Gym-Timidation: What Is It and Why Is It Holding You Back?

Gym-timidation, the idea that gyms are intimidating places, is a real thing. For those who are novices to working out or gyms, they can seem like overwhelming places. You envision them being made up of people who are fitter, stronger and more knowledgeable than you. Many people feel as if they are being looked at or judge when they’re working out and feel asking for help can be a little embarrassing. Most gyms are made up of like-minded individuals whose focus is on getting healthier or getting fitter. Would it surprise you to learn that most people who work out at gyms are actually happy to help out or give tips to newbies? Still, the intimidation of attending a gym is enough for some of us to not even want to try.

Most people who know me would say I’m pretty comfortable in a gym. After years of playing sports and working out, I’m able to navigate equipment and weights with little trouble. But just because I’ve been a fitness fanatic for years, doesn’t mean I’m exempt from feeling gym-timidation.

When my gym opened up a new location with a focus on self-defense and martial arts, I felt two I’s: Interest and Intimidation. I was interested in the classes they offer and excited at the chance to learn a new way of exercising. Intimidated because it’s something I’d never done before and was worried I would be judged, injured or worse: laughed at.

I decided that my interest outweighed my intimidation and attended a jiu jitsu class. When I pulled into the parking lot, my heart started to beat a little faster and I began to get nervous. I envisioned that I would walk into the gym and be met with stares and whispers. What I actually got, was a friendly, “Hello!” and introductions from the people already waiting inside. When class began, I was paired up with a partner who was very knowledgeable and patiently walked me through the movements – repeatedly. When I switched partners, I was met with the same warm eagerness to teach me this new activity. I left the gym feeling silly for being nervous. I wasn’t laughed at, I wasn’t injured and I wasn’t judge on my abilities. Instead, I met some really nice, new people, learned a new activity and got a great workout – none of which would have occurred, had I let gym-timidation get the better of me.

So, if you’re letting fear hold you back from going to the gym, here are some tips to help you overcome gym-timidation.

Number 1 Start off by trying a group fitness class at your local gym. Many offer a variety of classes at different times. Fitness classes are designed to be for all skill levels with a certified instructed to help supervise, motivate and guide you through a routine. Find a class and time that works for you and give it a go!

Number 2 Invest in a personal training session. It may cost a little extra, but your personal trainer will be able to go over a plan of action to help you reach your goals, teach you specific exercises and guide you through to be injury-free.

Number 3 Most experienced gym-goers are happy to help answer a question you have regarding a machine or type of exercise. Just be considerate of who you ask. If someone is wearing headphones, that typically means they don’t want to be disturbed at the moment. If you have multiple questions, ask a gym employee or inquire about personal training sessions.

Number 4 Read up. Feel like you don’t know where to begin? No problem! Many accredited fitness websites and magazines offer complimentary routines. You could also take our downloadable workout with you on your next gym visit.

Number 5 Partner up with a buddy to meet you at the gym at a set time. It’s easy to skip the gym when you’re on your own; when you have a friend counting on you to meet them, it’s more difficult to bail. Working out with a friend not only helps hold you to a commitment, but gives you someone to help motivate you while you learn from them or learn together. Get started with these tips.

Categories: Get Moving

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