Whether it’s the sudden realisation of all those christmas calories we devoured, or the ‘new year, new me (for a few days)’ resolutions, or whether everyone has only just remembered Trump’s victory and feels the need to hide their tears in a veil of sweat, whatever the reason the gym is full. And when the gym is full, the anxiety of stepping into that arena of ‘perfect’ bodies can be unbearable.
Suddenly you feel all eyes on you. You stare at the ground and make your way to a machine trying everything in your power not to make eye contact with anyone. I know the feeling. Stepping onto that running machine and feeling that everyone behind you is laughing like hyenas whilst caressing their own six-packs. Your palms start to sweat even though you haven’t started running yet! You hear murmurs of chatter and instantly assume they’re gossiping about you: “Maybe I’m not exercising ‘correctly’. Maybe my tummy is jiggling. Maybe my face is so red and sweaty they’re about to call an ambulance for me. Ah god… what if my running leggings are see-through?! Did I at least wear pretty underwear today… think! … nope, I did not… oh god”… and it goes on.
But the truth is, no one is looking. No one cares what you are doing in the gym. The whole concept and purpose of the gym is concentrated around the self and the individual. It’s a place where people go to improve themselves, their own health, their own looks. It’s a vain environment and that’s not exactly a bad thing. Majority of gym-goers are looking in the mirror not at you. And no matter how perfect their body may seem, they are also there to improve and maintain. Likelihood is they will have the same insecurities and anxieties as you.
Obviously we do compare ourselves to others in the gym and not everyone has the same ‘keep-your-thoughts-to-yourself’ attitude. Last year a girl at my local gym told me to get off the running machine. All the other machines were taken, and she wanted a go. She asked me to get off because I was, and I quote, “wasting [my] time trying”. I’m not going to lie I was really shook-up by this. Not only was I offended at how rude she’d been, and shocked that a stranger would actually say this to another human being, but a piece of my faith in sisterhood and girl power took a hefty blow. Looking back I’m glad I told her “no”, carried on running, and after sulking home let my outrage out to my housemates. Although I hadn’t let the girl see my pain, it did hurt and I did consider packing the gym in. But my housemates convinced me otherwise. Now, one year later and a stone lighter I am so happy I did not give up.
So my point is, nobody cares what you are doing in the gym, and if they do they’re probably insecure themselves, or they just need to grow up. And hey if you need a healthy way to channel that anger towards Trump’s inauguration… run, cycle and I personally recommend beating the shit out of a punch bag.
P.S. follow my Spotify Playlist #ThisGirlCan inspired by Nike’s Campaign (http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/feel-inspired/)! Songs Include:
Run The World (Girls) – Beyonce
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
River – Bishop Briggs
Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae
Confident – Demi Lovato
Hard Out Here – Lily Allen
Move (The Alias Radio Edit) – Little Mix
Burn – Ellie Goulding