As the New Year has begun, the inevitable list of Resolutions are made by millions of people to start their year off right and change something that they are currently doing for the better. The most common resolution people make is of course to lose weight, and that couldn’t be further from the truth when you go to your local gym for the first couple of months in the year and notice the overcrowding of said “Resolution-ers”. Many of them happen to break those resolutions and eventually the gym becomes the regulars that you see on a daily basis. So what happens when you are one of the people who stick to your resolution, have weight to lose, and are surrounded by men who from your own point of view have met their goals and then some? We are talking about the muscle bears, gym bunnies and general men who are in great shape that to the average Joe’s out there are looking to in some way resemble them whether it is for muscle mass or a lean physique. When it comes from someone who is looking to achieve their workout goals but aren’t there yet, do we view these men as intimidating because of their physique or is it merely insecurity that each of us experience on our own end?
I myself am someone who resides both in New York City for work and Long Island where I live. For years I used to go to a local gym on Long Island where for the most part it is a wide gamut of people, both men and women, of all ages, shapes and sizes. The “gym-timidation” wasn’t necessarily there as it seemed to be more regular people going and just enjoying their time. I weighed at my heaviest 280 and when I went to these local gyms my main focus was in fact just losing the weight and that was it. It was very easy for me to drop after a while and at my lightest I was 215. I felt amazing and the constant affirmations I would get from friends and family helped that cause out. Due to my work schedule in New York City, going to the gym back at home became a bit of an exhaustive type of thing due to my long commute back home and I figured going to one in the city would be beneficial for me as I would still have a ton of energy that I can burn off after I left work. So I decided to join one in the city, a primarily gay one. That is when the focus for me shifted a bit.
I joined the brand new Crunch Fitness on 19th and 8th, and was able to get a pretty sweet deal due to knowing a guy who at that point worked there as a trainer. This was where the shift for me really occurred. It became a situation where the majority of the men in there were Adonis like, ranging from my age to above and they were everywhere in a much smaller space than my last gym. Whether doing cardio, arms, legs or whatever floats your boat there they would be right in front of you, lifting more than your entire body plus 200 pounds or doing some insane leg workout you thought was reserved for freak show acts at the circus. On top of that, you have the locker room. As amazing as they would look, the comparisons would become that much greater as it became increasingly awkward to walk around in a towel (designed for washing dishes, not bodies FYI) and seeing where they are aceing and you are not quite there yet. Now this is just my common experience, and it does read insecurity of course as it has been an epic battle to get where my body needs to be, but do these quote unquote “Muscle Bears” make us feel this way due to how they look and interact at the gym, or really is it that unique individual whose insecurity breeds in these types of situations?
I took off five months off recently from the gym for whatever stupid reasons I did, and now that I am back and have put on quite a bit of weight. I am back at at 4-5 times a week and am determined to get back on track and get myself to the goals that I want. Yet I did feel that insecurity come back a bit after a long time off, and decided to ask a bunch of my friends if they have had similar experiences with other guys at the gym.
“I’m intimidated by EVERYBODY fit or fat alike.” #SocialAnxiety
“It’s probably insecurity. I’ve never spoken to a guy who I thought was jacked at the gym who ended up being a douche. But I also go to serous bodybuilder gyms with less social nonsense.”
“When I was really fat and when I was really skinny, the really jacked guys were actually nice to me. They were encouraging and glad to see me in the gym making a difference. Now, the kinda-fit gym bunnies are assholes a lot of the time. They’ll be judgmental about fat people or skinny people because that’s what they do. Serious lifters love the gym and love to share that with others.”
“As someone who started at 150 and is now 170, I always feel it helps to realize that *everyone* is there for the same root goal. To be as healthy as they can be. Even the stacked ones, the thin ones, etc… “Everyone starts somewhere.” And just like anyone else in life, if they don’t care to know you, screw em. You’re there for *you.*”
“I’ve been lifting for 17 years now with every type of person possible and the facts is that you are intimidated by what and who you don’t know. People in the gym really are not paying attention to you unless you are making an absolute spectacle of yourself. Those people don’t last long.”
“The guy or girl who is just getting started out and can only bench press the bar, or less get respect. ALL of us were that guy at one time. They are trying to get ahead and should not feel as intimidated as they think. Lifters of all types just have more muscle. On the inside, they are still the same and get it. In fact, most would be happy to give a tip or two; just ask for help after they have completed their set. Respect begets respect. If the intimidation is too great however, then spend the extra money and get a trainer or join crossfit/bootcamp/etc to build your confidence level. There are so many ways to skin a cat, you just have to find the right one that fits your goals.”
“People often forget that bodybuilding often attracts an introverted personality… not always, of course.. but often. More extroverted men often do team sports with more social interaction. Therefore, huge guys can be somewhat introverted, but very kind and generous with information (if you catch them at the proper time). Being introverted is often mistaken for “arrogant”, “shallow”, or “narcissistic”.”
Question is here- what do YOU think about this topic? Is it intimidation or pure insecurity?
Here is a good article related to this issue.