I will never forget my very first trip to the gym. I almost died. Okay, I’m being slightly dramatic. But, seriously, I was close. The personal trainer on duty gave me a tour of the gym which ended at a huge indoor basketball court in the back of the facility. Just like in any other scary movie, no one else was around [insert suspenseful music LOL]. He pulled out a bunch of equipment so that I could get a sample of his workout routine. After jumping jacks, push-ups, jogging, sit-ups, and a little medicine ball action I was done! He challenged me to do one more exercise before throwing in the towel. The guy stacked about four steps on-top of each other (you know, the ones from step aerobics classes) and instructed me to step up and down as quickly as I could. I can’t recall how many repetitions I did, but it was enough for my knees to call it quits! Before I could scream for help I fell completely to the ground. It was awkward, I was embarrassed, he felt terrible, and then I signed up for another session. I write more about how my dad helped me find the perfect gym in an older post.

Going to the gym especially as a plus-size woman can be uncomfortable and certainly have its awkward moments. Here are three tips to help you feel less awkward as a plus-size woman and kill it no matter what your size.

1. Bring support…and I’m not talking about your best friend.

As a plus size woman, my shirt always seems to ride up, or my leggings always seem to slide down (either I don’t have enough hips or my waist is nonexistent…not sure which one yet!). A good body shaper makes me feel more secure when I exercise. I can’t get into the trend of wearing a full-on waist trainer while exercising like some women. That makes me feel too restricted. I prefer a light hold such as high-waist panties. I have at least five pairs of the high waist panties by Catherine’s. They provide just enough hold so that my stomach is secure when I jump around and I can still breathe. It also gives me coverage when my t-shirt decides to ride up and give everyone a show (and it always does). Love them!

2.  Look fabulous.

Recently, I started stocking up on fitness attire and athleisure (yup, that’s a word). I tend to go harder in the gym when I look fierce. Granted, I do not put on full-on make-up or style my hair perfectly, but I do make an effort not to look like I live under a bridge. I try to avoid wearing my do-rag, satin scarf or rollers and at times I will even slap on a little clear lip gloss. I know you may call it vanity. Yet, when I catch myself in that mirror I want to say, “Yaaaasss” and not, “Ew.” I firmly believe that when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you will work harder! Here are a few of my most recent gym staple pieces. fashion layout workout essentials

Featured in the image above: 1. Lane Bryant Pleated Back 2. Lane Bryant Mesh Legging 3. Lane Bryant Tunic Hoodie 4. Lane Bryant Active Legging  5. Catherine’s Hi-Waist Brief 6. RainbeauCurves Headband

3. Skip the gym altogether.

I low key hate the gym. Not because I dislike exercising, but because the gym can be boring for an extrovert like me. It is very difficult for me to put in ear-buds and hop from machine to machine by myself. On most days I like to interact with others. I’m also a bit competitive so I tend to push harder whenever I exercise with someone else, but that’s not always an option. Let me tell you, I am lit when I’m in a group-fitness class! (Dear younger Millennial, did I use that term correctly in this sentence? LOL). Personally, I am obsessed with dance fitness—this one is my current fave. Try a new group-fitness class, go hiking, or surf YouTube for free workout videos. My YouTube fitness-bae is Keaira Lashae!

I hope these three tips to feel less awkward will help you get over your fear of the gym and learn how to be comfortable no matter what your size. If no one has told you this yet today, know that you are enough and perfect just the way that you are! Let’s get healthier together, I’ve got your back.

PS – If you need an exercise buddy, join me and my friends at a Lose with LeeAnn meet-up. We are popping up at locations all around. Hope you join us! I’m always looking for great, healthy ideas. Did I miss a tip that has helped you? Leave a comment below.