What will people at the gym think of me?

A decorative cover image for the posts discussing my weight loss story.

As someone who’s getting closer to where she wants to be in her weight loss mission, I look back at where I was when I started, and where I was before I started this time around. Today’s post came to me when I was scrolling through the Quora rabbit hole, and it brought up some things for me about the gym.

As a heads-up, this post will draw on my own experiences, all of which happened before the pandemic came along. The gym I was going to shut down in March of 2020, and hasn’t yet reopened to the general public.

The original poster asked about what people who look a certain way think about others at the gym who don’t look like them. To use their words, they asked about what people typically perceived as fit think about overweight people at the gym.

During the course of my own weight loss this time around, I’d lurk in weight loss communities, and I remember seeing questions like this come up time and time again. Maybe not in these specific words, but the idea behind them was the same:

“What will people at the gym think of me?”

Before I started losing the weight this time around, I felt like this when I took up the gym several years prior in what turned out to be yet another failed attempt at weight loss. I joined a chain gym that took an hour-long bus ride both ways, so I had to time my trip out there just right. I had come out of a difficult experience in my life, and thankfully the jerk fuck who caused it is now super-ancient history.

So are the people who kicked me while I was down in the aftermath of that whole mess, but that’s a story for another time, more than likely never, since it isn’t the focus of this blog.

I ended up leaving that gym, and when I got the idea to try the gym again a few years later, I joined a club closer to home for me, with the amenities I’d been looking for all along. It was within biking distance of my old house, and it’s close to this one too. My old club didn’t have a pool, and this one did, which I was super stoked about. Now I didn’t have to wait until summer to get my pool fix on for three weeks out of the month, haha.

That go-round with the gym, I did manage to lose some weight, but the amount wasn’t worth writing home about. I rode my bike there six days a week, and even offered advice on the stationary bikes for a couple people unfamiliar with biking.

The whole time, I wondered what the others there thought of me. I definitely wondered what the people I gave the advice to thought of me. A part of me even still wonders, even though I never saw either of them again after that. My guess is they’re probably long gone from this town by now. If they’re still in town, they’ve moved on ages ago.

I let the gym membership lapse, and I figured that I’d rejoin once I reached a later point in my weight loss mission this time around, and do what I was still able to do. It wouldn’t be much, or anywhere near what I could do the last time I was at that gym, but every little bit counts for something, eh?

By then, I’d reached a point where I felt like I no longer needed the acceptance or validation from some rando I didn’t know from Adam or Eve.

This was in late 2019, before the pandemic officially came along. There were reports here and there of some weird illness that wasn’t the flu or a cold. As far as I know, it hadn’t yet reached my town. At least not at the macro level, anyway.

While I was at the gym, I saw people of all different abilities and fitness levels, same as I did with my previous sojourns. In my head, I rooted all of them on, regardless of where they were at, or where they appeared to be at from my vantage point.

If they were rooting me on likewise, I wasn’t interested, nor did I care whether they were or not. I had learned that what others thought of me wasn’t my business, especially when they didn’t know me from Eve.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

Besides, I can’t speak for all people perceived in a certain way as to what they think of overweight people at the gym. Just like no one culture is a monolith, no group of people who look certain ways are a monolith either.

I can only speak for myself, and I only speak for myself when I say that when people join gyms or embark on some kind of mission to better themselves in other ways, I’m here for it, and it’s my sincerest hope that they meet their goals, however long that takes.

If you’re reading this, and you’re wondering what I, someone you don’t know from Eve, think of you at a gym or out on the street going for a walk or whatever, I want you to know that I’m rooting for you. Whatever your goals look like, I hope you meet them. More importantly, I hope you reach a point where you no longer care what some stranger thinks of you.

Most of the people who responded to the asker on Quora in a similar way. I’ve heard horror stories from others looking to start their own weight loss mission, joined a gym, only to get made fun of and treated like total shyt.

I remember getting snide comments from someone before I lost the weight, and it felt horrible. I totally understand the fear of it happening. In my case, it didn’t happen at a gym. It happened elsewhere, and the conversation was about fitness.

It’s been my experience that any gym worth its’ salt won’t condone this kind of behavior toward others, and nobody with half a brain would ridicule someone looking to meet their health goals. If you find yourself in this situation, where someone at the gym’s making nasty comments to you about you or someone else, know that I’m so sorry this happened to you. You don’t deserve that kind of treatment. Nobody does.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to let the club staff know about what happened, take comfort in the fact that whatever you got going on can be fixed. Nothing can fix a crappy personality, no matter what they look like. Anyone willing to denigrate someone over their looks, trying to meet their health goals and ridicule them is a prejudiced mofo, so take anything they have to say, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, with the tiniest grain of salt.

Over to you, readers. Do you ever think about what others thought of you at a gym, or whatever venue you’ve chosen for physical activity? Do you still think about it? If not, how’d you get to that point? Sound off below, and let’s talk.

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