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Gymtimidated: How to Squash Intimidation at the Gym

Rachel Hansen, MS

We all have or have heard cringe-worthy stories that make you want to stay far far away from athletic clubs and gyms – and honestly I don’t blame you! It can be very difficult to willingly put yourself in a place with bad vibes, cliques, and judgy eyes.

Here is the thing-regular exercise is amazing for your body, both for short-term and long-term! At a gym  you can get access to a wide variety of equipment in good condition, activities, classes, and other perks that you may really want to take advantage of. It might sound like the ‘can’t live with them, can’t live without them’ mentality but let’s face it, gyms attract a lot of different people! We can’t always get the best without a little of the worst. So how do we find our zen mindset when in these spaces?

Intimidation

There are two things going on in the gym that can be perceived as intimidation. One is intimidation, period. People can be aggressive, judgmental, and just plain rude in the gym; this is absolutely not tolerated in most gyms! Talk with the staff if you are ever feeling that this behavior is taking place- chances are they will have your back and address the issue right away. If you find yourself in a gym where this behavior is commonplace and accepted – it’s time to get out of there!

The other form of intimidation is comfort in using equipment and exercising. There will be a period of time when exercise is going to feel weird and the movements are uncomfortable. You are going to have to learn to use the equipment and how to move your body, this is just a simple fact of exercise! One way to become more knowledgeable and comfortable about moving is to check out a few fitness or instructional videos at home. These videos can help you learn how to use the equipment you are interested in and the proper form your body should be moving in.

If you feel you need in-person instruction, most gyms have personal trainers that are trained to instruct you on how to begin! Fitness professionals do come with an added cost, so make sure that you are certain it’s what you want to do when you select one. In addition, check out their credentials to find out if this is the right route to go!

Focus

You are the most important thing in that gym. YOU are on your personal journey to better health and wellness! Dial in and get focused on your thoughts and feelings. Nothing else is there, no one else is there… nothing else matters but what you are doing for your body right at this moment. Turn your focus from things outside to what is inside of you.

Yes, gyms are full of equipment that will help you exercise but it’s not about the stuff you use… it’s about what you and your body do with them that makes the difference. Pay attention to your body, listen to what it tells you, use the equipment to your advantage, and stay focused!

Confidence

The biggest differences between beginners and fitness gurus is confidence and consistency. These gurus live to be fit, they spend their free time learning about exercise, nutrition, and supplementation to craft the physique they want and have. They workout consistently over a long period of time, over several years! How do you think they got to be so confident? It’s because they literally spend a ton of time working out!

Most of us don’t have time for all that! So how can you get a bit of confidence like they have? Find what you like! Are you into yoga, weights, Zumba, running… what is the routine you can really connect with? Find that routine and learn as much as you can to get confident about what you’re doing when you get in the gym. The more you know, the higher your confidence level will rise; the more you do it consistently over time, the more your confidence will be reinforced!

Own your space! You are valid, your journey is important, and you belong in the gym just as much as everyone else. Now get out there and work it!

Author: Rachel Hansen, MS