Let’s Talk About: Gym Confidence + Gear Options

Hi friends! How’s your morning going? Hope it’s been lurvely so far 🙂

Last night, I took Bella to one of my little bro’s baseball games. The white dog parade was there! Bell was so happy to see her cousins.


(with my nana and stepmom)

Today is day #2 at the resort- 6 classes today to take/observe! It’s been a challenge to pack my eats since working out on a food baby is no picnic, so I’ve been doing smaller bites and snacks all the livelong day. I’m going to see how it goes this week and tweak as necessary.

Here’s what I packed up for today:

A quinoa, chickpea, Greek style salad


(with 2 servings of quinoa, 1/2 C garbanzo beans, some olives, a red bell pepper, cucumber, lemon juice, mint and olive oil)

2 amazeballz

a smoothie


(almond milk, Sun Warrior, banana, strawberries, raw cacao powder)

and a coconut water.


I should be good to go for the day, and may stop by the employee caf to pick up something to munch on the way home. Everything there is healthy and most of it is organic- I’m a happy girl 🙂 We’ll see how it goes.

Breakfast was another egg-rito 🙂


I was out of salsa, but it was still good with mustard and nutritional yeast.

Since I’ve gotta peace out, I thought in the meantime it would be fun to discuss two things:

1. Gym confidence and

2. Workout clothing options for gym-goers looking to lose weight

Here are a couple of questions that I recently received, along with my input:

I want to work out at the gym, but every time I go, I feel like people are staring me. I have over 100 lbs I’d like to lose, but get so self-conscious when I work out. Any tips on overcoming this?

flirty girl (2)

This is something that I definitely struggled with when I was beginning my weight loss journey. I made the mistake of working out at the Campus Rec, which is basically hot bod central, and felt self-conscious every time I was there. I always thought the girls were judging me and the frat boys were scoffing at me, which probably isn’t true, but I certainly felt less than comfortable. It blew my mind because I thought gyms were for *getting fit*, and everyone seemed to be fit already. I was discouraged.

What did I do? I changed my environment. I worked out at the YMCA instead, which had a lot of families, guests of various fitness levels and ages, and was able to work out more comfortably. Later, I joined LA Fitness when I wanted to start taking more classes and was more at ease in a gym environment.

I totally understand that it’s not always possible to change place of sweat-age, so if you have to stay at the same gym or spot, here’s what I think:

-99.9% of the time, people are way too focused on their own workouts to worry about what you’re doing. I’ve seen some crazy stuff in gyms since I’ve worked at quite a few: people huffing and puffing (more like screaming), doing crazy calisthenics and jumps, insane workout attire, people of all walks of life and fitness levels, and guess what? No one cares.

-Every time I see someone who is working out to take charge of their health, I want to hug them, tell them I’m proud of them, and to stick with it. But then, I’d be a creeper, so I refrain. I’m willing to bet that the trainers and instructors in your gym –and fellow gym-goers who have worked hard to get where they’re at- feel the exact same way.

-Even if some people are staring or being obnoxious, some people are just jerks. Eff them. I’ve a big fan of faking it until you feel it… fake your confidence (tell yourself “I’m making myself stronger and healthier. I’m proud of myself”) and your confidence will grow. When you say it enough, you’ll start to believe it.

I’m at a place where I’m in a super duper high amount of stress and have let myself slip on my workouts.  I now need to lose about 40 pounds and am ready to take action but have found that I’m uncomfortable in my own skin.  Workout clothes are tight and clingy and hard to find in my size, especially that are flattering.  I also am on a budget, and workout clothes seem to be so expensive.  I was curious if you had thoughts or ideas for workout clothes in bigger sizes that look flattering on a curvy, heavy girl, and are a bit on the cheaper side.  Especially since my intention is to lose weight – I hate the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on new workout clothes that I don’t intend to be able to fit into for very long.  I imagine you have other readers that might be interested in this topic too – but I could be wrong. 

I always tell clients who want to lose weight (or decrease body fat %) to NOT buy new workout clothes! There’s nothing worse than spending $100 on a pair of black stretchy pants to have them falling off your bum a month later.


My tips:

-TJ Maxx is your friend. You can find AWESOME workout clothes at TJ Maxx (in a variety of sizes), for sick prices. Usually workout tops range from $7.99-19.99 and pants around $20-30. I’d only recommend buying a couple of pairs of pants, shorts and shirts. No need to go buck wild if it wont be fitting for long!


-Target (the fancy French boutique). They make decent-quality workout gear, which is also inexpensive. I’ve noticed that a lot of my stuff I used to wear from Target didn’t last very long, but when you won’t be counting on it to be an investment, NBD.

Any other tips?

Did you ever struggle with gym confidence? How did you overcome it?

What’s the best bet for inexpensive workout clothes in all sizes?

I’m excited to read your tips and advice. You guys will blow me away with awesomeness, per usual 🙂

Have a great day and I’ll see ya this afternoon!



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  1. aneessa @ Whats More to Love on April 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I use to wear my old t-shirts with ick-o pit stains because I didn’t like the clingy workout shirts and didn’t have the money to buy them. But H&M and Forever 21 have good prices for work out stuff; might not be the best quality, but their items are functional for the most part.

  2. Parita @ myinnershakti on April 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I want to give people hugs too when I see them working out hard. In fact, in college, when I began my own journey, I would see this one guy running the track at the rec center every time I was there. We ran “together” for almost a year. At the end of the year, I went up to him and said, “I know you don’t know me, but I just want to say I’m proud of you. You’ve been running and working out so hard…you’ve accomplished so much.” He defintely mumbled thank you and walked away. I just had to say something though!!! I think people usually deserve way more credit then they give themselves!

  3. Sarah K on April 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    This was my first year away for college (I’ve been at community college for the past 2 years) and was feeling pretty uncomfortable in my skin after gaining some weight in the past few years. I was so excited for the super nice student rec center my university had, but was really nervous to go the first time. When I got there I definitely felt like a fish out of water, but was really set on bumping up my exercise. Over the course of the year I went from paranoid that everyone was judging me to focused. I learned that if I focused on MY goals and what I wanted for myself, nothing else around me mattered. Everyone in the gym is there to improve their life or make themselves feel good, whatever level they are at, so you’re really all in the same boat. I learned that the people flying past me on the track didn’t mean I was a horrible runner, but they were just more experienced than I was. Another thing that really bugged me at first was how much sweat I was producing and was self conscious of all the sweat marks on my shirt, but looked around and realized pretty much everyone had them…some WAY more than my own. I definitely learned to love going to the gym and will miss it now that I’m home for summer.

  4. Jenn on April 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I don’t think Target’s workout clothes are bad quality at all! I have some pieces from there that have outlasted my Nike and Adidas gear that was easily 3x the price!

  5. Danielle (Shrinking and Studying) on April 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I’m SUPER busty AND overweight, so finding gym clothes (and sports bras) has been a nightmare. Since I started losing weight I’ve already gone through two sets of gym clothes that are now too big. On trick I discovered was just to roll the waistband down a little bit on my work-out pants and insert a drawstring. Now they’re baggy but they don’t fall off my butt when I’m jumping rope of something.

    In terms of tops, I really like the Old Navy line of work out gear with built in bras. I’m a broke student and they’re relatively inexpensive and come in a huge range of sizes. It might sound weird but I wear them with my sports bra for extra support. Plus, with a built in bra, if your tops get a little baggy over time you won’t have to worry about showing your goods while you’re doing incline sit ups or something.

  6. Siobhan on April 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    The best advice I ever received regarding gym etiquette was from my brother. He told me that when you enter a gym, you leave your ego at the door. There is always going to be someone who can run faster, farther, or longer, lift heavier, or make those spin/yoga/dance classes seem effortless. You do you, and as long as you’re humble and dedicated, no one should knock or judge what you do. (The people who do have nothing better to do and in the long run, nothing going for them!)

    • Fitnessista on April 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      that is an excellent way to think of it

  7. Brett Marie on April 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I always have, and still do, struggle with gym confidence. If I feel like people are watching/judging me, it sykes me out to the point where I can’t get a good workout in. Two things have helped. The first was discovering at home workouts. I bought P90X on ebay for about $35 and also love my stability ball which I found at TJMAXX for around $10. No gym= no staring. Also, i came to a very comforting realization. When I am at the gym, and catch myself staring at others, it’s never because I am judging or criticizing them. I am usually coveting their gym-wear or thinking how impressive their form is. If that’s where my mind is, who says others aren’t thinking the same of me?! Voila- no more self-loathing gym behaviors. Now, if I catch someone peeping me at the gym, I smile and think “why thank you” because I take it as a compliment!

  8. Amanda on April 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I love Target…since I’ve started running (and don’t have a whole lot of money)I have found some great shorts and tops to run in for a great price!

  9. Christine (The Raw Project) on April 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Gym confidence has never been an issue for me, but it’s been awhile since I’ve gone to a gym. When I did, I kind of zoned out to music and didn’t pay too much attention to others around. Classes are another issue, I worry if I’m keeping up, annoying other people in the class and if my lack-of-coordination is is too obvious. 🙂

  10. Amber L on April 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    [fake your confidence (tell yourself “I’m making myself stronger and healthier. I’m proud of myself”) and your confidence will grow. When you say it enough, you’ll start to believe it.]

    This exactly! When I started running again, for some reason, I was so nervous to run around my neighborhood. I had no problem going to the gym and working out, but the thought of running outside for all the neighbors to see scared me. Silly as it sounds, it was true! So one day I told myself, “Okay, really? NO ONE cares that you are running so they definitely won’t care what my form looks like or if I’m dripping sweat!” So I told myself I would start out by walking my warm ups and give myself pep talks. When I felt comfortable, I picked up the pace and started to run. Finally, I’m at the point where I am very confident with going outside for a run. I don’t think people are judging me anymore, and if they are, (like you said) eff them! Most likely, I could run laps around them anyway. 😛

    Also, I want to second the TJMAXX advice. I find a lot of great deals there!

  11. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn on April 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I need more shorts!!! I love love loveee greek style salads. What kind of dressing did you use?

    • Fitnessista on April 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

      just lemon juice and olive oil! red wine vinegar and olive oil is great for greek salads, too

  12. Laura Jane on April 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I definitely struggle with gym confidence as I also have about a hundred pounds to lose. I really do think that most people are so focused on their own workouts that they don’t even really notice others working out. I buy workout clothing mostly from Target or Kohl’s. I don’t like to pay much for workout clothes.

  13. Alicia on April 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Your absolutely right, the truth is that NO ONE cares! Which is great 🙂 Even if someone does notice you I guarantee they won’t think about you twice. Just do your thing and try to focus on yourself or if you have a friend to workout with that always helps cause then you can focus on having a good time AND getting in a great workout. I also think something that you should remember is that everyone had to start somewhere so just GO FOR IT! Great post Gina 🙂

  14. Lisa on April 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I love this post. I have always been athletic but since I’ve gotten married I struggle with making it to the gym and portion control so I’ve gained a lot of weight.
    I’m sad I don’t fit into a lot of my nike running clothes but I’ve found old navy has great workout clothes in ALL sizes. They’re cheaper and better made than Target IMHO. I wear my husband’s XL t-shirts and a sports tank top to rein in my mid-section so I’m less self conscious at the gym.
    Since I’m at home at the gym (just not in this body) I’ve made a rule to stay away from mirrors while I’m there. This means no classes or dumbbells but it’s worth it so I can enjoy how my body feels while working out without the frustration I feel when I see how big I am. Hope that helps!!!

    • Fitnessista on April 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

      i forgot about old navy- that’s a great tip!

  15. Sandy on April 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I can totally relate to this post. I hated working out at my college gym because EVERYONE there seemed to be so fit and in such good shape and my freshman year I wasn’t. I lost a bunch of weight over the years, and have gained it all back over the last couple years. So I am trying to get back into shape and lose the pounds and I am totally struggling with old workout clothes that aren’t fitting great. But I am going to try to power through (and not buy anything new) until I am happy with my body. 🙂

  16. SAL on April 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    You are so incredibly wonderful, Gina! Loved this post. Thank you for one of the best blogs on the Internet!

    • Fitnessista on April 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

      thank you for being such a sweetheart and for reading!

  17. Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) on April 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    This is such a useful post for people new to exercise. I remember wearing big oversized (cotton-blech) t-shirts when I was really obese but it’s what I felt comfortable in. I also did check the thrift stores for gently used workout gear and got lucky a couple of times. I even found a really cool cycling jersey right when I was really into that.

  18. Dana Marie on April 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Ok – your blog makes me want to nosh –
    Whenever I’ve felt grossly overweight I opt for outdoor solitary exercise if you can – Biking last summer really helped drop some weight. No one can really pay attention to what you’re wearing when you’re sitting and zooming by…..!

  19. Lili on April 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm


    These were both great topics and you have amazing tips! Thank you!

  20. kelly on April 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I have a substantial amount of weight to lose and want to say Thank You to the commenters who recognize how intimidating the gym setting can be. I let my gym membership expire because I was so uncomfortable there. Maybe I was wrong…?

  21. breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 on April 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Pshh. My workout clothes consist of Soffe shorts (or my one pair of Nike Tempo’s) and old “school spirit” t-shirts from high school. (I weighed more in HS than I do now, so they still fit.) I’m a college student on a budget so I don’t see the point in buying a ton of pricey workout gear. I just wear what I have. If I find something on sale (like the Tempo’s) then I’ll buy it.

  22. The Get In Shape Girl on April 28, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    One thing I tell people is that if they are working their way into the weight room and are intimidated by the crowd, go on Sat afternoons or on Sundays when it’s less crowded to map out a route and get comfortable.

  23. Eva on April 29, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Absolutely loved this post!

    Thank you Gina!!

  24. Eva on April 29, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Also, agree with others about old navy. Costco has some amazing deals on work-out clothes, too!

  25. June on April 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

    A lot of my friends (and women in general) always say: Oh I could never wear just a jog bra etc at the gym or running! Everyone would make fun of me; of how overweight I am or that I’m not a supermodelesque person…

    My response to them (and to others here) is a lot of what others have said: People in general are too wrapped up in themselves or the girl/guy/friend/THEMSELVES that they are trying to impress or what not to even give half a second to anyone else.

    I mean think about it…do YOU look and judge every single person around you for their looks/weight, their choice of clothes etc? (I hope not). So really i think its true; we are our own worst critics and need to let go of that mentality that we are THAT significant that every person in the world is judging us.

    Go in, or go out there and get done what needs to be done and quit worrying about what others think!!! Get healthy!!

  26. Kaisha on May 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve noticed that in the gym, other than the super pompous jerks…well and guys trying to hit on unsuspecting women, everyone is their for the same reason. FITNESS.No one is judging you for trying to get in shape.

    I think target’s c9 for champion collection is pretty inexpensive and has a lot of various sizes.

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