Picture this: you’re at the gym. You’re on the treadmill. You hit that 1 mile mark and…. You start to sweat. SWEAT? WHAT? Your shirt turns a darker shade of pink, and so does your face, because sweating that much is crazy embarrassing. Right? I say, no. I say, it doesn’t have to be.
Since I was a competitive swimmer all my life, from age 7 all the way until age 18, I didn’t really know what it was like to be in a public gym looking my worst. At practice with my teammates, I didn’t care how I looked and I wasn’t even thinking about physical appearance because I was so focused on my goal: to be as fast as I could be in the water. Once my glory days of swimming doubles (even triples sometimes during Christmas break) in what felt like my own private gym and pool were over, I entered the realm of lifting and distance running in a public place. There, I discovered the horrific amount of sweat you can accumulate throughout an intense workout.
It was after only a week or so that I realized it really doesn’t matter at all how much you’re sweating at the gym. Sweating is actually just your body’s way of cooling you off. It’s our equivalent of panting for dogs (which is way cuter than sweating, but you get the idea).
Working hard at the gym is something we should all be proud of. If you’re on the elliptical, don’t just putter around watching Netflix and texting your friends. Be ALL IN. If you’re going for a run, don’t go slow because it’s easier to do so. Set a goal for yourself, and you’ll stop being so self-conscious about how much you’re sweating. The way I see it, if you aren’t sweating by the end of your workout, you didn’t work yourself as hard as you could have. A workout is supposed to challenge you and make you focus. Your workouts should be designed to help you succeed.
The thing about the gym is that once you’re there, everyone is focusing on only themselves. Everyone at the gym is there so that they can be healthy, fit, and strong. Nobody goes to the gym to judge people on how much they sweat, you go to the gym to improve your fitness. To be honest, nobody even notices if you’re sweating at all. I run 3.2 miles every day outside in Miami, Florida where it’s 90 degrees. You better believe I sweat my butt off, but it’s worth it for me because I feel amazing when I’m done! Just focus on yourself and your own workout, and the sweat jitters will go away. Think of the gym as your own private gym, and the people there are all on your team. You all sweat together to reach your common goal of being as fit and healthy as you can. None of you care how much your neighbor is sweating, you only care about your own personal workout and goal. Now go out there, and SWEAT!
Caroline Granger is a health and nutrition enthusiast studying Biochemistry at the University of Miami.