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How do I overcome feeling self-conscious around so many fit people?

Exercising helps build the confidence you need to feel okay in uncomfortable gym situations. Realize that as individuals, we can't all look perfect and we don't start off in shape. Getting in shape takes time, effort and dedication. Try to find out where your feelings of self consciousness stem from. Social physique anxiety is a comparison of how people perceive they look in comparison to others they see around them. Gaining an understanding of your feelings and in addition, finding options of comfortable clothing to wear is important so that you feel you fit in.
What are you feeling self conscious about? :-) You are you! It's important to try not to let anyone make you feel less than you because you are a fabulous! What happens in these situations is that we start feeling guilty about not being in a different place; a place we wished we were in. These feelings are what continue to spiral us out of control: missing exercise, not eating well and not taking care of ourselves because we think 'why bother'. Comparison only makes us feel badly about ourselves and the place we are in but in reality at that moment you can't do anything about the place you are in so why make yourself feel bad? Instead why not do something makes you feel good? 

If going to the gym and being around other people is making you feel self conscious then don't go. Do some exercise outdoors or at home. Or if you do want to go to the gym you might want to try and find people who don't make you feel self conscious. Ask someone who works in the gym when there is a better time for you to go to the gym. 
Feeling self conscious about your physical appearance is quite normal when first starting out on an exercise program.  You have already shown great courage just by joining a health club and committing yourself to making a life style change.  Remember that all the fit people you see were probably feeling the same way when they first started out.  I know that when they see you, they see somebody who has bravely taken those difficult first steps and are hoping for your success.  Once you have gotten comfortable going to the club you will find many of those fit people are friendly and rooting you on.
After 12 years working in a gym, I know how intimidating it can be to join a health club. I understand that coming into the gym for the first time can be very scary. It does not have to be though. Try to focus on why you are joining the gym instead of what is keeping you out of the gym. You are never alone and these fears are very common but I assure you, people get over it with time and repetition of being in the health club. Fears diminish and thoughts move to focus on their own health and fitness success.

Take solace in the fact that all those intimidating fit people may not have always been so fit. Instead of seeing intimidation, see opportunities to build friendships with people you would like to emulate. Be inspired by them, learn from them, get to know them, but never be intimidated by them. And if you initiate contact, and a few people turn out to be rude, let it go, they are irrelevant. Focus on the people who are kind and help you towards your fitness goals. Remember if something is not moving you towards your goal, it is moving you away from your goal. So leave the intimidating fears at the door and focus on the most important thing...YOU!
Remember to keep your fitness goals in mind when working out.  There are many people at the health club in the same situation as you.  Find a good support group (friends) at the health club which will help encourage you on a daily basis.  Also, get to know some of the trainers.  Trainers will always have some uplifting words.  Hope this helps.

It’s not uncommon to focus on the people around us who appear to be successful in areas we’re working toward - we can use them for inspiration and motivation. There’s a danger, however, in becoming too hyper focused on others, judging ourselves in comparison, and believing others are judging us as well. 

If fitness is new to you and you’re looking to join a gym, look for one that has a diverse clientele. Remember that everyone is there for the same purpose, to stay healthy and get fit. Wear clothes that you’re comfortable in and allow yourself to really look at the people around you. You’ll find that many are at a similar stage in the game - just getting started. Recognizing that you’re not alone, consider yourself part of a community that is working in unison for a healthier lifestyle and jump right in.

If you attend a gym that offers group classes, try a few out. If you’re still feeling self conscious, you may want to start with a class like spin or yoga that works out in a dimly lit environment. Ease your way in without feeling as though all eyes are on you. Even in fully lit classes, however, you’ll find that most classes have a following, and as you get to know the other members, you’ll find you’re part of a great support system that can help you reach your goals.

The most important thing is to take a deep breath and keep going back. If you exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet, your body will naturally respond. Before long you’ll start seeing the results you’re looking for and you too will be an inspiration for others.

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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.