If you have ever felt anxiety or trepidation about going to the gym, you have experienced a type of ‘gymtimidation’.
One may feel intimidated by a gym for many different and personal reasons. You may feel you don’t have enough knowledge of the equipment, perhaps it’s your first time and you’re unsure how you’ll fit in. Everybody has felt self-conscious at one time or another. It’s when this self-consciousness prevents you from bettering yourself (i.e., going to the gym), it truly becomes an issue.
Everyone feels the effects of gym intimidation or ‘gymtimidation’ from time to time. This fear or nervousness around visiting the gym is totally normal, with 49% of people feeling anxious about working out in front of others. But importantly this can be overcome.
Like most fears, gaining an understanding of what frightens you is the first step in overcoming your apprehension.
The thought of what frightens us is often scarier than the thing itself. These worries can multiply, and soon you are flooded with nervous energy, you throw your hands up in defeat and it’s another day without going to the gym. Sound at all familiar?
Why do we feel gymtimidation?
Feeling anxious about going to the gym and working out is like feeling anxious about going to a restaurant and eating. If you let yourself, you could probably come up with some reasons to not go out for dinner, but will you let that stop you? The same rules apply, everybody is there for (relatively) the same reason. And if it helps to hear some tough love the truth is that, really, no one cares. People are often preoccupied with themselves so don’t let comparison slow your roll!
You may feel intimidated by the gym as you feel insecure about your physique. If you don’t go to the gym because you feel self-conscious about your body you can get stuck in a vicious cycle of thought that many do experience. But of course, you aren’t as fit as the bodybuilder who practically lives in the gym. You are on your journey, not theirs. Everyone started somewhere and a lot of people will have been in your exact position before.
What influences these feelings?
Gymtimidation can affect anybody, men, women, introverts, and extroverts. Fear does not discriminate. For women, in particular, intimidation in the gym is seen as the biggest barrier with 37% having cancelled or considered cancelling due to these feelings.
Those anxious about their appearance, feeling they aren’t in ‘gym shape’, should find solace in knowing that the reason everybody is at the gym is to better themselves physically and mentally. Our gyms provide a community of welcoming and like-minded people, generally people out to push themselves and interact positively with the world.
If, like 48% of the population you’re unsure of what to do with the gym equipment, use this welcoming community to your advantage. Our staff are always on hand to provide guidance and personalised support.
Going to the gym without a plan is like going to a shooting range without a target, what are you going to do? If feeling stuck, nearly half of people (49%) said that after joining a gym, sitting down with a member of the gym staff to discuss their health goals was most important to them. Speaking with a helpful member of staff allows you to focus on your mental and physical goals.
It’s important that the gym of your choosing has a supportive and helpful staff that are able to assist you immediately. Other preventive measures are to go into the gym with a buddy or at least plan to ask someone for help once you arrive.