Healthy Living for Mom: Getting Over My Fear of the Gym

"I knew it was time to stop being a pansy about the gym and to get my butt through those doors at least three times a week."

In my last post I mentioned that I had finally gotten brave enough to start going to the gym and had begun weight training.

I was visiting the gym about once a week—then I had a run in with a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs. And by “run in”, I mean that I ate an entire bag in one day.


No lie, as I was popping the last few candy-coated eggs into my mouth, I cruised past our wall calendar and noticed that I had only a few short weeks until I would be going on vacation.

Nothing motivates like a date with a swimsuit.

I became so annoyed with myself. I tossed the remains of the bag down the drain...which would have been much more impressive had more than 3 eggs puttered out of the bag.

I knew it was time to stop being a pansy about the gym and to get my butt through those doors at least three times a week.

The gym intimidates me. I feel like I’m supposed to march through those doors with a fair amount of skill/knowledge/strength/stamina.

The gym feels like a place you go when you already know what you’re doing. Where you go to hop on a treadmill and crank that puppy up and run your tush off for 30 minutes straight.

You know who goes the gym on Friday nights? Me....and apparently NO ONE ELSE.

You know who goes the gym on Friday nights? Me....and apparently NO ONE ELSE.

It’s uncomfortable to go and wander through the free weights and try to remember what you’re supposed to do to tone your triceps. Or to reach back into your brain and remember what each of the weight machines do.

I finally got brave enough to wade through the beefcake guys one night to try out the leg press machine. I quickly checked the weight posts and it already had 45 pounds on each side (back in the day, I could lift that) so I hopped on the machine. I released the safety levers, and lowered the weight...and I thought...I was die.

I did a set of ten and it was excruciating. With each lift I was wracking my brain and wondering if it was really possible that I was so much weaker than I was 10 years ago (the last time I recalled getting on that machine). I finished, stood up, and realized that there were two more weight posts on the machine that I hadn’t noticed before I started.

There was an additional 90 pounds on the machine! For a total of 180 pounds.

My legs hurt for days. 

It was at that point that I realized that I needed to get over my feeling of being out of place in the weights section of the gym. Why should I be overly rushed? Why should I feel like I’m intruding?

Are the beefcake dudes always hospitable? No.

Did one guy give me a full-on siiiiiigh and eye roll when I told him I had one more set to do. Yes.

Did I have to resist the urge to respond by saying, “I’ve lost 45 pounds in the last year, sucka. I’ll take as long as I want.” Why, yes. Yes, I did.

I wish the moral of this story was that I learned that the weights section is an all-inclusive, come-as-you-are haven for people wanting to get healthy and strong.

The real moral of this story is that I decided that I didn’t care.

Weight training made a huge difference for me. I’ve become much stronger and it’s made my at home workouts much more effective—because my chest and arms are stronger, I can do more push ups. My time on the leg press has made it possible for me to do much longer wall sits. You get the drift.

So when I start to feel like I’m intruding or that I’m not skilled enough to be in the weights section, I slow down and think about all of the tank tops I’m going to wear this summer to show off my arms.


Weight Lost Stats

  • Starting Weight: 195.5 pounds
  • Week 33 Weight: 158.5 pounds (-37 pounds total)

Here’s my previous Healthy Living for Mom post and you can see the whole series here