Hey, you! Hiding in the back row of yoga class. Get up here! No one should ever make you feel like you don’t belong at the gym but for way too many plus-size women that feeling is all too common.

If you’ve joined and quit more gym memberships than you can count — either from a toxic gym culture of ripped-bods-only or not feeling confident using the equipment — it’s time to flip the script on gym anxiety.

Gymtimidation, or the fear of working out at a gym, is as real as fatphobia in the fitness industry — making it that much harder for curvy women to feel confident getting their workout on.

But fitspirational women everywhere are showing up and showing everyone just how possible it is to be plus-size, happy and fit. From owning your space to plus-size sports bras built for bounce control, here’s how to enjoy the gym with confidence.

1. Change the Voice in Your Head

The biggest source of motivation is your own thoughts, so think big. Tell yourself your body is strong and capable (because, girl, it IS). Tell off anyone who thinks otherwise and thinks it’s OK to say so. Motivation doesn’t come from the “after” image, it comes from the satisfaction of setting goals, working toward them and knowing your body can do anything.

2. Have a Get-Pumped Playlist Ready

Your workout world is all your own, especially when you set it to the energetic rhythm of your favorite songs. Might we recommend Lizzo for the top of your plus-size fitness playlist?

Juice, Truth Hurts, Good as Hell...any number of this queen’s feel-good, do-you beats will have you tuning out the haters and getting into your groove in no time. If anyone’s staring, it’ll be because your dance moves are off the charts, so let ‘em stare.

3. Always Listen to Your Body

It’s easy to fall into the mind-trap of believing that a modified workout is less of a workout. But no one goes from zero to 100 without 99 steps in between.

Whether your body is telling you to ease up or find a different modification, listen to it. Modified workouts are foundational to improvement. Some days you’re going to leave the gym floating on a cloud because you pushed harder than you’ve ever gone before. Other days, the gym is just a much-needed safe space to zone out and leave all your stress at the door. Both are good gym days.

4. Exercise Isn’t About Compensation or Comparison

If you think of going to the gym in terms of “canceling out last night’s pizza” or “getting bikini ready pre-beach season,” you’re missing out on what makes the gym fun. When you treat your body like a frenemy undeserving of praise (or calories), you take the joy out of working out. Instead, focus on how happy you’ll feel (and how well you’ll sleep) after a good sweat sesh, thanks to a rush of endorphins.

5. Don’t Apologize for Taking Up Space

Own your space. When you walk into a weight room or a spin class or a yoga studio, remember that you have every right to be there, take up space and move freely without worrying about what others think. That squat rack? It’s there for you, too.

The bike in the front row? Claim it. That yoga membership? You pay as much as anyone else for it — get every dollars worth out of your practice. Fitness isn’t about fitting in, it’s a mindset of doing whatever it takes to meet your goals, not the perceived expectations of other gym-goes getting their own version of fitspo on.

6. Be as Self-Focused as Everyone Else at the Gym

On that note, no one at the gym is there to watch you workout. Real talk: The only person most people at the gym are checking out is their own reflection in the mirror.

If you find yourself feeling insecure about others watching you, remind yourself that they’re probably feeling the same thing, too. Everyone thinks everyone else is watching them.

But in reality, we’re our own worst critics here. So stay focused on doing your thing. Even if someone is looking your way, who really cares what anyone else thinks of your workout? You show up for you, not them.

7. Gear Up to Get Motivated

Just like a new outfit can make you feel like a total boss taking on Monday, the right workout clothes can be all the fitspo you need to kick gymtimidation’s butt. We’re firm believers that any workout — whether yoga, running or weight training — is better with bounce control.

Peek our Glamorise sports bras to up your gym confidence by keeping the girls on lock-down from start to finish line. Ready? Set. Get after it! Because when you turn gymtimidation into gym liberation, not because it changes your body but because it feels good, you’re making the gym a better place for everyone.

Author: Katie Joy Blanksma
Last updated on: 8/12/21

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