Gym Shaming…Got It All Wrong

I’ve been away for a while, but I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and thinking and I feel like I have more to share so here I am.  Quite a while ago, I wrote a post about gym shaming and said that I felt not quite supported at a workout studio where I had a membership.  I haven’t gone there in over a year, but recently returned and feel really great about it.

First of all, I had taken 99 classes at this studio and at class 100, you get a special reward.  I got several emails reminding me that I only needed that one class to reach the 100 milestone.  They also offered me a free class to get to 100 along with several other enticements.  At the time, I wasn’t ready to go back so I didn’t take them up on their offer.

Fast forward to 10 months after the last class I took, I got another email from the new manager of the studio.  She was very upbeat and really wanted to help me reach the 100 milestone, I decided that it was time to go back and reach that goal.  During the time I was away from that studio, I found that when I took other classes at other studios or gyms, I always used the strategies I learned at that studio.  I also realized that they had a much more personalized approach because if you were doing a move incorrectly or were using the wrong form, they would help you with your form or help you modify if you couldn’t do a particular move.  Instructors at other studios and gyms didn’t always do that.  I also felt that I had much better form when doing the other classes because of methods I was taught at that studio.

I went back for my 100th class several weeks ago and I was welcomed back with open arms.  Instructors that were there when I last took classes were still there and they were happy to see me.  I told them that it was almost a year since I was there and they couldn’t believe it.  My husband bought me a gift card for the studio for Valentine’s Day and when he was buying it, another instructor asked where I had been and told him to say hello to me.  It made me feel so happy and supported.  I think that it was a great decision to return both for my body health and mental health.

I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I left and returned.  I didn’t realize how supported I actually was until I went elsewhere and didn’t get any type of feedback.  I also realized that my workout is MY workout and as long as I am feeling good about what I am doing, it doesn’t matter what others think.  Seeking outside approval gives others all the power and then you become dependent on outside sources for validation.  Your self-worth is all up to you and you need to embrace what you are doing, live in the moment and be grateful for all you can do.

18 Comments

  • Wow! I love when you feel supported while working out…It keeps the motivation going!

  • I must have missed your post on gym shaming. Can you link to it? I’d love to read it! I have a love/hate relationship with classes. I like being in a class because you are pushed to work harder and it’s more fun to work out together. But I don’t like the comparison and the “social pressure” that comes with it!

  • I know exactly what you’re talking about! I had such lovely instructor at this one gym but then she moved to a different country which was a bummer. It’s such a huge difference when you have such great support during your workouts!

  • I love the idea of you need to be your own motivation ? Sometimes I will definitely look more to others for validation in my workouts when I should be focusing on how I’m feeling. Thanks for sharing!

  • I’m glad you went back. Very few gyms make you feel like you are a person that they care about. It’s a great feeling when they do.

  • This is such a timely post! We just started our membership at a new gym and while the coaches are all very nice, we feel very much like outsiders. But you’re right, we really shouldn’t worry about that. Glad you went back!

    • I’m so sorry that you are having that experience…I know that it can really affect your psyche…remember that you are there for yourself and that it is YOUR workout. Gyms can have a real tight community and once you get to know others, it feels more comfortable. I hope your experience improves and keep up the good work in the gym!!!

  • That’s so wonderful that you have a place where you feel loved and supported – and welcomed with open arms even after you were away for a while. I feel like I had that at my gym but things are changing and I’m bummed to think my supportive little “family” wont be there anymore.

  • That’s amazing you got that many emails asking you to come back and do the 100th class! Here in the DC area you only get that kind of attention when you are paying for a personal trainer. Sounds like you definitely made the right decision in going back! 🙂

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