Believe it or not, gym intimidation is real. If you’re unfamiliar with a gym setting or just started going to a new one, it’s understandable to feel hesitant. Everyone has their own reasons for feeling intimidated or overwhelmed by the gym. Some of the most common reasons for gym intimidation are:
- Unsure how to use gym equipment
- Crowded spaces
- Not confident about working out/technique
- Uncomfortable working out around others
There are a few things you can do to help reduce or eliminate your gym intimidation:
Ask For Help
If you’re new to a gym, it might be helpful to first ask for a tour of the facility. Knowing the general layout will help you feel more oriented. When you have a better understanding of your surroundings, you’ll feel more comfortable and less intimidated.
Sometimes, the workout machines can be confusing. Ask a staff member about how to properly use it. If you use the machinery wrong, you could possibly injure yourself or workout muscles that you weren’t necessarily targeting.
Asking questions about any concerns you have is the best way to clear up any confusion. As time goes on, you’ll begin to feel more confident using the machinery and completing workouts.
Go When It Isn’t Busy
Large groups of people or a busy environment can make going to the gym a little overwhelming. If your schedule allows some flexibility on when you can go to the gym, try going during times when it’s less busy. This will let you get familiar with the equipment and your workout without feeling like all eyes are on you.
If your schedule doesn’t have much flexibility, try grabbing some equipment you need and finding an area with extra space or a side room where it’s less crowded.
Remember: All Bodies Are Normal
I cannot stress this enough. Being “fit” looks different on everyone.
It’s easier said than done, but don’t compare the way you look to others. Doing this won’t make you feel any better. If you really look around, the gym isn’t full of “beautiful people”. There’s a mix of people who are older, younger, leaner, larger–all types of bodies. The entire point of going to the gym is to get moving in a way that makes you feel good.
Choose a Gym That’s Right for You
Picking a gym that makes you feel comfortable and can help you reach your fitness goals is especially important. The staff should make you feel welcome, not out-of-place. It’s also key that you make sure the gym has the features you want. This could be a pool, group classes, personal trainers, lockers, showers, etc.
It’s also necessary to acknowledge that the gym and its environment isn’t for everyone. Working out at home, around the neighborhood, at a park–anywhere, is just as good as going to the gym.
Written by GUADS staff member Toni with contributions from www.verywellfit.com and www.livestrong.com