Going to the gym is touted as one of the best things we can do for our health, but whoever said that probably hasn’t ever experienced ‘gymtimidation’!
For many gym goers, it’s not just the exercise that gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline going. The very (often busy) nature of the gym environment itself can also have us breaking a sweat before we’ve even done anything.
Gymtimidation is that feeling of overwhelm, anxiety and self-consciousness that, for many, is a defining characteristic of the gym experience.
It’s an unfortunate side effect, and one for which there is no uniform, simple solution. The trigger can be different for different people, ranging from the average clientele, the mirrors, the towels and even the marketing materials!
According to a new survey from Cosmopolitan Body UK, it’s an issue which affects twice as many women as men, with a survey from Sport England finding that the main source of ‘gymtimidation’ is fear of being judged, either on fitness levels or lack of knowledge. Such is the impact of feeling uncomfortable, that it is the main reason behind the dropout rate of 80% by week 8.
Despite this, it is possible to prevent gymtimidation getting the best of you. Aside from dressing in activewear that makes you feel comfortable and confident, it’s also possible to drown out the anxious thoughts that are getting in the way of your workout with a ‘power playlist.’ Starting every session with a 10 minute walk on the treadmill is also a good way to gather your bearings, asses the room, devise a plan and practice your ‘power walk.’ That is, the head up, shoulders back strut that conjures up confidence from the inside out. If none of this works, then avoiding. the gym peak hours (which tend to be from 8-11am and 4-7pm) can help in the interim.