How To Not Feel Self-Conscious At The Gym

The Beginner's Guide To Not Feeling Self-Conscious At The Gym

The leading cause behind laziness as to why people won't workout.


My dad always told me if you can't get your point across in one sentence, there's no point in telling the story. So here's your one sentence summary — WHO THE HELL CARES?

OK, I get it. It seems like a lot of people care about what you're doing in the gym. If you're a girl, you think every single guy in the place is staring at you and you're comparing yourself to other women in the gym. If you're a guy, you think you have to look your smoothest at all times and try to be bigger and better and other guys. Right?

These are the thoughts that fuel our self-consciousness and I'm here to tell you that this couldn't be further from the truth.

Self-consciousness stems from the insecurities we have with ourselves: maybe we have a slight pudge, we can't lift a lot of weight, we're slow on the treadmill, etc. Then, when we're put into a place like a gym where most people aren't comfortable, we begin over-analyzing our environments and ourselves. Therefore, these insecurities that we have with ourselves become the first things we THINK people see in us. This couldn't be further from reality.

Let's put ourselves through the worst case scenario — your greatest insecurity is the first thing people notice about you. So what? From experience, people observe that for a few seconds, then go on about their days. If they don't, whose problem is that? They are wasting their time being infatuated with whatever it is they see about you.

But this worst case scenario is only a scenario one out 1,000 times. The other 999 times, we're just in our own heads.

The reality of the situation is that most people who go to the gym are there to work on themselves, not to try to change other people. Trust me, they are looking at themselves exponentially more than they are looking at you, and you have to keep this at the forefront of your mind the minute you walk into the gym.

Going off of people focusing on themselves, that's what YOU need to do as a person. You don't lose 20 pounds or pack on a few inches of muscle by obsessing over other people. Seriously, when you workout, find a mirror to do your lifts and cardio in front of. Look yourself in the eyes and have a conversation with yourself about what you're doing. You need to be in your own head in a good way, focusing all of your attention just on what you're doing. Forget other people, forget your surroundings, and lock yourself in your gym time.

Keeping the focus on yourself is the most important thing you must make a habit: nobody was born with a fantastic, toned body and a glorious muscle pump. The best models, bodybuilders, and athletes all started as beginners in the gym, and we must remember to walk in our own shoes instead of fitting in someone else's.

Finally, remember that making a game plan for your gym time is the single most effective way to go about working out. Even the most veteran lifters will get caught off guard not following a plan and stand there feeling dumb in the gym, even though they know exactly how to do everything. Having a game plan will increase your focus tenfold on getting the work done, meaning you won't get distracted and let your mind start wandering on things like self-consciousness. If you don't know what you're doing, ask someone. Seriously. That person will be humbled that you asked them, so you'll be making them feel better on top of making friends with them.

Bonus tips: make a feel-good gym playlist and lose yourself (in the music, the moment, you own it...). Also, working out with a friend who is on the same level as you are in the gym is the best way to push yourself and eliminate self-consciousness. My friend Shane and I started working out as skinny teenage guys and we always pushed each other to new limits, holding each other accountable along the way and hyping up one another to keep after the hustle.

So, go get your grind on and remember, focus on yourself first and foremost. The thing you are imagining in your head is definitely not reality, so grow your thick skin and stop giving a damn because you are in the gym to work on YOU!

Cover Image Credit:

Austin Goodwin

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An Open Letter From The Plus-Size Girl

It's OK not to be perfect. Life is more fun that way.


To whoever is reading this,

My entire life has been a juggling match between my weight and the world. Since I was a young girl every single doctor my family took me to, told me I needed to lose weight. The searing pain of those words still stabs me in the side to this day. I have walked past stores like Hollister and American Eagle since I was 13.

Being plus-size means watching girls the same age as you or older walk into a store that sells the cutest, in style clothing and you having to walk into a store that sells clothes that are very out of style for a young girl. Being plus-size means being picked last in gym class, even if you love sports.

Being plus-size means feeling like you have to suck it in in pictures so you don't look as big next to your friends. Being plus-size means constantly thinking people are staring at you, even if they aren't.

The number on the scale haunts me. Every single time I think about the number I cringe.

Can I just say how going shopping is an absolute nightmare? If you haven't noticed, in almost every store (that even has plus sizes to begin with) plus-size clothing is closed off and secluded from the rest of the store. For example, Forever 21, There are walls around every side of the plus "department."

Macy's plus department is in the basement, all the way in the back corner. We get it that we are not what society wants us to look like but throwing us in a corner isn't going to change the statistics in America today. That being that 67% of American women are plus-size.

My life is a double-digit number being carved into my jiggly arms and thunder thighs. It is me constantly wanting to dress cute but turning to running shorts and a gigantic sweatshirt instead so that people don't judge me on my size.

It is time that the American society stops making plus size look like a curse. It will never be a curse. If every person was the same size, what would be the point of uniqueness? I will never despise who I am because while I was growing up multiple people told me that I needed to be a size 6 in order for a guy to fall in love with me. I will never hate myself for getting dressed up and being confident.

To all the girls reading this who may be plus-size,

It's OK! You're beautiful and lovable. If you want to buy that crop top, buy it. Life is too short to hide behind a baggy T-shirt. We are just as gorgeous as the girls that we envy. Be the one to change the opinion of the world. Fat rolls don't need to be embarrassing. Your stretch marks are beautiful. Don't ever let the world tell you not to eat that cheeseburger either.

In the end, this earthly life is temporary. We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. Don't let anything stand in your way. Wear the bikini, the crop top, and the short shorts. Post the sassy selfie you've had on your phone for 6 months and you won't post because you have a double chin or your head looks "too big." Who cares. BE YOU and love yourself while you're at it.

I'll start.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Hockmeyer

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11 Reasons Why Hiking Should Become A Pivotal Part Of Your Life

It's good for the body and soul.


I was lucky enough to grow up 10 minutes from a national park. This meant that some of my earliest memories were riding on my dad's shoulders through miles of beautiful trails. As a got older, the simple joy of enjoying the fresh air and getting away from the craziness of life that hiking offered only made me fall in love with it more. Now, whenever I have a rough day or just need a break from stress, the first thing that I want to do is hit the trails.

1. Fresh air

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Being cooped up inside for too long can take a toll on anyone. Being able to get out and breathe the fresh air and feel the sun shining can instantly boost anyone's mood!

2. Exercise

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Hiking is a great way to get those extra steps in, and many areas have different paths you can take depending on your fitness level.

3. No electronics

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I am so guilty of going on my phone way too much. Being outdoors allows a break from social media and time to focus on being in the moment and enjoying the amazing world we live in.

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Hiking allows us to see some of the most gorgeous untouched pieces of nature. It is hard to not be amazed by how beautiful our earth is.

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9. Perfect way to exercise with dogs

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Instead of taking your dog around the neighborhood, switch it up and take them on a hike! It's a great workout for them, and oftentimes, a lot more enjoyable than the daily neighborhood route.

10.  It's free!

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What more needs to be said? Free fun is hard to come by nowadays, so going on a hike can help your bank account too!

11.  It's fun!

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What's not to love about the endless ways to enjoy hiking?

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