I have received a recent email by a reader about how to stop being intimidated at the gym, the question was:
Dear Tara, I always feel so self-conscious at the gym, how can I become more confident in the weight room? I feel like it is mainly for men and would like to get over this fear.
First of all, it is good that you are addressing the fear as being legitimate. It is important that you know that transitioning into the weights room is what is going to transform your body into a healthier and fitter you.
Gymtimidation is indeed a thing and it exists mostly among women. Gymtimidation broken down can best be understood as intimidation from the side of the gym-goer as opposed to the gym itself. If that sounds needlessly deep, trust me, it is not. Alas, there is nothing to fear as members are mainly too busy focussing on their own workout. Your fear of being judged is still completely valid and fixable, it will require you facing it. Know that throughout my four years of training, what has kept me going was self control and a ton of discipline. Needless to say that gymtimidation is a common trend among both young and older females and should not stop you from entering the playground aka: the weights section.
We’ve identified that gymtimidation is real and felt by women. How do we fix it?
While the reality is that gyms are predominantly male-dominated, they are not made for just men. The good news is that while most women legitimately share this fear, it can be faced. The simple fix is to believe that everybody is actually focusing on his or her own workout to care about what you are doing.
Solution 1: Put on your best outfit, pick a playlist, have a workout plan or buddy and remember that everybody is too busy focusing on himself or herself to notice your workout/body when you come to the gym.
If it is any consolation, know that a self-confident woman would always prioritize her health and fitness levels over the judgmental attitude of others. Some people may judge you, because it is human nature, but don’t let it stop you from going.
Solution 2: Find a woman’s only gym. Those are harder to find but maybe they will make you feel more comfortable.
Solution 3: Gymtimidation is a form of self-consciousness of your body shape and exercise choices. As if the ultra-fit people at the gym did not start as beginners! Let me introduce to you a powerful strategy to combat this self-consciousness:
The more you focus on yourself and what you look like, the more you will be self-conscious. Break that habit. Try this: When you enter the gym, focus your energy and awareness outside of yourself, think 10x focus and 10x positivity. Now lean in to the environment with an attitude of betterment and you’ll see that it is actually a positive environment for growth. I promise that the reason why gym is a habitual habit for men and women alike is that it can be incredibly welcoming, addictive and rewarding all at the same time. Enjoy it, work hard and be proud of yourself for making a positive choice!