Going to the gym is never an easy task. Sometimes you lack the motivation, the time, the want, or even the desire to better yourself. However, for others going to the gym evokes emotions such as fear, embarrassment, dread, and sadness. As a person who is far from fit and arguably fat, I used to experience these emotions of dread and embarrassment when I just walked through the doors of the gym, let alone when I began working out. After a few months, I figured out it was OK to go to the gym as a fat person or to talk about protein or supplements as a fat person. Once I figured that out, it made going to the gym a lot more rewarding and less stressful.

First of all, when walking into the gym as a fat person you believe that everyone’s eyes are on you. You can almost feel the judgment as pudgy parts of you begin to jiggle. You feel out of place in your plain workout shorts and oversized T-shirt. You think that everyone is asking themselves questions like: “Is she lost?,” “She’s so fat, why is she even here” or “She is probably going through a New Year’s Resolution or phase.” However, no one is actually thinking these horrible thoughts; no one cares when they are just focused on themselves and improving their appearance. And if someone is judging you, it just means they are judging themselves even harder.

Second, some individuals will think as a fat person you have no idea what you are doing. At first, it was embarrassing, even mortifying, but then I figured out that it helped. Taking advice from individuals who have been going to the gym daily, if not bi-daily, really helps to work out different muscle groups, to avoid injuring yourself, or to learn the equipment you are using. When I returned to a new gym in my hometown over spring break, I was faced with the same types of individuals wondering if my pudgy self needed help. However, when I actually laid down and benched the weight, just watching the shock in their eyes made up for the past few months of dread and self-judgment that I experienced every day while going to the gym.

Third, even though I am fat I still have the right and the knowledge to talk about different protein powders, pre-workout and fitness supplements. Even though I have a pudgy exterior, this doesn’t mean I don’t know which protein powders contain high protein and low sugar and fat. At this point, I know my local GNC like the back of my hand. Whether it’s knowing that amino acids help with recovery, or that pre-workout is needed for my leg day, or even that I know Wheybolic Protein is way better than Muscle Milk, I know what I am talking about. Don’t worry, I might still be very pudgy and blubbery, but I can still have a very intelligent conversation with you about using protein supplements before or after exercise, or determining if you have the right workout regime to use pre-workout. However, having the knowledge about protein powders and pre-workout never justifies talking about them constantly. No one has the right to do that because it is downright annoying.

In the end, I figured that it was OK to go to the gym as a fat person. Once I stopped judging myself, I finally figured out that no one cares that I am fat and working out. After I told myself that going to the gym was necessary for my daily life, it made it easier to walk through the doors and past all of the individuals who are in shape. In some time, I could be one of those "in shape" people but right now I just need to focus on not cheating with that donut or actually pushing myself on leg day, even though every day is leg day. Going to the gym is hard for anyone, but once we stop judging ourselves, the gym becomes less of a monster and more of a friend.