How To Overcome Gymtimidation: The Fear of Working Out

Have you ever gotten yourself worked up to go to the gym, only to be held back because you’re suddenly self-conscious that you won’t know what you’re doing? If you’ve ever felt deterred from going to the gym due to this kind of fear or anxiety, you may have suffered from “gymtimidation”.

“Gymtimidation” is the made-up word to describe the apprehension and fear of judgment felt when working out in front of other people. Gymtimidation typically stems from the general intimidation felt from the belief that everyone around you are experienced gym buffs, concerns about body image, and a lack of confidence or confusion around how to properly use gym equipment.

That pressure can cause people to leave the gym early, skip sessions, or stop going entirely, thwarting their attempt at a healthier lifestyle. This anxiety isn’t just exclusive to the gym — it can occur in yoga classes, cycling studios, or any exercise activity where others are present.

However, by avoiding the gym you’re only hurting yourself. Consistent exercise is what helps you lead a longer, healthier, and more enjoyable life. Remind yourself that even the most experienced gym-goers started with a first day and learned as they went along. Here are some tips to help you overcome your fear of the gym and start maintaining your fitness.

1. Find the Right Gym for You

First and foremost, it is important that you find the right gym for YOU. Not all gyms are created equal in terms of equipment, facilities, trainers, and class availability. Make a note of what features you’d like to see in a gym and research gyms in your area. Visit a few (no pressure to actually work out during these visits) to determine which best fits your needs. Many gyms offer free tours or first sessions so you can do a trial before committing.

Some features to consider or look for are:

  • Convenient location: distance from your home or workplace.
  • Cleanliness of gym
  • Variety and availability of equipment
  • Gym culture: Is it loud? Are there people with similar levels of expertise as you?
  • Do they offer fitness classes or personal training?

Consider which of these concerns matters most to you and go with that gym. Review these below tips when scoping out a new gym.

Visit during peak times or when you’ll be working out.
Carefully review the contract and read the fine print.
Take a tour to see if there are people similar to your expertise.
Try a free or week-long membership.
Choose the gym you feel most comfortable at.

2. Grow Your Confidence

Exercising in front of others can be a vulnerable act for many people. Like we stated earlier, both men and women fear looking clueless in front of and being judged by others.

However, according to psychologists, these fears of judgment are internal and often exaggerated. We all want to be liked and often overthink and overestimate the likelihood of others rejecting us. Meaning, that we often have a heightened sense that others are judging us when in most cases they are not. Psychologists suggest overcoming your fears by confronting them head on. The less you avoid your fears, the more your self-confidence will grow, And by contrast, your fear and anxiety of the gym will shrink. Do it for yourself and your health, and try to care less about what others might think. The next time you work out, focus on yourself and remind yourself that most people at the gym are concentrating on their own workouts and not on others around them.

3. Discover What Motivates You

Still not really feeling comfortable at the gym? Motivation is what drives whether or not someone regularly goes to the gym, but people are motivated by different things. Exercise can be just like films, books, or music: not everyone has the same taste. You might not enjoy what other people do, but there are plenty of different options to try. Figuring out what motivated you to head to the gym can really help you develop a more regular schedule to work toward your fitness goal. As previously mentioned, taking different classes or a trial training session can be a great place to start.

4. Consider a Trainer

In our (slightly biased) opinion, working with a personal trainer is the best way to comfortably work through your gym anxiety. A one-on-one session with a personal trainer provides a safe space away from the rest of the gym goers to explore and learn at your own pace. You can comfortably ask the trainer any questions you have or get clarity on anything you’re unsure about without fear of judgment. That’s what they are there for! Even better, some studios, like Just You Fitness, offer a private personal space to conduct your one-on-one training. This means there won’t be anyone else around so you don’t have to feel self-conscious that someone might be staring at you or judging you.

Personal training is also great because you have a certified professional guiding you along the way with specialized workouts tailored to your needs, goals, and fitness level. They’ll not only make sure you know what you’re doing, but will also provide you the motivation and accountability you need to maintain a more regular fitness lifestyle. Contact a Just You Fitness trainer near you today to learn more about our private studios and what we have to offer.