Feeling intimidated sucks. And if it strikes when you want to get moving and active, that's the absolute worst! Even the fittest individual can succumb to anxious feelings when trying out a new venue or activity, but we've got some quick hacks to avoid gym intimidation.
What is gym intimidation? For those lucky ones who have never heard of it or felt it, 'gymtimidation' can be explained by the good ole' Urban Dictionary:
"The fear of working out at a gym because everything from the crazy contraptions to the seriously ripped bodies is extraordinarily intimidating."
This definition is pretty extreme, but you get the jist. It is real, especially for those new to exercise, and it could be preventing you (or someone you know) from living a healthy and happy lifestyle. We want to eradicate gym intimidation, so if you break out into a cold sweat at the thought of stepping into a gym, read on...
Wave goodbye to tentatively peering through windows to scope out the unfamiliar territory, and get ready to kick down the door with confidence galore!
5 Ways to avoid gym intimidation
1. Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle
No matter how fit or strong the people filling the gym look, remember that everyone started somewhere - probably in a very similar place to where you are now.
Comparison is the thief of joy, so don't let your confidence be picked apart from your brain comparing your body to another. Getting over the gym intimidation is your first step along your fitness journey.
2. Nobody is looking at you
Most people at the gym rarely pay attention to what's going on around them because they're too involved in what they're doing themselves. For loads of people, working out is some of the only "me time" they get in a day, so you can guarantee that nobody will be judging or watching you - they probably haven't even noticed that you're there!
Concentrate on your own moves and activity. Count the reps, monitor your speed, don't lose track of time in your rests - you'll soon realise that you don't have time to stare at the others around you!
3. Remind yourself why you're there
We can't stress this enough - exercise makes you feel great. It increases serotonin levels which combats depression and the awesome endorphins will hit you immediately afterwards! Every time you work out, you'll feel better and see improvements - don't let a pesky thing like gym intimidation hold you back from all these feels.
If you're feeling nervous or intimidated about entering a new gym or a gym crammed with crazily fit folk, just remind yourself that you're working out to improve yourself and feel awesome. And no one can stop you.
4. Ask for help
A big factor that contributes to gym intimidation is not knowing what you're doing. Sure, there are usually a few pieces of equipment which look insanely confusing and like they could tangle your limbs for eternity..., but never be afraid to ask for help!
Ask someone who works at the gym, a personal trainer for help... or even the person who was just using it! You'll be amazed at how much more confident you'll feel once you know all about the equipment.
5. Remember that exercise doesn't have to take place in a gym!
If all the tips above still can't convince you to try a gym out, then there's loads of ways to fit exercise into your life without joining a gym. And yeah, gyms aren't for everyone. Ask yourself these questions to find the workout that's right for you, and try out some alternatives.
From group workouts to home workouts - you can really upp your exercise without stepping foot in a gym.
- You can design your own HIIT workouts which require no equipment.
- You can get moving using this neat park bench workout if the sun is shining!
- Do your own home workouts using the power of YouTube.
Don't let gyms intimidate you - focus on WHY you're there and WHAT it's doing for you. If you're needing a cheerleader to help get you through the door, be sure to grab a friend and take them along to be your gym buddy. When you're with someone else, the pressure eases and you can forget about the mass of strangers getting sweaty in your vicinity.
So don't let anyone stop you and keep on trucking along your fitness journey. The only way is up!