What can I do if I am overweight and intimidated by the gym?

Wendy Batts
This is a common one that a lot of folks have issues with and is very understandable. The gym can be an intimidating place. The first thing you may want to do is actually realize that not everyone in the gym has the perfect body or knows exactly what they’re doing. It just sometimes seems that way, especially if you are new to the gym. Truth is the gym is full of people that are not fitness crazed maniacs. Everyone there was new to the gym at some point in their lives and everyone has had moments of feeling awkward or not quite sure of what to do with themselves in there. No one’s there to judge and chances are they’re more worried about their own workouts than yours.

You can also seek out the help of a qualified fitness professional. Someone that can guide you step by step on the gym floor and teach you exactly what you should be doing can keep you motivated and comfortable.

If neither of those options appeals to you and you absolutely don’t want to set foot in the gym, there are tons of resources available to you to help you work out at home. You don’t need much, often just some dumbbells and maybe an exercise ball and tubing, and you’re on your way. Check with your local store or library for some exercise DVD’s that can get you moving.
The possibilities are quite numerous. First and foremost, congratulations on taking the first step. Don’t concern yourself so much with working out, but make it a habit to become more active and move more. If you find yourself sitting, get up. Pace around the house or yard. That alone will almost triple the amount of calories you burn per minute. For now, your weight will actually work for you. The heavier you are the more calories you will burn when in motion. Starting a walking program is an easy and cost-free way to burn calories. Start out small and see what you can do. Only 15 minutes? Not a problem. Even 10-minutes is a start. Plus, you can do several smaller sessions if that is easier to fit into your day to get the same benefits. Three 10-minute sessions of walking adds up to 30 minutes. As you are able, add more time. Once you feel comfortable, start to walk faster. This will increase your intensity and calorie burn per minute. Look for an enjoyable area to walk that has elevations or surface changes. These will help break the monotony and also change up your intensity. If walking gets old, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tapes and DVDs with bodyweight exercise programs. Find one you like and make your home your gym. As for resistance training, you don’t need much. There are plenty of inexpensive options such as dumbbell and tubing sets available almost anywhere. Look around and see what looks fun. The key is to do something active every day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.