Let me start by saying that I’d say I’m relatively healthy/fit. Heck, every time I go to the doctor and they check my cholesterol, they make a huge deal out of it – they don’t believe it.
My nutrition is pretty good, and I do power-lifting and compound/isolation exercises at home with my free weights and power cage. I’m not a newbie, but I still have a gym fear.
Gyms I’ve Joined
I have joined two and a half gyms in my 30 year old life.
- YMCA – I was a teenager when I first joined my first gym at the YMCA. I stopped going after a few months because it got expensive, and I didn’t know that diet/nutrition was related to weight loss/being fit. Yeah. I know. Don’t judge. I’ve learned a lot since.
- University Gym – I was less nervous there than I was at the YMCA though. I was in my “I’m a young adult, I’m care-free, and I don’t give a poop about what people think” phase. By then, I still didn’t know much about diet/nutrition at the time. I stopped going eventually.
- Half-Gym – This is the one at the apartment complex I live in. This is a lot smaller, so I call it a half gym. I went to this gym a year ago, and stopped.
I definitely had a gym fear all those times, but I got used to it. You will too. I was not fit at all during the first two times I jointed the gym. My weight was average, but I still had a high body fat percentage. No muscle.
It was when I started going to the half-gym, I was the most fit. In fact, I was the fittest I’ve been in my entire life. I stopped going, but kept working out at home with dumbbells, barbells – basically free weights. Now, I would like to go back to the half gym for some isolation exercises/cable work. I’m more nervous than ever.
I’m not sure if my fears correlate with everyone else’s gym fears, but I’m betting some of them are the same.
Not Knowing How to use a Machine
This is probably a big one for most people. I absolutely hate fiddling with a machine. For me, it’s not that I don’t want others to think I’m stupid – I really don’t care. I don’t want anyone coming to help me – although that’s probably a good idea. I just want to keep my social activity to a minimum. You know what though? People are usually pretty good about that, for the most part.
Machine in Use
Another gym fear for me that the machine is in use, which could also mean the gym is busy. For me, there are basic, limited machines at this half-gym, and I don’t want to be waiting around for someone else to finish using a machine. Are they super-setting? Are they taking a walk break? I don’t know. I end up doing cardio, and I don’t like to do cardio anymore.
I’m generally not too concerned with this one, but I could see how people might be concerned about hurting themselves at the gym. Generally, people who are self-aware, and are concerned about things like this, are the ones who aren’t going to hurt themselves.
To further minimize injury, it helps immensely to go to YouTube and find videos on how to work certain machines, do certain workouts, and use proper form.
This is a huge one for me. Although most people who go to the gym seem to be like me, anti-social, I always fear that there will be someone who wants to socialize, but not because I’m super hot, fit, attractive, or anything, but because because we are social beings. If small talk arises, or they say hello, I will feel obligated to smile, say hi, or acknowledge the person from then on. I’m an introvert, I don’t want any interaction. But I am also a friendly individual, and I don’t like to be rude.
This is a hard one to get rid of, so you just kind of have to deal with it, bring headphones, minimize social interaction, and they’ll usually just do the same.
Not Being Fit Enough for the Gym
Again, most people are actually pretty good about judging you. If they are judging, they certainly wouldn’t act high-school about it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone stare anyone down or say anything mean for being an unfit newbie at a gym.
Like I said, I’m a pretty fit individual, but I would never think disgusted thoughts like “why is that unfit person at the gym”? I mean, it would make no sense for anyone to think that. We’re all there to better ourselves. We’re all there on different fitness journeys.
You Will Feel Like You Own the Gym
I’m a hypocrite, because right now, I would like to go back to my half-gym and use some of the machines. But I, too, am still nervous, even though I am not a fitness newbie! It almost makes no sense to me. So you’re not alone. Fit or not, we all get nervous.
You have all kinds of people going to the gym. If you just do it, you WILL get past that nervous stage, and get rid of the gym fear once and for all. So will I.
If you don’t do it, you’ll likely never get past it.