The gym can be a daunting environment for many, but for some people there can be even more hurdles to overcome just to get your workout in.
Em Donkers, otherwise known as @nrgfitness, is no stranger to the feelings of not belonging and judgment. As a transmasc person, they often receive unwanted looks. But they don’t let it put them off. Instead, they’ve learned some tactics to ignore the stares and double takes. It’s taken time, but now they’ve built up a “don’t care” attitude. At the end of the day, your workout speaks for itself.
1. Avoid eye contact
This sounds like a simple one, and it is. But it’s easier said than done. By avoiding eye contact, you’ll never see if people are looking at you. This will allow you to stay focused on your workout, keep your mind-muscle connection, and reach a new PB.
And remember, if people are watching you, they’re probably just impressed. Don’t always assume the worst.
2. Lip-sync to your music
Most normal people head to the gym with headphones in hand, ready to drown out the noise and smash out a good few reps. One way Em feels confident in the gym is by lip-syncing to their favourite songs. It makes you look super comfortable, even if you’re feeling the opposite. It’s also a testament to your taste in music if you can’t help but sing along.
3. Wear your best gear
A tale as old as time: if you look good you’ll feel good. A good outfit is a sure-fire way to put a spring in your step. MP Clothing really know what they’re doing.
4. Wear a mask
This is completely down to personal preference, but Em recommends wearing a mask at the gym to help with feelings of dysphoria and feeling uneasy. Completing your workout might not be the most comfortable in a mask, so you can always wear it around the gym and take it off for your exercises, keep it on for the entire time, or don’t wear one at all. The choice is yours.
5. Work hard
This one is pretty much a given, since the majority of people going to the gym are aiming to work hard and reach their goals. Everyone respects hard work, especially in the gym. The gym is a place that people go to better themselves, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or anything else. By going to work on yourself you’ve already got something in common with the people around you. And it’s much easier to feel comfortable in an environment when you’ve got some common ground with everyone in there.
Take home message
The gym can be an intimidating place for some people, but there are some things you can do to build up confidence. Comfort comes with time, and until then, try Em’s tips to help you along the way.