really set it.

    Honestly, fighting my own negativity and hate for myself was MUCH harder than fighting not having seconds or thirds.

    In the end you have to find the path that works best for you, whether it be working on yourself slowly at home then hitting the gym or getting lost in music to ignore everyone around you.

    Davey’s videos are a great way to get yourself educated. I use his lower ab workout and travel workout myself !

    There are also other groups and sites out there for support ! The internet can be a cruel place but it can also be very supportive. check my website for a place I have found that is SUPER supportive.

  10.  http://instagr.am/p/PVEZdmm0n8/

    Saw this and thought of you Scott

Trackbacks

  1. […] gym and feeling pretty stupid about it” have lead me to some great blog posts, like this, and this. The thing is, many people have gone before me, and lots of them have written about it on the […]