I feel sort of vulnerable writing about this. I don't have a ton of insecurities, and I focus on overcoming my insecurities, especially the ones that are just inside my head. However, I have had people make comments recently and over the years on this topic.

People say, "I am scared to go to the gym." Some are scared because they are overweight and afraid of being judged. Some are scared because they don't know how to use equipment or what to do. Some are scared people will speak to them. Some are scared people will not speak to them. The reasons are pretty diverse.

My answer is pretty much consistent: no one is going to get on your case or judge you at the gym, and if they do, they are the one with the issue. Don't let it stop you from doing what you want.

However, my response is somewhat rooted in my own personal current and ongoing sense of gymtimidation. Yes, I have had gym memberships for most of the last 18 years. I have been to hundreds, maybe over a thousand, group fitness classes of all types. And while I don't look like the fittest person on earth, I am fit, competent and strong - certainly capable in the gym.

But I absolutely feel a sense of intimidation in any gym. And truthfully, I don't know why exactly, but I know the reasons are mostly in my head. When I got my most recent gym membership set up last year, I initiated the communication via email - that is safe! Then, when I went in to get signed up, I went with my sister. The first few BodyPump classes I went to at this new gym, I had a buddy with me. Do I need any help? No. But for some reason I prefer it.

I frequently go by myself now. Typically, since I like to make the trip worth it, I get there early and get on cardio equipment for an hour or so before class. From the perch of my elliptical I can survey the gym. I can see all the people in the weight area, lifting together, no one being abused, attacked or judged. And yet even now, even this minute, I cannot foresee myself going over there by myself to lift. Even though I am certainly very capable.

One of my goals this year is to get a personal trainer at the gym to help me overcome this. And when I am asked what my goals are I will be transparent. One, I want to get stronger and as such I want guidance on ensuring my form is correct so I don't get hurt. Two, I want to overcome my fear of lifting in front of people. I lift heavy at home, with confidence. I want to extend that to the gym - not that it is often necessary, but it is important to me that I overcome the roadblock.

What is my point? I honestly don't know. That gymtimidation is a real thing. That it's not just for the out of shape or newcomers. I started lifting weights, in a gym, under guidance of a skilled lifter, when I was 18. In the years since I have hit several pretty impressive fitness milestones. I am still nervous. I still go. I am working to break down those obstacles even further.

So maybe the point is...if this is you, you're not alone.

No one in my gym who sees me gazing around with interest in my sassy gym shirt would ever guess I struggle with gymtimidation - so you never can tell.


  1. True, True, True.
    But I don't go cause I'm a cheap ass and workout only at home! LOL


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