I’m really excited about this post because we need to spread the conversation about gym intimidation because it’s a real thing. To make a SUPER long story short, I played volleyball since I was about 7 years old until I was 19; I stopped because of a back injury but I literally spent 12 years of my life (I would say the most important years of personal development) in a gym. Whether it was a conditioning session or a volleyball practice, I was in a gym from Monday – Saturday for around twelve years; my only time off would be when I went on vacation with my family but other than that, volleyball was my life (ask my friends!).
Anyway, during my volleyball years, I never really felt intimidated but what happened afterwards was shocking. Going back to the gym for regular workouts to keep in shape became dreadful because I felt like I didn’t belong. I felt:
- Out of shape
- Like I didn’t know what I was doing
- That everyone was watching
As a result, I would take it easy on the workouts, although I knew I could do more intense things. I was caving into the “normal” although I was able to and LOVED doing high-intensity workouts. I was simply too self-conscious about what others where thinking of me when they saw me worked out. I was nervous about using XYZ machine because maybe, I could use it in the wrong way?
Today, a few years past my volleyball days, I want to talk to you about why we all need to get over the gym intimidation. To be completely honest, everyone cares about themselves. Some people might be looking at you from a crazy workout you are doing but, no one is really judging. I recently bumped into a girl at my gym that was doing the same workout I was; I was definitely staring but it was because I was happy to see someone else doing the same thing I was – afterwards, I decided to speak up! Introduced myself and now we see each other at the gym every morning. We exchange hellos and smile at each other (it’s like building a support system)
Another thing to keep in mind at the gym and in life in general, is that people are good (or at least I try to believe so) – it might be difficult to speak or ask for help but really, if you build up the courage to ask for help, people WILL help you; trust me. People are like wild animals: they give you the dirty look but if you walk up to them and let them know what you need, they will be nice. If you don’t know how to use a machine, ask for help!
If you can’t see results right away and feel intimidated because everyone around you is fit, don’t lose faith. Don’t think people think less of you because you are not as fit as them – leading a healthy lifestyle takes time. Remember everyone started at a similar place like you and they too had to overcome challenges. You are never alone, although it seems and feels like it sometimes. Talk to people at the gym – that’s one thing I want to do more of. I see everyone with their headphones, all focused in their workouts, which is great! but, it’s good to exchange some communication with others. At least say hello. This will help you feel more at ease at the gym.
I know NOT feeling intimidated at the gym is difficult – I felt intimidated this morning when I had an arm workout day and since my arms are not that strong, I feel self-conscious that I’m doing “girl push-ups” but IT IS, WHAT IT IS. At least, I’m trying. My legs have always been stronger than my arms and that’s ok. In the end, people appreciate the work you put in, so don’t hide – OWN your workout, enjoy it and continue on with your day.
Lastly, here’s an infographic from Aaptiv, a personal trainer app, to help you handle the gym intimidation situation.
Feel free to reach out with any questions. I’m happy to answer any doubts or give you any advice on workouts, etc. Thank you for reading, means the world!! xo Belen