Overcoming Gymtimidation: According to a Plus Sized Trainer

I remember when I started my fitness journey seven years ago. I felt like all eyes were on me and I, in noway, belonged in the gym (or so I thought). I would go to the gym EARLY in the morning to avoid people. Then, I would look for the emptiest space in the room to workout and after all that, I would still scan the room to make sure no one was looking at me. I was so consumed by what other people thought that I wasn’t accomplishing shit. Which led to frustration, which led to tears, which led to self-loathing, which led to not going to the gym, and so on. It was a vicious cycle that hurt more than it helped. Looking back, I realize I was quite conceded to think that every person in the gym cared about what I was doing. In reality, no one really cared and I just was holding myself back.

RT: You go to the gym for YOU and once you understand that, the gym isn’t so scary.

Here are some of the things I did to help me overcome that destructive way of thinking and was able to confidently walk my chubby little self into the gym.

Tip #1: Clothes. Friend, let me tell you! The right clothes can make you feel like you can do anything! Yo need to find clothes that fit your body type. This chart was super helpful when I started shopping for new gym clothes. I have an hourglass-pearish figure; I’ve got the thunder-lious thighs, hips for days and the broad shoulders to go with ’em. So, I wear high-waisted leggings and v-neck or high-necks tops. This style is how I feel my best, therefore, I do my best. Take a moment to find the body type(s) that best describe you. Then, look for clothes that will be most flattering.

Most importantly, YOU DO YOU. Wear the clothes that make you feel good. This chart is just a guide that helped me understand my body a bit better.


Oh, one more thing, do a booty check before you buy the leggings. When you try on your leggings, bend over in the mirror and make sure you can’t see you panties or your crack. Trust me, more leggings are see through than you would think. I get my gym clothes from T.J. Maxx and Walmart; Walmart has really upped their game when I comes to their leggings.

Tip #2: Music. Block out the haters with a badass playlist. Make yourself a solid playlist and play it BEFORE you get to the gym. This will help you to get into a good, confident mindset. Then, when you get to the gym, put in your headphones and let the music take you to your own world and never look back. Your workout will be 1,000,000% more fun with the right music.

If you can afford it, I recommend getting a Spotify Premium account; it’s around $10 a month. Spotify Premium gives you more control over your music and you don’t have to deal with the God-awful ads. Nothing kills a workout more than an ad. (and no, this isn’t sponsored. I’m just passionate about my music.)

Tip #3: Educate Yourself. You’ll walk into the gym with a hell of a lot more confidence if you know what you are doing. Knowledge is power after all. Here are a couple of references you can use: Ace Exercise Library and Functional Movement.

Learn to do the exercises correctly and it won’t even matter if people are watching. Show them how it’s done 😉. Plus, you will get better results if you are doing the movements correctly. Quality over quantity, always.

Tip #4: Mindset. Mindset is EVERYTHING! The way you feel about yourself and the way you view exercise matters. Your mindset will make or break your fitness journey. Take a moment and think about why you are starting this journey. If “because I hate my body” is your reason, then you will more than likely fail; sorry not sorry. You will have a higher chance of succeeding if you have more intrinsic motivators than extrinsic. Examples of intrinsic motivators are “I want to be able to do whatever I want without physical limitations,” “I want to be able to go up the stairs without losing my breath,” or ” I want to be able to keep up with my kids”. Extrinsic motivators would sound like “I want to be skinny” or “I hate the way I look”. It is okay to want to look good naked. I mean, who doesn’t want to look good naked? Just try to have more intrinsic motivators than extrinsic and be sure your extrinsic motivators aren’t coming from a place of hate.

You must learn to love yourself AS YOU ARE. Then, I promise, you will be more successful in your fitness journey. Check out my Journey to Self-Love post from last week to help you along the way.

Tip #5: Practice.

Sometimes you have to jump into the deep end. Everyone has to start somewhere. So, get your playlist going, have your knowledge ready and get in the gym. The more often you ‘practice’ the more comfortable you’ll be. Nothing grows from the comfort zone.

Tip #6: Make Friends. Take a moment to talk to the front desk staff or the other participants in a group fitness class. The gym won’t seem so scary if you know some of the people there. I promise they won’t bite and, more often then not, they’ll be friendly and happy to know you. This is also a good chance to find an accountability buddy! Holding each other accountable will greatly increase your chances of success.

Tip #7: Group Fitness Classes/Personal Training. I encourage you to try group fitness classes. Group fitness classes are a great way to try different modalities, or types of exercise, as well as make friends! Get to the class a little early to introduce yourself to the instructor and let him/her know you’re new. They will be more than happy to help you get set up.

Another good option is hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions. Personal trainers will teach you how to safety execute exercises and give you helpful guidance in the gym. I offer a few different options for one-on-one training and I am more than happy to work with you. You can click here to see what options might be helpful for you. As an added bonus, your initial consultation will be free! Just mention that you’ve read this blog!

I hope this was helpful as you work through your gymtimidation. I know how hard it can be. Just remember, you have a space at the gym. You belong at the gym just as much as anyone else.

Most importantly,

Just keep going. I promise it gets easier.


If you have a concern I didn’t address feel free to message me. I would love to answer any questions you may have. I am here for YOU ❤

Published by Emilee Cornwell

Hi! My name is Emilee. I am a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer, YMCA group exercise instructor and health coach, and Stairmaster H.I.I.T certified. More so than that I am a plus sized fitness professional. I am passionate about body positivity and learning to love who you are as you are. I want to share my experiences of going from sedentary to fitness lover and from living off fast food to craving greens.

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