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Getting past my insecurities about joining a gym

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I recently joined a gym because in the past year it’s gotten harder to maintain the level of fitness I’m used to, which I’m assuming is due to being another year older and my metabolism slowing down. Ah yes, the joys of getting older. I feel like I’ve been working out twice as much and eating half as little as I used to yet I still can’t get back to being at fit as I was even a year ago, which is frustrating. So, I decided joining a gym where I’d have access to better equipment and training was the way to go. That may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is because it’s one of those things I never thought I would do.

For most of my life I hated my body and was not comfortable being in places where I would be noticed. Having to take PE classes in school was miserable for me. I was a pretty fair athlete and did well in sports, but having to be in the locker room and change in front of my classmates was extremely uncomfortable for me. Being in the Army forced me to deal with my insecurities and that helped a bit, but the anxiety and insecurities were never too far away. Transitioning was a big step towards being more comfortable with my body, and the self-confidence that came along with that was life-changing in so many ways. I’m perfectly comfortable now wearing a bikini as I stroll along the beach, and I’ve bared all when I did my shoot with Grooby, but there were still some things which felt like were off-limits because of my old insecurities, such as going to a gym. But I put my fears aside and scheduled a tour with a nearby gym. As I walked into the lobby for my appointment to take a tour of the gym and talk with the trainers I immediately felt the old fears and insecurities returning, that I’d be scrutinized and judged as to my worthiness. And oddly enough it had nothing to do with being trans. I did check as to this particular gym’s policy regarding transgender members, and although there had been a few issues in other states, that really wasn’t a concern to me. It was just me feeling uncomfortable and insecure in this particular environment.

I met first with someone who talked about the facilities and memberships and gave me a tour, and I then met with Ben, one of the trainers, and we talked about why I wanted to join the gym and what I hoped to accomplish. Everyone was really nice, and they were darn good salesmen because I did sign up for a membership. And I decided to go with Ben as my trainer, which after I thought about it was a bit surprising since I had assumed that I would have asked for a woman trainer just out of being more comfortable with a woman. But Ben was obviously good at his job and was really nice and I felt comfortable with him right away. And he is also kinda cute. I would not have gone with the stereotypical macho gym rat trainer, which is what a lot of my old fears were based on.

Becca Benz gymThe next day was my first full workout with Ben, and he put me through a series of tests to measure my fitness, most of which I was in the top percentile for my age. Then we went over some specific exercises using resistance, weights, the various machines, and a medicine ball. I’d always wondered how to use a medicine ball, so it was cool to learn that. And then I went upstairs for my cardio on the treadmill. Being on the treadmill with all the other people was kind of neat because that’s what I always associate gyms with, and now I was one of them! And I managed to do the treadmill without falling off, so I was pleased!

The next day when I woke up I immediately knew I was sore. Good lord, I thought I was in good shape, but I must have used a lot of muscles during the workout that I hadn’t been using regularly! It took a lot of stretching to loosen up and work some of the soreness out, along with a few Ibuprofen and a heating pad. That was the same day I had to do the prep for my colonoscopy, so each of the 900 times I got up and down from the toilet I felt it with every muscle in my body, which just made the whole prepping experience all the more enjoyable! Lol
I’ve been going to the gym for nearly a month now and I’m getting into a routine and feeling more comfortable there, like I belong. I don’t worry about going into the locker room, I just go in and do what I need to do. I obviously don’t shower, which is not an issue, and I haven’t gotten any funny stares from the other women. I know I belong there and confidence is half the battle; I just walk in like I own the place!

I’m also feeling comfortable in the gym while working out, and not worrying if people are looking at me or judging me. I feel like a belong. Like I said, it’s all about confidence. And it helps that I’m tall and slender and already in pretty good shape. I see a lot of people there who are very out of shape and I think how difficult it must be for them to be there, and I admire their determination. We’re all just trying to be healthy and fit in and live our lives, and that’s a good thing.

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2 comments

  1. Jake

    Hi Becca,
    I am a big fan of yours. I think you are very attractive. I am much older than you and workout five times per week. Soreness is good up to a point! The key, I think, is consistency and it’s better to work out a short time, but regularly – as opposed to a lengthy workout infrequently. Combine free weights, machines and don’t neglect “cardio!” We have much in common: I am tall and slender and a military veteran and even though I have always exercised, I am still self-conscious at the gym!
    Keep up the great work and don’t quit. I am a masculine guy and you’re terrific!

    1. Becca Benz

      Hi Jake! Thank you so much for reading my blog and taking the time to comment; your kind words are very much appreciated. Thanks for the tips about working out at the gym; I agree consistency is really important. And thank you for your service Jake.

      Becca

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