I tried doing the gym thing before, for over a year. I belonged to the local YMCA, which is beautiful and has a great variety of machines, classes, and gear available. However, I never felt comfortable there, and I don't think it was any fault of the Y's. It was just my self-consciousness rearing its ugly head.
I am at an age now where I am more accepting of who I am and how being introverted affects me. Instead of beating myself up about not being able to hack it at the gym, I turned to home workout videos and am now in the best shape of my life. I finally found something that works for me and that I could stick with for an extended period of time (currently over 2 years).
This is all I use with the videos - a mat and our 3, 5, 8, and 12 pound weights.
(Just added the 8s over the holidays - I'm excited!)
I think the key was that I found something where I was mentally comfortable. Obviously, I am physically uncomfortable at times when working out -- out of breath, sweating, etc. When I was at the Y, I was also psychologically uncomfortable with negative thoughts telling me that I wasn't dressed properly, using the machines properly, or working out properly. (I know these are irrational thoughts, but I get them and I live with them.) I never got up the nerve to try a class - that is too many people potentially watching me, way too close to me. At home, I at least have the mental comfort part taken care of so I can be more successful with the physical aspect.
Have any other shy or anxiety-prone folks experienced this kind of self-consciousness at the gym that affected their performance?