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the “judgment-free zone.”

Posted Jan 21 2010 4:05pm

I’ve always felt self-conscious in the gym. I’ve never really been in great shape, I get winded fairly easily, and most of my free-weight exercises range from lifting 3-20 lbs (depending on the muscle group). Planet Fitness can call themselves a “judgment-free zone” all they like, but I believe it is still only human beings they accept as members. They may give some of us too much credit.

I could never help but feel like everyone was watching me jump on the treadmill, start desperately panting after 25 seconds (Goddamn, a minute is a long time to run), and step off after the hardest workout of my life… 5 minutes later… and thinking to themselves, “Wow, what a p&#*y.” (For the record, I hate that word.) I mean, isn’t there some guaranteed minimum of fitness and endurance for a 23-year-old non-smoker?

I brought this up to B – my extremely fit, marathon-running workout buddy/trainer – who corrected me in saying people are probably thinking the exact opposite. I’m doing low-impact exercises for minimum time and am still clearly pretty skinny. “She must be doing something right.” Obviously, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, fitness is judged by size. Which is ridiculous, because I am far from fit (yet) and we all know my size is does not come from working out. This results in my still feeling like I am being negatively judged.

On the contrary, maybe no one’s judging me at all. B also likes to often tell me, “get over yourself.” People may not even be paying attention to me in the gym. Once this realization hit, I realized my workouts have been going smoother. There’s something to be said for focusing on your own fitness training and no one else(’s). If that’s not motivation for tuning out the thoughts of other people’s.. thoughts.. I don’t know what is.

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