Overcoming 'Gymtimidation'

Going to the gym requires a lot of motivation in the first place – then you get there and feel overwhelmed by the people using free weights like pros. You know, over there, on THAT side of the gym. The one with all of the bars, dumbbells, and pulleys? The ‘forbidden’ place that seems to be reserved for body builders only? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Well I’m here, as an outstandingly average gym-goer, to let you know that it’s not as scary as you think.

‘Gymtimidation’ is a term coined by Planet Fitness to describe the feeling you get walking through a gym full of people who seem to be judging you. I can honestly say I’ve never gone to the gym without feeling this way. It can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re not 100% confident that you’re doing the workout correctly. But, to conquer the intimidation – you just have to say, “screw it,” and do everything you gotta do to the best of your ability.

Easier said than done, I know! But it is possible. From my experience, here are 5 ways I’ve gotten more comfortable in the gym:


1. Look From a Different Perspective

Keep in mind that all of the really buff people at the gym started somewhere too. They weren’t always able to squat twice their body weight, nor did they always have those abs of steel. Chances are they’ve come across struggles and felt intimidated at the gym during their fitness journey, just like you and I have.

Whether you want to become a body builder or not, going to the gym is the same experience for both people. We’re both just trying to better ourselves physically, but are at different stages. So, don’t let those people intimidate you. Instead, look to them for guidance. Most of the time, when I’m looking around at the gym, it’s to see how they use the machines in different ways. I’m always looking to switch up my routines, so I suggest that instead of looking at others as scary – use them as allies. Because maybe the person looking at you, is thinking that way as well and just wants inspiration.


2. Focus on Yourself

The gym is a public place, people are gonna do what they do best – people watch. You do it, too. I’m sure you do. Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t know that people were looking at you. I hate knowing that eyes are on me as much as the next person, but I learned to brush it off. I did this by simply focusing on myself. It would be a lot easier if everyone else had this mentality, but even if they watch – if you’re only concerned with yourself and your own workout, it won’t matter.

I just go into the gym with a routine and go through each exercise at my own pace, not minding what others think about it. Because I know, at the end of the day, I go home and don’t think twice about anyone I saw at the gym and chances are, they’re doing the same thing. The day goes on and you’re not going to spend time thinking about how someone at the gym was using a machine or running on the treadmill. It’s not realistic, so if you keep that in mind, the gym is a lot less scary.

3. Pre-Plan

Go in knowing exactly what you want to accomplish. Write down a workout routine and follow it through. This will avoid walking around and feeling like people think you have no clue what you’re doing. It has saved me so much stress because I just hop from machine to machine and spend no time awkwardly looking around like “Hm what am I gonna pick up and put down next?”

But, at the same time, even though you have a routine, you have to be flexible too. Because not every machine you want to use is going to be open at the moment you got done with the previous machine. Just jump down the list you’ve prepared and come back to that machine once it is available!

4. Workout Buddy  

Bring a friend! This lessens the intimidating vibes because you have someone you know there with ya. So, instead of worrying that people are staring at you and feeling like there’s nothing to do between sets beside staring at your phone, now you have a partner to boost your confidence! Finding a gym buddy is always a good idea. Working out is so much more fun with someone to do it with. Plus, it almost eliminates feeling scared because you both can do the same workouts and instead of panicking if you slip up, you can both laugh it off together.


5. Confidence

Overall, just have confidence in yourself! Being confident in your abilities is all it takes to not worry what others think. Their opinion means nothing when you have goals to accomplish and the faith to get you there. Like I said earlier, everyone at the gym is trying to better themselves in some way. It’s not meant to be scary, but for the socially anxious like myself, it can be. So, don’t be hard on yourself for being nervous. It happens to the best of us. All you need to do is find some ways to make yourself more comfortable in this setting and it’s smooth sailing from there. Now – go kill your workout! You’ve got this!