What comes to mind when you hear these words? For many, it would elicit a feeling of excitement to know you will be getting in your workout, making you stronger, fitter, and healthier.
For most however, the experience is vastly different; panic, stress, dread, intimidation, fear, and even some eye rolling would ensue.
Why is it that the latter of these two scenarios is such a common experience for so many people?
We call it “Gymtimidation,” and we define it as what it sounds like; feeling some level of intimidation about anything tied to the gym.
There are so many who would identify themselves as having this perception. You are not alone. We know you want to enjoy going to the gym, and as the Lake Norman areas #1 gym that specializes in helping “non-gym people,”we are here to offer some helpful suggestions that will help you be a “gymtimidation over-comer”!
Gymtimidation #1: I need to be more fit before joining a gym
1) This is probably the most common false belief we hear.
“I’m not fit like everyone else is, I can’t do a push-up, I have over 100 pounds to lose,” and the list goes on and on.
Here is the truth about this situation….I would gather to say that about 80% of people walking into a gym are not walking in on a winning streak with exercise.
People of all sizes and shapes are there for a reason. They want to look and feel their best. It would be like cleaning your house before the maid comes over….that makes absolutely no sense! as Nike says,” just do it”!
If you wait until you look “better” before stepping into a gym, you will never go. Time will keep passing, you’ll still have the same fitness goals, and none of them will ever be accomplished because you’re believing a lie!
2) Also, please be encouraged that your worth as a person is NOT determined by your fitness level. Keep in mind that in other arenas of life, you aren’t a beginner, you don’t struggle, and your identity is probably better tied to those areas than the fact that a push-up is difficult for you.
I hope this helps you to keep a proper perspective while you tackle what can be a very fun and rewarding journey if done correctly.
Gymtimidation #2: Everyone will be looking at me/judging me because of my weight/shape
Let me first say this….there may be others at the gym that are in what you would call “pristine shape.” However, they did not get there overnight.
3) Remember that they most likely began just like you. It may have taken them years to get where they are now.
Everyone and anyone can relate to your journey. You are in the beginning phase of that journey, and nobody is judging you because you decided to take your health seriously and do something about it.
People are happy for you, people are excited for you, and anyone you ask for help with something would be more than happy to help you. And if they aren’t, just remember: those that judge, don’t matter, and those that matter, don’t judge.
4) Wear comfortable clothing- don’t try to fit into old workout clothing because “you’ll get there soon.” Buy some clothing that fits comfortably and you can move around freely in. You would be surprised how much better you feel.
5) Join the gym with a friend, that way you have a cheerleader by your side.
6) Wear ear buds and play music that inspires you to move and feel good.
7) Join a smaller gym so you get to know the other people that work out around you, which will help ease you into a comfortable setting.
8) Don’t compare your “insides” to everyone else’s “outsides.” Just because someone looks a little fitter than you doesn’t mean they have every aspect of their life in perfect order. We are all works in progress.
9) When we talk about Gymtimidation we are really talking about a form of fear or anxiety. I have learned much about the nature of anxiety, and the biggest takeaway is that I am most anxious when my thoughts are hyper focused on myself.
My thoughts may sound something like this “this person is sooo much fitter than I am.” “if only I looked like he/she does then I would feel better about myself,” “I never end up sticking with a program so what’s the point?!?”
Step #1 to get over this you need to change the channel! Stop obsessively playing out every negative thought in your mind because I promise it will NOT serve you.
Step #2 is to take the focus off yourself and put your focus on how you can be useful and caring for others. For example, you can meditate on goals like “I am going to take care of my health and fitness so I can be a better mom/wife/employee/friend, etc. The healthier I am the better I feel about handing my responsibilities in life so that I can serve others.”
If you are of a specific religious belief, you can focus on the fact that you are taking care of the only body that God gave you.
You can also be of service in the gym as well. Help clean up after class or your workout by racking weights, spray down the bench you just used, let others work-in (alternate usage with you) on a piece of equipment, and smile and nod with those you make eye contact with.
As you take the selfless approach your fears and disconnectedness will fade into the background as your worth as a human is elevated exponentially.
Gymtimidation #3: I won’t be able to keep up with everyone during the classes
To be honest, there may be some truth to that. You probably won’t be able to be at the level that a lot of people around you are at. But, that’s ok! The truth is, you don’t NEED to go at the same pace or be lifting the same weights in order to get a great workout in when you are just beginning!
10) Go at your own pace! Nobody is competing with you! If you feel like you need to take a few more seconds than everyone else, don’t be ashamed to. You will do your body (and psyche) a favor by waiting to catch your breath.
You will most likely be sore when you first begin anyways, so why not let your body dictate your pace and not your fear of falling behind. Again, it’s not a competition. It’s a workout.
Soon you will see that your rest time is shorter, your muscles not as sore, you are able to breathe better, you are lifting more weight, etc…..progress takes time, so don’t be so hard on yourself!
Gymtimidation #4: This will be the most boring part of my day
It’s crazy to us how many people actually think this way because of past experiences they have had. I agree, sitting on a machine and pushing a weight up is probably not the most entertaining thing in the world.
Here are a few things I recommend to jazz things up:
11) As listed above, listen to music you love that you can rock out to and bring a friend. Maybe take dancing/singing breaks and have fun with it!
12) Make a weight circuit for yourself… do 4 different exercises back to back so you aren’t sitting on a machine blankly staring into space when you are done.
Maybe choose 1) burpees, 2) dumbbell lunges with press, 3) dumbbell deadlift, 4) pushups (so many different ways to revise if you can’t do them from your toes or knees). Repeat it 3 times, or set up another station. People will probably ask to join in!
13) Challenge yourself-keep track of your previous weights and if able to, up your weight/change up your sets /reps, etc. so it’s not the same thing week after week
14) Take a class-a group fitness atmosphere is really a lot of fun. You get to know the people within the class and form friendships. Whether you’re dancing, strength training, stepping, whatever you choose to do….move, and enjoy it!
Gymtimidation #5: I won’t know what to do/how to do it!
This one can be tough because I would say the MAJORITY of people walking into a gym have absolutely no clue as to what they are doing. You wouldn’t believe what I have witnessed all in the name of getting results!
I say this not to poke fun or put down, but really out of a genuine concern for those who really need help in performing exercises safely and effectively.
15) It really is this easy… ask for help! That is what the staff and trainers are there for. Lay down any pride, and reach out to a professional. They can show you the correct way to perform an exercise, and which exercises would be best for your goals, past injuries, current aches and pains, and overall wellness.
It doesn’t matter what shape you are in, or how much weight you need to lose. There are exercises that are appropriate for every population of people you can think of and they can be revised/individualized to fit your needs. So, ASK! You will be SO glad you did!
16) Allow me to take a moment to shamelessly promote our $2500 Grand Prize Body Transformation Challenge, if you haven’t yet found the right fit where your fitness needs are being met. We specialize in helping those who don’t specialize in fitness. We would be happy to give you all of the details if you click on the link below:
Gymtimidation #6: I have never seen the results I’m looking for in the past, so what’s the point?
Ahhh the big one. Maybe this one isn’t so much a “gymtimidation,” as it is a discouragement that seems to be confirmed over and over again to the person.
Let me be clear. The reason you have been let down is because you have not been on the correct plan.
No matter what the reason is, there is a solution. I think the reason is somewhat intertwined within the aforementioned areas, and some of the solutions hold tightly to those as well. In addition to them, I want to talk about something very practical that will skyrocket you to your goals.
17) You must, and I mean MUST, lift weights. I am not talking about lifting so much you can’t walk for the next 2 weeks. I am not talking about looking like a bodybuilder (unless you want to, of course), and I am definitely not talking about spending 3 hours in the gym at a clip.
What I am talking about is lifting weights that will put lean muscle on your body. Let me explain something to you. Muscle=Metabolism. You do not increase your metabolism any other way as quickly as lifting weights.
This tactic is also seriously bolstered if you keep your rest times to a minimum between sets. Think no more than 60 seconds. Research shows that diminished rest times increases growth hormone production, leading to more muscle and less fat.
18) Stop evaluating your progress by looking at the scale. As you build muscle and lose fat, you may weigh close to the exact same amount! For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds and lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 7 pounds of muscle, you will now weigh 147 pounds.
It would appear to you that you only lost 3 pounds after working your butt off!
Actually, your whole body composition has completely morphed and you have obliterated 10 POUNDS of fat on your body!!! However, so many people throw in the towel because of what that stupid scale says.
Do yourself a favor and get a body fat analyzer. At least you can track your actual body composition and not be deceived by what a useless number says.
19) This would go along with the above solution, but track your progress by how your clothing is fitting, how you are feeling, how you are progressing in your workouts with your ability to do more, breathe better, etc.
Even if you haven’t arrived at your goal in the time you think you should have, you are at least moving in the right direction!
Think about how much healthier and stronger you are, how much better your quality of life will be as you age, how your risk of all kinds of diseases is melting away, and how much your self-esteem has been shifting. Being a certain size in life is not the most important thing. Remember that.