‘Gymtimidation’ is more than just a flimsy excuse or a made-up buzzword—for many of us, it’s a very real obstacle to our health and fitness goals. Feeling like we’re not on par with other gym members, a fear of looking silly, or simply lacking the motivation to work out alone are just a few of the things that keep us out of the gym and perhaps on the sofa. A healthy lifestyle is not just for those who society things ‘look good’ in Lycra or can lift above a certain amount in the weight room—there are plenty of other ways to work up a sweat.
Whether you decide to tackle the gym head on or find a less daunting alternative, locating your “happy place” when it comes to exercise is essential. If this buzzword is all too real for you, check out these tips for conquering gymtimidation once and for all.
1. Face the Fear
As with most things, gymtimidation is a case of mind over matter, and a shift in perspective may be all it takes to start associating the studio with fitness rather than fear. Going with a friend can help to make the experience more enjoyable whilst distracting you from other gym-goers, so why not team up with a buddy and conquer the gym together? At the same time, something as simple as having the right gear can lessen the feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb, so invest in some workout clothes that make you feel comfortable.
Ultimately, it’s essential to remember that the gym is a place you go to sweat, and everyone is there for the same reason—regardless of shape, size, or fitness level. The more you go, the less self-conscious you’ll feel, so forget about the other members and focus on your goals.
2. Take a Class
If you don’t feel at home on the treadmill and can’t bring yourself to venture into the weight room, why not take a class? As well as bringing lots of variety to your workout, classes are a fun way to exercise with others in a less serious environment. From Zumba to spinning to aqua aerobics, there are plenty of options to choose from, and the atmosphere tends to be a little more relaxed. Not long ago, we had a lot of fun with Boogieful and a dance workout class! Again, recruit some friends for moral support (you’ll most likely make friends there, too) and try out a variety of pay-as-you-go classes until you find the one where you feel most at home.
3. Workout from Home
If you really hate the gym—or any form of working out in public—you may benefit from a home-based workout plan. If you don’t mind the machines but suffer from stage fright, why not bring the gym to you? This article on training at home gives all sorts of useful info for home gyms, and also has the option to pick up home-delivered treadmills, bikes, cross-trainers and more. You can enjoy the same workout minus the audience! Alternatively, if you’re short on space or would rather give the machines a miss, enjoy your own private exercise classes with the help of YouTube tutorials.
4. Go Freestyle
Of course, there are also plenty of ways to work on your fitness without the help of instructors and equipment. If you’re simply not a fan of being cooped up or tied to a routine, get your exercise kicks elsewhere; go for a brisk walk around the park and use an app like Pacer to set daily footstep targets, meet a friend for a game of tennis or find a local rock climbing spot. As long as the exercise becomes a regular part of your lifestyle, it will bring you nearer to your health and fitness goals—with or without the gym.