You’ve signed up for a gym membership to take control of your fitness. Or maybe you’ve just moved into an apartment complex that has a fancy, on-site gym. This is fantastic! You deserve a pat on the back for taking the initiative to improve your health.
You may visit a couple of times before things “come up” that keep you from the gym. (You might even be a little scared of setting foot in the gym at all!) While life can interrupt our plans from time to time, too many missed visits could be the result of gym intimidation, or gymtimidation.
What Intimidates You at the Gym?
There are two very common things that keep people out of the gym: equipment and people. Recognizing what intimidates you empowers you to find gym success despite those concerns.
Navigating the Gym
Fitness equipment can be very confusing, especially if you’re new to the gym. Here are a few tips to help you find your way with the equipment.
- Hire a personal trainer or take a gym-rat friend to show you the ropes. Some memberships include a free personal training session, which sets you up with a club trainer who knows that facility’s specific machinery. Ask to video the session so you can reference the video on future visits.
- Stick to familiar apparatuses in the beginning. Hop on a treadmill or stationary bike. Watch how gym regulars use the other equipment to see how it works. (You can also take a photo of unused equipment and ask your friends about it.)
- Hit the internet for videos on how to use the equipment available in your gym. Sweat has a wonderful reference for common gym pieces and how to use them. (They also break down what each machine does for your body and how to get the most out of your workout.)
- Ask the staff about anything that’s unfamiliar. As employees of the health club, they can help you find answers.
Working Around the Fit Folks
Gyms are filled with buff and beautiful people, which can make anyone feel self-conscious. While there are a few people who just want to focus on sweating, many members are very nice and started out just like you. Regular attendance has helped them progress, just as it will for you.
If the environment feels unfriendly to you, there are many gym options available. VeryWell Fit details options for different kinds of gyms to help you find the right one for you. You may consider going during less-busy hours for more access to the equipment you want to use. Many health clubs offer a free visit or group class so you can see if it’s a good fit.
Remember that everyone starts their fitness journey somewhere. It’s better to start now and stick to it, noticing the small changes in your health and wellness over time. Soon you will work your way past that gymtimidation.