Time and time again you hear about people saying they can’t work out in public (gym, walking/running, playing sports, etc.) because they’re not fit enough yet. They feel like people will silently judge them, or snicker in the corner about the “fat ass” who is sweating on the treadmill.
Sure, there are a few of those types. But from what I’ve heard from most of the gym rats, the worst of the criticism is in your own head. When you are noticed, people might want to help you with your form, or are seeing the progress you’re making. To quote Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” So relax, you’re probably surrounded by some of the happiest people on earth! (As long as you don’t stand between them and their post-workout meal.)
But yes, you probably are noticed. You want to know my thoughts when I pass people on the trail during my runs?
The following are some actual thoughts I have had…I kid you not…
“They’re walking on their lunch break. Good for them!”
“I think I just passed by the Old Spice Guy! Or at least his twin brother!UNF!”
“Where did she get those cute shorts? Would my ass look that good in them?”
“I’m a Barbie Girl! In a Barbie wooor…OH FUCK, WAS I SINGING OUT LOUD?!”
“I wish I had a walking/running partner like that!”
“Damn, they look good!”
“I wonder what she’s listening to?”
“Aww, look at the kids! Oh wait, one’s whining. Ovaries have just shut down again.”
“My backpack’s got jets! I’m Boba the Fett! I bounty hunt for…FUCK, I PROBABLY LOOK LIKE I’M TALKING TO MYSELF!”
“Haha! My WoW shirt got noticed! For the Horde, bro!”
“Water…water!” *a minute later* “Oil…oil! Room service! Room service!”
“They think I look like I’m about to pass out, don’t they? DAMN MY FAIR AND RED-TONED SKIN!”
“Ooh, it’s that lady with the beastly abs that I saw the first day I took a walk here! YOU GO, BEASTLY ABS LADY!”
“I wish I had thought of that. Tomorrow: French braid!”
“Where did she get that cool water bottle?!”
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Now you might be thinking that I didn’t post any of my negative thoughts or criticisms on here. I know I’ve passed by people who were more overweight or out of shape than I am. Honestly, I’m usually thinking good thoughts toward them, and am proud that they’re out there getting it done. Most of my negative thoughts are toward myself. I think that I don’t look as good, or I’m aware that my butt jiggles when I run, or I know my face is tomato-red.
And then I pass by a stranger and we do the smile-and-nod thing at each other. Suddenly I feel accepted, despite all my flaws.
Give it a shot and get out there anyway. It’s true that most of your worries are in your head. I guarantee you there are plenty people who see YOU as they pass or drive by and think, “Man, I wish I could do that!”