I hate the gym. Not because I’m thicker than a Snicker and would feel self-conscious working out among the sweat-slicked bodies of the get fit crew, but because I actually hate the repetition of gyms. But for many women who are trying to whip their bodies back in shape, the gym is the perfect starting place to build an exercise habit. Only there’s one problem: They are scared of being the “big girl” at the gym!

Let’s face it; going to the gym when you’re a newbie is daunting enough. You may not know how the equipment works, you probably won’t be able to keep up with the pros on the stair climber, and you might not even like it…for months.

But starting a new workout regimen when you’re overweight has its own set of challenges: getting winded quickly, figuring out what you’re going to wear so you don’t look fatter than you are (yes, sometimes this matters), and working out among the ripped bodies of fitness junkies can cause the most confident big gal to question herself, just a little bit.

So what to do if you’re worried about being the “big girl” at the gym?

First of all, stop. With 60-prcent of American either overweight or obese, there’s a good chance that you won’t be the only fluffy person at the gym. So ditch that fear and get moving.

Next, although it may seem shallow, having cute and comfortable workout clothes can boost your confidence. Leave the giant t-shirt and old sweats at home, when you look good, you’ll be more inclined to hit the gym, especially after those endorphins kick in.

Finally, give yourself permission to go slow. If you’ve been out of the gym for a while, then you’ll have to let your body get used to moving again. Don’t overdo it. Don’t try to keep up with the woman on the next treadmill, and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do the things you did last time you worked out. Take it slow.

Returning to the gym can seem daunting, but stick with it, soon you’ll be a pro.

Have you ever been the big girl (or gym) at the gym? How did you feel? 

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