Actually, don’t applaud either!
In fact, pretend we aren’t there at all.
Like you can’t see us, like we don’t exist.
It is equally uncomfortable to be praised for going to the gym as it is to be ridiculed.
Let us do our thing in peace. Let us take up as small of a space as possible - because that is how we view ourselves.
By all means, smile as we come in or go out. Don’t comment while we are doing what we need to do - leave us alone.
After 6 months or a year - feel free to tell us how nice it is to see us there every day, how great we look, how the hard work is really paying off.
But in our first, baby steps - we just don’t have the confidence to deal with your opinions. We have enough bad ones floating around in our head and even your positive ones aren’t welcome and can, in fact, be a deterrent.