Don’t let the ‘gymtimidation’ keep you from your fitness goals

A gym can be an intimidating place, but it doesn't have to be, says Tanja Shaw.

A fitness coach can set you up on a fitness program

A fitness coach can set you up on a fitness program

One of my clients summed it up perfectly “I didn’t want to go to the gym until it looked like I didn’t need to go to the gym”.   That’s exactly why he became a client.

Gymtimidation, defined by Urbandictonary.com as “The fear of working out at a gym because everything from the crazy contraptions to the seriously ripped bodies is extraordinarily intimidating” is real.  And it’s a vicious cycle.  You need to start exercising, but feel uncomfortable going to the gym.  When you finally get the nerve to go, you find that super-fit people who obviously know what they’re doing surround you.  You feel out of place, and self-conscious.  Maybe you start comparing your fitness level to theirs and your self-esteem wanes.  So, you stick to the treadmill and then never go back.  And then you’re back at square one: you need to start exercising.

Gymtimidation is real, but there are things you can do to overcome it, or get around it.

• Think outside the gym.  If the gym really does intimidate you and you’re not quite ready to commit to going, you don’t have to forgo getting fit.  There are many alternatives to the regular gym.  Consider a home workout, private fitness studio, or lacing up your running shoes and going outside.

• Get a coach.  A big barrier to feeling intimidated at the gym is simply not knowing what you’re doing.  Perhaps even more serious than the risk of feeling self-conscious, is the potential for injury.  A fitness coach can set you up on a fitness program, and show you how to do each exercise so you improve your fitness level and avoid getting injured.  When you are comfortable with a program, you will have more confidence to workout at a gym.

• Go with a friend. There’s power in numbers.  When you go with a friend, you’ll be more relaxed and less worried about what other people are doing.  If you do start to feel anxious at the gym, you’ll have a support person there to help you.  As an added bonus, working out with a buddy will help you stick to your fitness program.

• Go off peak hours.   Early mornings and evenings are the busiest times at the gym.  In my personal experience, most of the heavy lifters frequent the gym in the evening.  If you can, go at quieter times.  You’ll also end up waiting less to use equipment.

• Remember that no one really cares what you’re doing.  “You wouldn’t worry so much about what people really thought of you if you knew how seldom they do” –Unknown. Everyone is at the gym because they want to keep fit.  Spend your time at the gym focusing on your workout, just like everyone else is focusing on his or her workout.

While gymtimidation is real, it doesn’t have to quash your dreams of getting fit.  Whether you choose to overcome your fear of the gym, or opt for an alternative, taking care of your body with regular movement is worth it!

Tanja Shaw is a supportive health and fitness coach, Rotarian, passionate entrepreneur, mom, runner, and owner of Ascend Fitness Inc.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness coaches inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  Visit Tanja  at www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com and www.tanjashaw.com.

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read