Exercise Blues? Getting Past the Drama at the Gym

Want to go the gym, but not sure you want to deal with all of the characters there? No sweat. Here’s how to bypass common gym annoyances and get the most out of your next exercise session.

Yep: you may be tired, but you really do need to work out because exercise can help manage multiple sclerosis symptoms.

But if you’re not the gym-rat type—and if not, we hear you—it’s all too easy to step into a fitness facility, only to have your motivation sapped by the distracting and even downright annoying cast of characters who tend to populate gyms. Not to worry: here are four easy and effective solutions for putting an end to exercise drama.

Repeat after us: “I’m following my trainer’s advice.”

It’s inevitable: there’s always one guy at the gym who wants to unleash his inner fitness guru on unwitting gym-goers. But fielding unwanted advice isn’t just distracting—it can be downright discouraging when you’re working on your technique or if your symptoms are keeping you from exercising at “optimal” form. While you can pull the MS card—nothing silences a know-it-all faster than revealing that you have a medical condition he knows nothing about—a less personal response is to swiftly say, “Thanks, but I’m going to do what my trainer recommended.” Then, cease eye contact and let Mr. Wannabe Trainer find someone else to bother.

Move To Your Own Beat

And we are not just talking about headphones. (Although wearing them will decrease the odds of those amateur trainer types approaching you, and you will also be less likely to get trapped in time-wasting conversations with Chatty Cathys who spend more time socializing than they do working out.) Moving to your own beat means doing what is right for you and not worrying about how you appear to others. Coordination issues or overheating can be a problem. Listen to your body, do what you can, and crank those tunes … Loudly!

Gonna compare? Do it fair.

No exercise class is complete without the woman who wears expensive yoga pants and stands in the front row to demonstrate just how perfect she looks in downward dog. But before you start comparing yourself to little Ms. Perfect Gym Body 2014 (which is a fast track to a why-bother-exercising attitude), keep in mind that there’s probably someone looking at you wishing she looked as good as you do. In fact, psychologists say that one of the best ways to end I’m-not-good-enough feelings is to make sure you’re comparing yourself in more than one direction—not just who’s better, but also who’s worse off, too. If that doesn’t do the trick, think of three quick reasons why you’re grateful for your body; research shows that this simple mental exercise instantly reframes your attitude so you feel optimistic.

Buddy up with the gym staff.

Don’t want to personally intervene when someone’s hogging the equipment or doing things that are risky (like dropping weights)? You don’t have to. Discretely ask a gym employee to step in; it’s the staff’s job to ensure that you’re happy and that all patrons are safe. And remember, most gym employees want to help, so don’t be shy about asking how to use equipment or take your fitness game up a notch.

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