One of the most common questions that I get is, “how do I deal with gym intimidation?”. You might be surprised, but that feeling you have is a lot more common than you think. That feeling of gym intimidation, is the same feeling Joe across the room has, or Suzy over by the dumbbells feels, or Larry on the treadmill is thinking. Everyone has their own versions of feelings about what others are thinking about themselves.
- “Do I smell bad?”
- ”Are they staring at me? Am I doing this right? What if I’m not?”
- ”Oh, hey. She looks like she knows what she is doing. I’ll just watch her and come up with some new ideas.”
- “I should have lost more weight and got fitter before I joined the gym.”
- ”Finally, somebody is using that machine. Now, I can figure out how to use it.”
- ”God, I hope I’m doing this right. Maybe I can pull up YouTube real quick? Maybe I should just go back to the cardio machine. That would probably be easier and I’ll figure this out later.”
- ”Why didn’t anybody tell me I had food in my teeth? I wonder if anyone else noticed.”
- ”I don’t want to be here. Why am I here again? Oh, right, New Year, New You.”
- ”Lets see, I’ve got 90 emails left to finish. I’ve gotta pick up some stuff for dinner, walk the dogs, and cook dinner before Game of Thrones comes on. Hopefully, traffic isn’t too bad when I leave. Maybe I should leave sooner. Ehhh, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do. Okay — Last set, best set, and we are leaving.”
You see, people in the gym could care less (I’m not being mean here) about what you are doing. This is because we are human and we are too busy thinking about ourselves. I literally just got out of the gym here in Bangkok and the entire time was thinking, “Do I smell as bad as I think I do? Should I add more detergent next time? Maybe I didn’t use the washer right? Maybe I should go Thai detergent and get a better brand next time? Hmmm. Yup, this shirt definitely smells. I feel bad for this guy to be even 5 feet away from me right now. I really hope he doesn’t smell me.”
I’m a personal trainer and have been in the game for a long time. I still have these thoughts of what others think about me. And you know what? That’s okay because you and I are both human. It’s a natural instinct to have some anxiety, fears, and concerns over what others think.
Want to know the solution to gym intimidation?
Primarily, I think we all need to acknowledge that we all have some worries about what others are thinking of and understand that it’s normal. But, we can’t let these fears hold us back from our goals of being fit and healthy. You see, not only are we all concerned about ourselves but we are all also at the gym to work on our own personal mission — to get better.
Some solutions that I think would help many would be to:
1) Find a time that is least crowded,
2) You could invite a buddy to workout with you so that you felt less intimidated,
3) Ask for an orientation of the facility so that you know where everything is,
4) Hire a personal trainer so that you have a better understanding of what to do and how to do it,
5) Be consistent so that you feel more confident in the gym, and
6) Acknowledge what I’ve stated above and that at the end of the day if someone is staring at you, wave to them and smile. 👋😉 I’d bet that they are not actually staring at you but instead day dreaming and you just so happened to be in their line of vision. But, hey, if they are staring, know that they are probably trying to figure out what to do and you look like a pro — even if you don’t know what you are doing.
Remember, at the end of the day, just smile and wave to them because in 5-weeks or 10-years, the last thing you are going to be concerned about is what that one person was thinking about.
Overtime and as you get more comfortable in the gym, don’t forget how you once felt. Make others feel comfortable and welcome, offer advice if they ask or if you can tell they are trying to figure something out (don’t be rude about it as there is a right way and a wrong way to help someone else at the gym), and simply be kind to others.
My last bit of advice on the feeling of gym intimidation is to goto the gym consistently, get fit, get healthy, and live your best life. I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to email me with any fitness and nutrition questions at Joshuareed@reedswellnessandfitnesstraining.com as my goal is to help improve your life even if it’s .01%.
This might not interest you but if you’d like to feel more confident in the gym, feel free to join my 1:1 online personal training program, my group online personal training program, or you can grab my “20+ Unconventional Workouts You Can Do At The Gym”. Any of these programs will eliminate the excuse of not knowing what to do and will provide you with detailed information and instructional exercise videos so that you have confidence in what you are doing at the gym.