Traditional exercises have their place in my workout routine and I love squats, lunges, shoulder presses and dumbbell curls. But sometimes you want to work a muscle in a way that has you feeling kind of awkward. And when you’re the only woman in the weight room busting out some hip thrusts or doing lunges on the treadmill, sometimes exercise embarrassment takes over when people gawk at you as they pass (for all the wrong reasons). Or when you fall on your butt and hope that no one saw you (yeah that happened).
Let’s talk about exercise embarrassment and what to do about it…
Exercise embarrassment: When your moves look weird
No matter your fitness level or where you live in the world, sometimes going to the gym will leave you feeling awkward. You sweat buckets, make ugly faces (and sometimes noises), get in compromising positions and sometimes you fall. Speaking of falling, I wiped out the other day and have the cuts on my back to prove it. To make a long story short, basically I misjudged how far the bench was behind me when going into a one-legged squat. So imagine going to sit down in a chair except the chair is about a foot farther away than you thought. I went to sit, lower and lower until my leg gave out and the bench wasn’t there to cushion my fall. Nope, I slammed down hard and caught my lower back on the edge of the stitching on the bench and tore up the skin on my back.
A guy next to me caught the whole thing and actually laughed, not even asking if I was OK. I sat there for a good 10 seconds, stunned before I got up. It hurt, but luckily I was OK and after cleaning the cuts, I was back in business. Thankfully only one guy saw me but I was embarrassed!
So whether you wipe out on the treadmill, in the weight room or just feel awkward doing a move, remember these two points:
1. This sort of thing happens to everyone. We’re all fallible humans who make mistakes. I assure you that the fit, muscly dude over there probably dropped a barbell or two and that totally confident lady over there? Yeah, she’s tripped on the treadmill before. We all do it and it’s no big deal!
2. No one is paying attention to you. And if they are, they’ll forget about you in 5 seconds. Everyone is more concerned with their own form, how their butt looks, if that cute guy is looking at them, what they’re eating for dinner and how many reps they have left. Trust me, people are way more into themselves than they are you. Rock your weird exercises with confidence!
After you’ve done something embarrassing, here’s my advice on how to get over it and keep on moving forward:
1. Talk about it. Yup, I’m doing that right here (and my example above is not my only OOPS moment. I’ve tripped, stumbled, dropped stuff on my foot and been totally lost during dance class choreography, to name a few). Sharing your experience with a friend or family member will air it out, let you breathe and laugh at yourself. That feels really good.
2. Work out with a buddy. There’s strength in numbers! So if you’re intimated by a class or a particular gym, grab a friend and get going. You won’t be as embarrassed if you’re both doing hip thrusts or messing up the choreography.
3. Ease back into the gym if you’re feeling self-conscious but don’t give up. As they say, get back on the horse. The worst thing you can do is go into hiding and forget all about the gym. Remember, even if you’re embarrassed, no one else cares or even remembers if you embarrassed yourself!
4. And then LET IT GO. Tomorrow is a new day. Do YOU today and forget what everyone else thinks. And don’t forget to laugh at yourself!