‘These places make non-athletic girls feel awful’: Mum, 40, breaks down in tears and leaves a fitness class early after the ‘fit and attractive’ women made her feel like a ‘failure’
- Journalist Jonica Williams made a New Year’s resolution to improve her fitness
- She joined an exercise class, but fled the gym in tears after feeling intimidated
- The mum-of-three said she feels ‘like a failure’ and wishes she had persevered
- Her honesty prompted others to share their own stories of feeling inadequate
- She thanked fellow mothers who offered support and encouragement online
A mother taking part in a fitness class has revealed why she fled the gym in tears just minutes into her first session.
Jonica Williams, 40, made a New Year’s resolution to improve her health in 2020 for herself and her three children.
The journalist, who lives in Sydney, signed up for a group exercise class of high intensity interval training, but walked out halfway through after feeling overwhelmed and self-conscious next to women she saw as ‘fit, healthy and attractive’.
Sharing her experience online, Mrs Williams said she feels ‘like a failure’ for leaving and wishes she had persevered, but thanked other mothers for their words of encouragement which reminded her the same thing has happened to many women.
‘If you follow my stories you will know that I fled a gym today in tears. I sat in my car sobbing for almost an hour before I could drive home,’ she posted on Instagram, alongside a selfie of her tear-stained face.
Sydney journalist Jonica Williams (pictured) made a New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy in 2020, but fled her first gym class in tears less than halfway through after feeling intimidated
After resolving to prioritise her health and fitness this year, Mrs Williams arrived for her first gym class but quickly felt out of her depth.
While she doesn’t class herself as shy, she has never been a natural at physical activities and her size 12G chest left her feeling self-conscious, standing amidst dozens of health conscious women wearing trendy activewear.
Mrs Williams told Daily Mail Australia she ‘felt like a fraud’ and worried that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace of the class.
‘So many crazy thoughts of self doubt were running through my mind,’ she said.
While others laughed and chatted about the Christmas break, she quietly edged her way to the door, blinking back tears.
‘I just felt like I didn’t want to be there all of a sudden. I don’t enjoy the gym, but I want to be healthy and fit for myself and for the kids,’ she tearfully explained on Instagram stories.
‘I just felt really overwhelmed in there. I couldn’t take it, so I just bailed.’
Her honest account prompted other women to share their own experiences of feeling inadequate in the gym, with many saying: ‘I’ve been there.’
‘These places can make big boobed girls, fat girls or non-athletic girls feel awful,’ one woman said.
Mrs Williams (pictured with her cameraman husband Clint and three children, two-year-old sons Hendry and Jonty and 11-year-old daughter Caja) said the experience has taught her to ‘take a step back and look after others’ who are trying to step outside their comfort zone
‘Remember you are entitled to be there, and entitled to take up space with your big boobs. I guarantee you, as many girls in there were jealous as there were indifferent girls. Don’t put pressure on yourself gorgeous!’
Another assured her she has been in ‘exactly the same position’ and encouraged her not to be deterred from pursuing her fitness goals.
Mrs Williams thanked people for their support and said the experience has taught her to ‘take a step back…and look after others’ who are trying to step out of their comfort zone.
‘Since posting on Instagram I have had hundreds and hundreds of message from other people who all felt the same,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I’m not going to give up. I want to be fitter and healthier, for myself and for my kids.’