Whether you consider yourself a plus-size person or not, it can be difficult to be confident and maintain body positivity walking into the gym. You may feel others are more experienced than you are, or you might find yourself fighting feelings of envy over people with ultra-fit bodies. When embarking on a plus-size fitness routine, there are a few tips you need to be aware of prior to hitting the gym or meeting your personal trainer.
Plus-Size Fitness: Tips for Boosting Your Confidence
With the emphasis our society places on weight loss, we have all been there no matter if you are fit or have a larger body. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you walk into a gym with the serious intent of becoming healthier only to be confronted with people that look seemingly picture-perfect. You secretly long to look like they do, and you may feel a silent shame that you are not there … yet. So, what do you do? How do you prevent yourself from backing out of your fitness journey?
Tip #1: Locate a Positive Fitness Area
It is easy to be discouraged that the people surrounding you seemingly embody the epitome of physical fitness. We all compare ourselves to others to some degree no matter what we look like. Worse yet, when overweight people enter the gym, many feel they are “sized up” by their yoga instructor or fitness instructor when they’re asked what modifications they require for their fitness level.
It can leave you feeling very uncomfortable when it seems people are assuming you are there to lose weight. What about strength training or toning? Most people just want to peacefully complete their workout routine void of comments, stares, the fear of someone posting a pic to social media, or wrong assumptions.
Find a #fatfitness or #bodypositiveworkout space. All you need to do is add these hashtags for a plethora of places to pop up close by you. These are what are known as body-positive fitness locations. Additionally, many classes are available virtually if you are self-conscious. Most people find it more encouraging to be around people who have a similar body type.
Tip #2: Don’t Choose a Popular Gym Just to Prove Something to Yourself or Others
When you go into a gym, you need to feel comfortable in your surroundings. You need to go to a place where instructors and other people are encouraging you to reach your physical fitness objectives. You need to feel supported no matter where you are in your fitness journey.
Choose a gym with positive instructors who will work with you to achieve your goals. If the gym is busy and you don’t want to go with a lot of people around, then work out outside of peak hours. You can also follow people only who have a similar body type to you. Many have larger bodies and post pics to encourage others.
If others make you feel bad about what you look like, then just put them on “mute” and keep striving to achieve your goals.
Tip #3: Plan Out Your Routine and the Equipment Beforehand
When you compare yourself to other people, it is easy to become intimidated by their fitness level and feel self-conscious about your own. When you go to a gym with a definitive plan of what exercises you want to do and what equipment you’re going to use, it will help you keep yourself focused. You will discover that your anxiety will decrease because you will be more purposeful in what you are doing.
Plan out what you want to do before each visit. Do cardio one day, strength training the next, then swimming, and then toning. Figure out what equipment you will use before you arrive.
Another thing that can help motivate you is listening to a podcast or music while working out. This will eliminate the feelings of self-consciousness and give you something to focus on besides the people around you.
Tip #4: Allow Time to Develop Your Routine
You may look around and feel like you just don’t fit in. For the most part, only time will make you feel comfortable in some spaces. The more time you spend there, the more confident and at ease you will feel.
Remind yourself that you belong and have a right to be there. Much of our negative self-talk is in our own heads. By creating and sticking to a routine, you will make everything feel more streamlined. Getting to know the people who frequently work out at the same time as you will additionally make you feel more confident.
Tip #5: Wear Comfortable Clothing and Shoes
This simply makes good sense. Your clothing should be appropriate for the gym and make you feel good about yourself. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive exercise gear when leggings and an oversized T-shirt work just as well.
Wear clothing that you feel good in. It should be breathable and allow you to move freely. Your shoes should be comfortable and supportive as well since you may spend a great deal of time on your feet. They should offer good arch support and be comfortable to move in.
Your shoes should also be appropriate for the activity you are doing. For example, if you are doing aerobics or any side-to-side motion, you will need cross trainers. If you are running on a treadmill, you will need runners. Cross trainers have mid-arch support to prevent ankle injuries. Runners allow for an increased range of motion.
Tip #6: Give Yourself Time Before Committing to a Location
Take your time in choosing the right gym for you. It should make you feel comfortable and be conveniently located. Look at several places to determine which suits you best. Does it have the best equipment for you? Do you feel comfortable overall? What features are you looking for?
Make a list of things you want out of a gym. Narrow your list down to three locations and visit them. See which one feels the best for you. Furthermore, there are also online video programs that you can also use from Noom and Healthi to assist you on your journey.
These are just a few tips when it comes to plus-size fitness. Exercising shouldn’t make you feel like you are in a fishbowl. It should be natural and enjoyable to be the most effective. Once it is, then you will be more motivated to follow through with your fitness goals and pick a location that supports and understands you.