I'v been on a diet for around 3 months now (since July) and I joined a gym around the same time. Since then, I've been having a lot of salads and in-taking more protein. I'm starting to see progress in my biceps and triceps but that's basically it.

One of the biggest reasons is that everyone in the gym always seem to be 'buddied up', meaning that they're always around their friends and they all surrounded the more advanced and heavier equipment, screaming, dropping the equipment, and leaving assisted weights the 12.5 KG and 15 KG left for me, and I'm ready to go beyond that now. I'm ready to work on my chest now so I can get rid of my 'man boobs', and do some leg exercises to straighten them and just start looking better overall. And seeing such large crowds is really a turn off, especially since the locations aren't large. The best location I've found is a small one that is almost always empty, but as you can imaging, most of the, and I don't know if I should be using this word, essential and effective equipment are not there.

It's really discouraging for me and I haven't been making any progress on my belly area, legs or weight loss overall. Last I weighed myself I was 218 lbs, then another I was 222 point something, and that was about a month ago. I'm terrified of weighing myself now because I think I might of even gained some. What should I do? I'm lost and if I don't get help soon I might fall back since obesity and diabetes run in my family.

  • I am inclinded to close this question as off-topic because this is really more of a question of how not to be shy. I asked on IPS, and it doesn't really fit their either. I will see how the community feels before summarily closing, and it might be worth a meta discussion.
    – JohnP
    Oct 19, 2018 at 20:20
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    Heya, Interpersonal Skills mod here. Right now, your question won't be a good fit on our site either, as we can't really help with overcoming shyness (That's not something between two people, it's intrapersonal instead of interpersonal), and we also don't accept the 'what should I do' type questions. But perhaps we can help you with finding some connection to the 'crowd', with asking them for help or another IPS goal. If you think that could help you, take a look at our meta post on good questions and feel free to ask a question on IPS. Oct 19, 2018 at 20:24
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    I know a lot of people, mostly women, that are treated horrible at gyms and don't come back, so I think it's ok to feel that way. Many people are not very nice to people that are different, especially in groups. I only work out at home for different reasons, but is that an option for you? Get a training mat, a pair of adjustable dumbbells and you can do basically anything you want in privacy any time you like. The weight thing, well, you have to check it. You have to know that you are doing it right or not, so track your progress even if it hurts. Once you're doing it right, it's worth it
    – Raditz_35
    Oct 20, 2018 at 15:37
  • Make yourself a home gym, all you really need is a pair of gymnastic rings and something to hang them on and maybe some weight plates to put on your backpack as you get stronger... later you might buy a barbell. All of this is actually going to be cheaper than going to the gym and training at home takes less time, no driving and no waiting . I agree people at gyms are nasty.
    – user29722
    Oct 24, 2018 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


I'm a personal trainer. I usually encounter something like this with clients who've been in a gym, but never really lifted weights. They've been in the treadmill section of the gym, but not the free weight.

Here are some random tips I've found to be helpful.

  • Go to the gym at a different time

If you're going at 5pm, just about any gym is going to be rowdy. I've been in YMCAs -usually low key gyms- that were still wild at 5pm. It's just how it is.

5 or 6am though? That's much more of a professional i.e. work type crowd. Nobody in their teens or 20s is in the gym at 6am!

Few people in the early crowd care what anybody around them is doing. They're at the gym to get a workout in and get on with their day. It's much more business like. They're also usually older and not as concerned about appearances. They're there for general health more than anything else.

  • Try to realize most are looking at themselves more than you

Many of the bodybuilding type dudes who turn people off from the free weight area are pretty into what they're doing, not others. That's kind of the nature of bodybuilding.

  • Go to a different gym

That said, there are gyms out there which cater to a more serious lifting crowd. These gyms seem to be getting rarer and rarer, but they exist.

Meanwhile, there has been a trend for gyms to more or less not allow these kinds of lifters. Places like Planet Fitness who don't want any grunting.

  • Hire a personal trainer

I've had many clients tell me they had concerns about the free weight section. All I do with them is immediately take them there and we start lifting. Because they come in with me, they see me say hi to people, 99% of whom are nice, I'll introduce the new client, etc. They right away relax.

Basically, you buddy up with the trainer since you don't have your own buddy. The trainer (should) knows how to navigate the space, adjust machines, the etiquette of that gym (each gym does have its own culture), etc.

I can't recall a single client ever still having issues with the free weight people after going in with me for a week or two. However, some do hate the busyness no matter what, in which case they just have to come in at a different time.

Getting up in the morning can be rough, but nearly everybody ends up liking it better from a workout point of view.

  • As a working professional in the Boston area, energetic 20-somethings are the lifeblood of the city workforce and you see plenty of them in the gym that early (myself included)! Not sure what that has to do with anything though. Also seems like OP is mid-20s based on picture
    – montserrat
    Oct 24, 2018 at 20:27
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    I worked in the Boston area too, in a gym. We didn't open til noon, because the primary demographic of the gym was high schoolers and college athletes. Check out circadian rhythm research if you want to get that rigorous. (It's relative. I don't literally mean no 20 something ever wakes up early. And Boston is a poor example, as it's an absurdly educated city. Educated => more likely to exercise.) It matters because young people lift more weight, which makes areas like the free weight section louder (more testosterone), which is where a lot of the intimidation can stem from.
    – b-reddy
    Oct 31, 2018 at 12:45
  • Hah, yes valid point. However I think you're specifically thinking of early 20's demographic (based on your high school/college target). Many of us working, especially demanding jobs like medical residencies and in law and one of the many start-ups, are forced to work out early. But anyway good points!
    – montserrat
    Oct 31, 2018 at 13:43

I am new to the community so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think this is a relevant question because it is a very important and very common stage to go through when you first begin working out. Not only that but if you can't overcome this obstacle, it will definitely impede your progress in working out (can't get fit if you skip going to the gym due to self-consciousness).

To address the question--in my experience, most people at the gym are going for the same reasons as you--to improve themselves physically and mentally. Most people who have this self-improvement mentality also may have started in a similar position as you, so realize that while you may see someone who is very fit on the outside, you haven't seen where they started. Therefore, you might feel that they judge you, but they actually might see where they once were and appreciate the journey that you are beginning.

There will always be those judgmental people out there. It might help to try to make friends with a regular at the gym who looks friendly, or to bring a friend with you. This is one of the lessons that working out can teach us--to block out the negativity, to focus on the positive things (and people) and use them to push you forward, and to use your workout time to center yourself in your own mind and get rid of the external distractions.

As for the weight loss, I would advocate for adding in some cardio component to help with some extra calorie burn. I used to only lift weights, but adding cardio made the difference in losing weight for me.

In summary, focus on people who have good intentions around you, block out any negative attention you may be feeling, and/or bring a buddy.

I hope that my rambling makes sense and helps you! Keep pushing forward!

  • Or just buy a pair of rings , weight plates... put them on a backpack and use it for ring pull ups,rows,dips,press ups and some squats... until you get strong enough to need a barbell. It's cheaper than a gym, saves you time and you don't have to be bothered by other people.
    – user29722
    Oct 24, 2018 at 16:41
  • @Alan You should submit this as an answer
    – montserrat
    Oct 24, 2018 at 20:24

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