How I Learned To Stop Being Scared Of The Boys At The Gym
The Debrief: Broga yoga (yoga for dudes) has landed - so here's how to get over being scared of the boys at the gym
First things first. I love the gym. Not because I’m like, a green juice swigging, pilates pushing, Instagram obsessed gym bunny. Nope. I’m a pretty average sized gal with an average diet who’s figured out that working out twice a week (three if I’m being very good) is a good way to gather my thoughts, banish anxiety and get in control of my life. It’s great.
I didn’t always see the gym as my safe haven, though. Back at university I used to dread it. I was scared to use any machine other than the running machine, scared to wear anything that wasn’t massive and baggy, and I wouldn’t have dreamed of heading down there without just a small lick of make-up on my face. And the really sad reason for this? I was scared what the boys would think. Oh good. I just said it out loud. Don’t judge me.
I know very well I’m not the only one, though. Plenty of my friends have said similar things to me over the years and, not wanting to exercise in front of men means there’s plenty of female-only gymsyou can join. As I’ve got older though, I realised a few things, and working out in front of men has become less of a fear and more of a ‘meh’. Here’s a few tips if you’re going through the same thing.
Realise that there aren't ‘boy machines’ and ‘girl machines’
For ages I thought there were invisible barriers that kept the girls away from the weight machines. And, because no-one told me otheriwse, I was too scared to make the transition over. For instance, what happens if you used the shoulder press wrong? Would all the boys stop what they were doing and laugh you out of the gym? Of course not.
Weights are for everyone. If you don’t know what you’re doing, go and ask a trainer. That’s what they’re there for. Plus, you’ve only got to look at a smallish chap looking wistfully at a beefcake on the chest press to realise that some of the boys are feeling just as insecure on the weights as you.
Men are dealing with their own set of issues
My uni gym was populated with massive chaps from the rugby team having a banterific time and making comments about everyone around them. In hindsight, this is obviously why I thought I needed to be scared of boys at the gym. But look a little closer and you’ll realise that plenty of even the biggest guys are dealing with their own shit.
The ideal male body as portrayed by the media is arguably in its most unachievable form ever. Even in a world where #dadbod is a thing, every other celeb male is tanned, toned and in the best shape of his life. Sure it’s something we as women have been dealing with our whole lives, but spare a thought for the poor chaps at the gym who are only having to figure it out now. Quite a few of them are probably desparately unhappy.
You’re overthinking it
I mean unless you genuinely have an actual set of misogynistic catcalling chaps at your gym to deal with (in which case, report it. Fuck them), the gym is a place where people tend to focus solely on themselves. Hell, do you really think people would cough up £60 a month to spend an hour killing themselves on the treadmill otherwise?
Chances are, no-one’s looking at you. In fact, no-one really cares that you’re there. Not in like, a bad way, its just that’s the beauty of the gym. You can do whatever the hell you want, without judgement. The levels of concentration some of these chaps are putting in, you could wear a pair of completely see-through leggings with a bikini top and they probably wouldn’t notice.
Now go forth and work out, you wonderful beautiful woman, you.
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Picture: Eugenia Loli
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