How to beat gym intimidation for good

Fit & Training door thijs

To this day, I still do not have a gym partner that I can share my workouts with for just one reason: gym intimidation. At the gym I attend, the ‘weight room’ is located downstairs, while the cardio machines and some weight machines are upstairs. While most of my routines force me to be downstairs, its hell trying to convince any of my friends to be there with me because they feel intimidated. If this sounds like you, join me to find out how to get rid of gym intimidation for good!

I asked around a bit and found a few common reasons why women felt intimidated in the weight room specifically. It all came down to feeling like people were watching them and them feeling self-conscious. This came in different forms. On one hand, some were worried about being ogled at and in some cases, harassed. Others, felt like other gym goers would focus on them, and see them using weights incorrectly or judging them for how light their dumbbells are.

For both of these reasons, there is one thing that is implied. Women feel like they need to have a certain level of self-confidence and assurance to go and surround themselves by all the people strength training. They think they need to be impressive, so no one thinks that they are just a weak girl, or just someone doing everything wrong. And if it comes to harassment on the floor, you need to be a strong woman that can put men back in place or not pay any mind to them at all.

Are they really watching you?

But here’s the thing, that self-confidence isn’t necessary. Anyone can go to the weight floor and do their thing, no matter what level of confidence or even training know-how. Gyms have personnel who are there to show you something you don’t know, and gym-goers are also usually very helpful if you ask them something!

A lot of the fears concerning gym intimidation are really in your head. People go to the gym all for the same reason: to get fit. That takes concentration and commitment, leaving very little time to spend the whole period there looking around and judging people. If you ever feel like you’re being watched. Ask yourself this: what proof do I have of this? You’re going to then survey your surroundings and most likely see that everyone is too absorbed in their personal workouts, to pay attention to you and think you’re weak, to ogle at you or to make fun of you!

On top of that, as you give yourself a chance to continue on at your gym, you’re only going to build your self-confidence to the point where you erase those fears completely. You’re constantly getting stronger, feeling better about yourself, and attending the gym to keep leveling up. You're most likely going to ditch the over-sized sweats and get some special workout clothes that allow you to look and feel amazing while you're working out. Gym intimidation, who?

Comparison is the thief of joy

The easiest way to kill your mood and positive view of yourself is to compare yourself to others. It’s that simple. When you walk into a gym, it might be tempting to look around and see all the already ‘fit’ people. You focus on how many pounds or kilos they are lifting and immediately feel bad about yourself and demotivated. While you’re feeling that though, you forget to think of one important point: you were not there to see those people when they just started out, when they were just like you. Everyone starts somewhere, and progress takes time and determination. So why compare yourself to someone’s finished product when you’re in the early stages? Those are two very different leagues!

One way to fight gym intimidation is to focus completely on yourself and your goals. Why did you come into the gym? Where do you see yourself a year from now? Pick whatever your motivations are that drove you to the gym, and focus solely on that to push you through. So what if there’s a body builder next to you lifting maybe 4x as much as you? You’re taking steps forward to build the body that you want. There’s no time to pour any energy into looking around at what everyone else is doing. Concentrate on your grind.

Gym Vets: Do your part!

Gym intimidation is not just a problem for those feeling intimidated, but also the regulars who create that intimidating atmosphere. Everyone has been a beginner at one point, though it sometimes seems like this is forgotten. To the pros, it’s also your job to ensure that you do your part in making the gym a comfortable place. It’s the place to be for people who want to make a positive change in their life and build the body they want. Why would you be a douche about sharing a machine or make fun of someone using a machine incorrectly? Instead, help them out and keep your judgments to yourself. And it never hurts to send a smile. This goes a long way in making people feel welcomed!

Last night at the gym, I pushed myself to use a specific machine I had no prior experience with. I totally messed up my first set, so I ended up doing 1 more than I usually do. I was super uncomfortable and embarrassed at first, until I refocused my energy and blocked out everything around me. After that, it was so worth it. So turn your music up, find your focus point and concentration, and overcome gym intimidation the next time you go workout.