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State of Health

Don't Let 'Gym Phobia' Keep You From Fitness

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JENKS, Oklahoma -

A big part of being healthy is working out. And while there are plenty of free ways to do that outdoors or at home, lots of people want to join a gym. 

The problem is that many of them quit within a couple of months. Abby Wright learned to overcome her worries about joining a gym and lose 110 pounds.

I asked people on my Facebook page, what is it that keeps you from working out at a gym? Five-thousand people responded. Two answers appeared over and over. 

One, they don't want to go where there's an atmosphere of people slamming weights, grunting and judging you. Two, they don't know how to use the equipment.

Abby Wright was intimidated. She didn't know how to do a workout or use the machines. She'd quit a gym once. 

She started by taking walks, then jogging, and decided to give the gym a second chance.  She chose a small neighborhood gym in Jenks that's open 24 hours a day with key card access, at $35 a month.

How did she overcome the feelings that made her quit before, like not knowing how to use the machines?

"When I didn't know, I either looked it up on YouTube, or I have a gym app that actually shows you step by step how to use it," said Abby Wright.

You might think, of course she works out, look how small she is, it's easy for her. But that was not always the case. At her heaviest, she weighed 245 pounds. At 18, she felt she had no future.
 
"It was very hard, when you're just lost, you don't know where to begin, but I knew cutting out junk food and eating what's natural and right would help me," Abby said.
 
She wanted to sit around and eat but knew she'd never have any kind of life. Instead, she started with baby steps and refused to quit even when she'd go weeks without seeing changes on the scale or her body.

A year later, she'd lost 100 pounds.
 
Lori Fullbright: "What was that day like on the scale when you saw that 100 pounds gone?"
Abby Wright: "Like, I wanted to cry. I mean, I lost a person."

 
She also became a new person, happier, more energetic and confident. She's down to 135. When she looks at those old pictures, she doesn't see how she looked, but how she felt.
 
"I just look at a sad person. I feel like that person was not in a good place," she said.

She works out five or six times a week and eats small meals six times a day - and splurges every Saturday night.
 
"At the beginning of the week, I plan whether it's a burger or pizza or chicken, whatever it might be. I definitely have those," said Abby Wright.
 
Mike Pierce owns Select Fitness and says most people who sign up are gone within 90 days. His advice: find a gym close by, with no contract, visit to see what the atmosphere is like and don't quit when you don't see results in a few days.
 
"Usually people didn't get into the bad shape they don't like in three days either," he said. 

"Takes a little longer to come back out of it too. It's all achievable; it's just making habits out of things."
 
Abby is living proof of that. She says eating better and working out might be hard at first, but the results are so worth it.
 
"If I can do it and give up those things, anybody can do it," she said.

The bottom line is you've just got to start, take that first step. Experts say if you'll go to the gym three times a week for one month, that's when it'll start to become a habit.  

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