True Story. Back in 2009, when I was a wee freshman in college, I decided to start going to the campus gym. The entire building had recently been renovated, complete with weight machines, hundreds of free weights, 20 treadmills and ellipticals, an indoor track, and even a giant rock climbing wall right in the center. This gym was NICE. Most of my friends had been going in some sort of capacity, and hey- it was included in my tuition, so why not start cashing in on that?!
Little did I know that I would soon be sucker-punched in the gut upon walking in. I had NEVER been into a gym before. Huge, buff dudes about twice the size of me (probably sports athletes) were roaming the floors. People were using machines that looked technical and complicated. And worst of all, I saw nobody that I knew. I ended up heading straight for a treadmill, pretended I knew what all the buttons meant, and started jogging. I wrapped up about 15 minutes later, and left feeling defeated.
Talk about gymtimidation. Conquering your gymtimidation.
What is “Gymtimidation”?
“Gymtimidation” refers to the intimidated feeling one may get related to the gym, and this can involve a few different reasons. In the experience I shared, my gymtimidation stemmed from not being familiar with the space or the people, and lacking the knowledge of what it even means to “work out.” Maybe you can relate here, or maybe your gymtimidation is differnt. Maybe you’re someone who gets uncomfortable working out next to a more experienced and/or athletic individual. No matter the underlying reason for it, gymtimidation can be a GIANT obstacle in your path to success.
In this 2019 article by the New York Post, a study was conducted on 2,000 Americans, specifically looking into their fitness routines and habits. The following statistics were derived from this study:
- 50% feel the idea of working out among other people in a gym environment is a daunting prospect
- 48% feel intimidated by the number of fitness workouts and classes out there
- 31% admit to feeling anxious when thinking about trying to get into shape overall
Gymtimidation is REAL, and it can be a difficult hurdle for those looking to begin a new gym routine. Luckily, there are some simple ideas to help with conquering your gymtimidation and make for a better experience all around.
Step Through the Doors with PRIDE
First of all- YOU MADE IT. Some would agree that the most challenging steps in starting or maintaining a gym routine are…well, the literal steps you must take to get from your car to the front door!
You’re sitting in your car thinking to yourself, “Do I really want to do this?” Just go in. It’s your first visit with a personal trainer and you just realized you’re not even sure what a deadlift actually is. Just go in. A class just finished up and members start to come out. They are laughing with each other and looking sweaty and tired- “Oh no. Do I look different than these people? Am I going to fit in with them?” JUST GO IN.
I promise you this—the longer you sit in your car and ponder the right decision, the more your mind will begin to play tricks on you. You’ll create crazy scenarios that are completely unnecessary, driving you further and further towards the idea that you should leave. Just go in!
Focus on YOU
When it comes to any fitness facility, it’s easy to get caught up in the looks and skills of everyone around you. Be mindful in that you don’t actually know another person’s background, unless you ask of course. Maybe the person throwing around heavy weights in the corner is a former competitor, with 20 years under their belt. Okay, that makes sense! Maybe the person you envy who is running so effortlessly was once in the same exact position as you a couple of years ago, but their practice and dedication has paid off.
As difficult as it is, you’ve got to worry less about what everyone around you is doing. Focus on yourself and the success story that you are creating. Know that one day, you can (and will) be in their shoes.
Celebrate your WINS
Success sometimes goes unnoticed. Especially in the beginning, success in the gym is about all about that 10 pounds you want to lose. That 100lb back squat you want to lift. Or that 8-minute mile you’ve been working toward. In reality, you’ve probably missed a dozen small victories along the way!
We already talked about celebrating that fact that you made it to the gym, a HUGE win on its own, but look to other things like:
- Were you able to complete all your squats today without aggravating that knee pain you’ve been having? WIN.
- Was that technical part of the deadlift you’ve been struggling with finally able to click in your movement? WIN.
- Did you run for 2 minutes without stopping, whereas last week you were only able to run for 1 minute before you needed a break? WIN.
The more you can celebrate your accomplishments, the better you’ll feel, and the more motivation you’ll have to stick with your routine. Better yet, the closer you’ll be to conquering the gymtimidation that stems from lacking confidence in the gym space.
If you struggle with gymtimidation and are ready to face it head on, we can help! Click here to book your FREE intro today!