Do you experience self-consciousness or anxiety when entering a gym? It might be “gymtimidation” – a feeling common among both genders and people of all fitness levels that causes stress and, yes, intimidation in gym settings.
Some experience gymtimidation because they simply do not like others watching them while they exercise. Others have developed low self-confidence based on feeling judged for their fitness level or exercise knowledge.
Whatever the cause, gymtimidation often prevents those affected from entering fitness environments and can interfere with the performance of a regular exercise routine.
Here are five pointers to help you overcome gymtimidation:
1) Have a Plan: Writing workouts down allows you to enter the gym with greater purpose. Within that plan, always schedule a warm up on a treadmill or bike. This lets you adjust mentally to being in the gym. Once you feel comfortable and your body is warm, it will be easier to continue with your routine. More Benefits of Recording Workouts
2) Have a Back-up Plan: Sticking rigidly to your plan can leave you waiting for equipment or exercising uncomfortably close to others. While asking for a turn on equipment and working out near others are fine gym etiquette, gymtimidation sufferers may prefer to perform exercises out of order or, better still, to utilize back-up exercises for the same muscle groups.
3) Focus on Technique: When you exercise, focus closely on form. This will help take your mind off of other people. For instance, when performing squats, focus on keeping your head forward and back straight, the depth of each repetition, and keeping good balance. This should also target your muscles better and avoid common gym injuries like tendinitis. More Tips on Great Technique
4) Start at Slow Times: Most gyms are busiest between 4:00 and 6:30 pm. If you perform your first few workouts outside of those hours, you can gain familiarity with the equipment and work on technique with fewer distractions. No matter what, avoid negative thoughts and use positive reinforcement during workouts. Repeat, “I am doing great!”
5) Bring a Friend: It is a great idea to work out with a friend, especially in the initial stages of a new fitness program. Together, you should feel more relaxed and more willing to try new things. This can give you the confidence to participate in a new class or even to ask the gym staff for input on your workouts. More Reasons To Work Out with a Friend
Gymtimidation is very real, but it can be managed so it won’t prevent you from achieving your goals. Remember, even experienced exercisers can feel uncomfortable in the gym, especially after prolonged breaks or when rehabilitating injuries.
The key is self-belief, setting attainable goals, and holding yourself accountable. Do all this and you can overcome any fitness barrier!
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer based in Vancouver, B.C. For further information call his office at 604-420-7800 or visit KarpFitness.com