Gym Anxiety

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Articles

There are words to describe numerous fears and phobias that an individual may have. Those who have intense fears of spiders are considered to have arachnophobia. Others who have a deep fear of heights call their fear, acrophobia. Believe it or not, there is a scientific fear of the flute called aulophobia. While there is no official nomenclature for the fear of going to the gym, I feel there should be. However, my language skills are not the best so I would not begin to guess what the proper name would be.
The most common terminology used for the fear of going to the gym is gym intimidation or gym anxiety. Those of us who are contemplating beginning a workout routine often have thoughts and anxieties towards exercise and going to a gym. These thoughts can be centered on body image of oneself or intimidation of the body image of those who may be currently workout out at the gym. Another fear people have is that they do not know how to do exercise properly or they do not know how to use the equipment. Some people feel others will judge them because they look unfit or do not know how to exercise properly. Furthermore, people are afraid of getting hurt in the gym.
Many people who exercise often at public gyms may think this anxiety, fear or intimidation is strange. However, it is a real thing. I can remember how nervous, scared and intimidated I was when I first began exercising and trying to lose weight in college. Just walking in the doors of the student recreation center made me feel like everyone in the building was looking at and judging me. I perceived the people exercising judged me as someone who didn’t deserve to use their gym. The reality is that I had the right to be there as much as they did. Also, the vast majority of the people in the gym were not judging me. Over the past 13 years I have spent many hours in the gym exercising and working as a personal trainer and I can tell you, that most of the people I perceived to be staring at me barely noticed me, much less thought negatively of my fitness level or whether I was doing an exercise right or wrong.
None the less, overcoming the fear and discomfort associated with coming into a gym for the first time, or the first time in a long time can be difficult. It’s ok, you have the right to be a little uncomfortable and nervous in a new setting, especially a fitness setting. I can understand that. But, I really hope you don’t let the nervousness keep you away and I think once you come in to workout you will find it is a fun, comfortable friendly place to be. If you have some doubts about how to use equipment, what exercises are appropriate for you, or if you are doing those exercises correctly I am happy to help.

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