Stop Worrying, Start Working Out! Get Over Gymtimidation With These 6 Steps
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at the gym, you’re definitely not alone — even the most avid gym-goers occasionally experience what’s called “gymtimidation.”
Maybe you skipped a strength training session because the weight room was full of bodybuilders and you felt awkward lifting five-pound dumbbells.
Or you wanted to try a HIIT class but were worried you wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Or perhaps you found yourself staring at all the equipment wondering: Where do I even start?
“This feeling of ‘not belonging’ or ‘not being in as good a shape as everyone else’ is a common and powerful reason preventing people from working out,” says Ryan Parzick, NASM-CPT, owner and operator of Fuerte Fitness.
That’s one reason why Openfit has partnered with LA Fitness, City Sports Club, and Esporta Fitness — we want to ensure everyone, regardless of background or experience, can find fitness accessible.
So how can you keep gymtimidation from messing with your workout mojo? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Gymtimidation?
Gymtimidation is the intimidation you might feel when starting or restarting a fitness routine at a gym — or any other place where you’re exercising in front of others.
You may experience gymtimidation when you try a challenging exercise or take a new group class, or when you first join a gym and you’re not familiar with the people, the equipment, or the gym culture yet.
“There’s equipment that’s unfamiliar to you. There are heavy weights that you don’t know if you can pick up. It’s really loud. There are people grunting,” Parzick says.
“On top of that, you get all of these people who look like they live at the gym and they’ve been going their whole lives,” he adds. “It’s sensory overload.”
How Do I Overcome Gymtimidation?
Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to ease your gymtimidation so it doesn’t hamper your workouts.
1. Focus on your why.
You’ve come to the gym for a reason. “Remember why it’s important that you’re working out,” Parzick says. “It’s for your health, strength, and vitality. Those things are way more important than what you think other people are thinking about you.”
Keep the big picture in the forefront of your mind: I am exercising for me. I am the one who wants to be healthier. I am the one who lives in this body.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or what they’re thinking. Remind yourself that people are generally kind — plus, they’re focused on themselves and their own workouts.
2. Take a tour.
Even if you’re already a member, ask for a tour of the facility. You’ll have a chance to get familiar with the different workout areas and equipment, which can help you plan your next workout.
If you’re not comfortable working out in a crowded gym, you can also ask questions about the schedule and find out which times of day are typically less busy.
3. Create a game plan.
Before you arrive at the gym, decide what you want to accomplish once you’re there. Will you work on cardio, strength, or mobility? What equipment will you use? Will you focus on your upper body, lower body, or core?
Having a plan “gives you a road map so you’re not just wandering in this unknown land,” says Parzick.
4. Bring Openfit with you.
If your feelings of gymtimidation come from not knowing what to do once you’re there, bring a personal trainer in your pocket!
Members of LA Fitness, City Sports Club, and Esporta Fitness can add an Openfit subscription to their gym membership for an introductory price of $5 a month.
5. Practice ahead of time.
Even if you’re a regular at the gym, you may be nervous to try a barre class or use a new piece of equipment for the first time.
To ease your first-day jitters, do a practice run with Openfit. Stream a workout at home to see how the moves are done, learn proper form, try a new type of class, or learn how to use free weights. This can help build your confidence before you hit the gym.
6. Ask for assistance.
Gym equipment isn’t always intuitive. A personal training session can help you get familiar with the cardio machines, weights, and functional training equipment.
It can also help you to feel more comfortable in the space, so you’re prepared to come back on your own for a workout.
“Don’t go in thinking you have to know everything,” Parzick says. “Don’t be scared to ask people for help. There are often personal trainers hanging around — or ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing. If you just ask questions, you’ll be surprised just how often people are excited to answer them.”