Your Bod

Follow these tips to *never* be insecure at the gym again

You think Zumba classes look pretty fun and you totally love the idea of exercising and having a healthy lifestyle. The problem? Everyone at the gym (or in P.E. at school) looks super fit and athletic...and you feel a little embarrassed in comparison. How can you work out surrounded by other people without feeling self-conscious about your body and your abilities? Check out these tips.

Realize *why* people work out.
An important first step is to realize that people don’t usually go to the gym to just judge other people—they go to improve themselves. And that means, well, focusing on themselves and not everyone else. You might feel like all eyes will be on you but chances are, a lot of people in the gym are probably in their own little worlds.

Focus on yourself.
Yes, this is tough. But working out is about staying healthy, not about impressing other people. What other people think doesn’t matter—you’re doing this for you, not for them.

Start with a low-intensity class.
If you haven’t really worked out before, it can be intimidating to start working out on your own. What are all these machines? Where do you begin? If you feel a little overwhelmed, you can join a class like Zumba or yoga. Group fitness classes might seem scary but they're a great way to learn and also meet new people. 

Value your strengths.
Especially when it comes to P.E. at school, you can’t exactly choose your workouts. And TBH, you won’t be good at everything. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to not be able to shoot a basket or do a pull-up, but you know what? You have other great skills that other people don’t have. Everyone has weaknesses. 

Bring (or meet) an encouraging friend.
If you can’t stop focusing on your body and your insecurities, bring a friend or meet new friends. When you have a buddy with you, you’ll have a lot more fun and feel *way* less intimidated by that girl bench pressing mega pounds. 

Don’t compare yourself to others.
Everyone starts somewhere and everyone has a different body shape. Maybe the girl you see on the treadmill has a naturally skinny figure. Maybe the really fit-looking girl in your gym class has had an amazing workout routine for years and didn’t always look that way. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and don’t always reflect how healthy you are. 

Help change the culture.
The environment at a gym or in your gym class depends on the people and their attitudes. You can help change this by having a positive attitude and encouraging others. Cheer on other students in your class as they run the mile. Celebrate everyone (not just the super fit people) and their athletic accomplishments. Don’t shame other people for their bodies—and that includes the ones who are "perfect." That girl you're jealous of probably has insecurities, too. 

How do you stay confident in gym class or at the gym? Let us know in the comments.  

We want to hear from you! Send us your weirdest body questions here (seriously, we'll answer anything!) and it just might get featured.

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by Paige Sheffield | 9/10/2018