The Overwhelming World Of Fitness, Simplified: Defeating Gymtimidation

The Overwhelming World Of Fitness, Simplified: Defeating Gymtimidation

Three key to defeating gymtimidation, without breaking a sweat.
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It doesn’t matter if it’s January 15th and everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions are in full swing or June 15th and you’re pounding beers and enjoying a keg belly, one thing doesn’t change: gymtimidation. Gymtimidation, or gym intimidation, is a powerful reality in the gym for people of all levels of fitness.

Gymtimidation, first of all, comes to people of all shapes and sizes — the 6’4, 240 lb wannabe bodybuilder, or the 5’2, 130 lb woman with killer curves, and everyone in between. According to Urban dictionary, gymtimidation is “when someone is very insecure about themselves and they feel threatened by others in the gym who are in good physical condition.” According to me, gymtimidation is the sensation of insecurity because of any underlying factor in a gym atmosphere.

Gymtimidation isn’t just some bullshit excuse not to go to the gym.

Even as a 4-year bodybuilder, I have faced gymtimidation every day I have gone to the gym. I believe some people are born naturally confident, while others struggle with confidence throughout their entire life no matter how they look. I write this to speak to the people in the latter category.

Overcoming gymtimidation is a three-key process; everyone loves threes, right?

The first key is realizing that everyone in that gym started somewhere different from where they are now. You would be surprised how many jacked guys I’ve met who used to be obese and incredibly insecure about their weight. I’ve met female physique competitors firsthand who used to struggle with eating disorders, whether it was binge eating or anorexia. Every person in the gym is simply trying to be a better version of themselves than they were yesterday.

Key two is even easier… you have to realize that successful people in the gym don’t give a damn what you’re doing. I promise you people aren’t watching you, and if they are, then they’re looking for one of two reasons:

1) you’re sexy AF or

2) they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

People who succeed in the gym aren’t judging you because they’re focused on themselves, as they should be. And even if people are looking at you, let them look while you are bettering yourself. Nothing else matters.

Key three is a key you will always have to work at to achieve. This key is creating a comfortable environment for yourself. Until you are comfortable working out around other people, go to the gym at non-peak hours so there are fewer people. Invest in a gym wardrobe that makes you feel confident in yourself: looking good is half of the battle.

Finally, being comfortable is all about knowing what you are doing in the gym. Until you know exactly what you are doing and can make adjustments to it in on the fly, write down everything you plan to do. If you don’t know how to do a particular exercise, look it up instead of cold attempting it for the first time in front of a lot of people. Knowledge is confidence.

Personally, I’ve etched away at my ideal physique for four years, and I can count on my hands how many times I’ve skipped the gym. I started lifting because my entire life I was made fun of because of my size, but now I have a physique most guys aspire for: a year-round toned stomach, big arms, and plenty of strength to back it up. But every single day I walk in that gym, it never fails that one little thing gets my attention. It tries to plague my thoughts. It tries to get in my head and tell me I’m not good enough.

The best of us suffer from gymtimidation.

Every time you walk in the gym, you have to remember what everyone is going to the gym for. Any mature adult is not going to judge you or hate on you for going to the gym to improve yourself, even if you don’t know everything you should about working out.

Overcoming gymtimidation is as simple as finding things in yourself to be confident about and building your knowledge of what you’re supposed to be doing.

As always, happy lifting!

Cover Image Credit: Public Domain Image

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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10 Small Diet Changes That Will Help You Lose Weight This Summer

Doing even just a few of these diet changes will impact your weight loss journey tremendously.

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I never used to watch my diet. I'd eat whatever I wanted even if that means eating McDonald's 3 times a day. When I was in the mindset, I gained so much weight. As soon as I started watching my diet and stopped eating McDonald's, I dropped 15 pounds. Then with exercise, I was able to lose more. But, it all starts with your diet.

1. Stop putting sugar in your coffee.

I started drinking my coffee black just a few months ago and it was life changing. One cup of coffee can have less than 5 calories in it. Putting sugar and cream can make your coffee really bad for you. One teaspoon of sugar is 16 calories and half and half has 37 for two tablespoons.

2. Minimize snacking and snack healthy.

We all do it. Snacking is hard to control, especially when you see cookies sitting on the counter or your favorite chips. It's hard not to take one or two. You may not realize how much sugar and calories are in those things. Replace those sugary and unhealthy snacks with veggies or fruit. Your body will thank you.

3. Cool it on the fast food.

Anytime anyone asks me how I stay fit, the first thing I say is I don't eat fast food. Occasionally, I'll get Chick-fil-a or a burger from a fast food joint but it is very rare. First of all, you have no clue what is actually in that food. Chicken nuggets from fast food places are "mechanically separated" and McDonald's french fries don't disintegrate even after 3 years. If mother nature can't disintegrate french fries, how do you think your body will handle it?

4. Eat a protein rich breakfast.

Eating protein in the morning will help suppress your hunger during the day. Instead of eating a bowl of sugary cereal, eat some eggs instead.

5. Drink water.

So many people are not hydrating enough. That can cause your body to think it's hungry. Instead of reaching for a snack, drink water and see how you feel afterwards.

6. Cut out the soda.

We all know soda is horrible for you. The other day, I watched my boyfriend pour diet coke on my corroded battery in my car to clean it. Do you really want that in your stomach? If you don't believe me, YouTube things that dissolve in soda. It's disgusting.

7. Watch your carbs.

Carbs aren't totally bad for you. There are such things as "healthy" carbs. These are things like oats, sweet potatoes, and kidney beans. Some of the "unhealthy" carbs are white bread, chocolate, and fruit juices with added sugars.

8. Cool it with alcohol.

Being in college, I see so many people binge drink every weekend. Not only is that horrible for your brain, but it's so bad for your diet. Even going to the gym won't always fix your beer gut if you continuously drink.

9. Portion control.

Being on a diet doesn't mean don't eat that chocolate cake. It means don't make a habit out of it. Restaurants almost always give too much. Don't force yourself to eat it. Get a to-go box instead.

10. Stop eating when you are sad and stressed.

Even though you might think it will help, this won't help your sadness. If anything you'll be sadder because you ate 10 cookies and now you don't feel good. Instead of eating, find other things to take your mind off those emotions. Exercise, journal, or do other hobbies when you're sad and stressed.

Even just following a few of these will help you stay healthy. Just be mindful of what you're putting in your body and your body will thank you.

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