Are you ‘Gymtimidated’? Steps to beat the fitness fear

From nimble newbies to grizzled gym veterans, Gymtimidation doesn’t discriminate. In an ideal world, plucking up the motivation to get up and go to the gym would be your biggest challenge, not overcoming the aches and pangs of anxiety.

Gymtimidation does not have one single definition – covering everything from severe anxiety to light embarrassment impacting your workouts. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. But the perception, particularly for many men, is that the gym should be your haven, the precipice of all thing’s masculinity and testosterone.

Let’s dispel this myth off the bat. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the most common mental health disorders affecting the greatest number of people are anxiety disorders, at a rate of 30% of adults suffering. These disorders can be identified by feelings of muscle tension, avoidance or more generally “anticipation of future concern.”

So, what can you do to overcome Gymtimidation? The experts at lay it out for you:

Fail to plan, plan to fail

Planning is your best friend. It takes on average 66 days of sticking to a plan for that plan to become a habit – and as we all know, habits are difficult to break. The beauty of this is in the simplicity. The more consistent you are, the easier and less of a mental task the action becomes for you.

Another key aspect of why having a bulletproof plan is the way forward when confronting mental blocks, such as Gymtimidation, is in how it is specifically designed not to waste your valuable time. Your plan will ensure you perform a precision strike on the gym – pre-listing your exercises to avoid any form of dawdling-derailment swallowing up time better spent with your loved ones or just chilling out!

Off-peak sanctuary

Changing your habits based solely on fear should never have to be your primary response – but if the change also enriches other aspects of your life, why not give off-peak fitness a go? Going to the gym during off-peak hours has many benefits that aren’t just exclusive to people feeling fitness fear. No gym bros, no crammed changing rooms, but best of all, you’ve got the run of any piece of equipment you fancy!

Surroundings savvy

In today’s age of ‘presence’ transcending the physical realm, you can guarantee your local gym has representation online. Check for a website and social media pages to get the inside scoop on a variety of important factors that will either ease you in or put you off.

Look out for the layout of the gym, how welcoming the staff appear to be and in general ensure the ‘vibe’ fits you. It’s known that familiarity breeds enjoyment, so the more familiar you can become with the gym before even setting foot in it, will allow you to nip any potential Gymtimidation in the bud.

You’re not alone

No matter the intensity or manifestation of your Gymtimidation – it’s vital to know that you are not the only one. People, men in particular, are notorious bottlers; sealing away insecurities and anxiety in air-tight containers for fear of appearing lesser in the eyes of what they may perceive as standards of masculinity. This line of thinking needs to be eradicated.

Be open, talk to a friend, or even a PT that can draw up plans and accompany you on your journey to both physical and mental fitness. There is comfort in company, you’re never alone.

Buddy system

Why not go with a friend? Tick both the socialising and exercise boxes at once by bringing a buddy along – even if it is a temporary occurrence until you’re more familiar and comfortable in your surroundings.

Tony Goldingay, one of the fitness experts at more than agrees:

“Sometimes the greatest thing a person can have when overcoming any fear, but specifically in the case of battling Gymtimidation, is a partner.

“Becoming familiar with a new programme, a new surrounding and doing it with the comfort of an advocate is an amazing tool in fighting back against what can be an intimidating setting. Scared of going to the gym? Grab a friend!”

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