As a personal trainer over the years I have become comfortable with spending my time in a gym, but this has not always been the case. In the interest of complete transparency (despite the included picture) I’ll let you in on a little secret; To this day I still find some aspects of the gym intimidating. I can completely relate to those who are scared to go to a gym for a variety of reasons.
Walking into a gym for the first time is usually the most scary moment when it comes to joining a gym. As comfortable as I am with being at Tomfit (the gym I train my clients out of) I strongly dislike training at other gyms due to the fact I don’t feel comfortable there. I train with my partner at Cityfitness occasionally, but I never feel at ease there as I do at Tomfit. If I had it my way I would only train at Tomfit but sometimes compromises must be made. You are probably wondering why I don’t feel at ease at other gyms and the answer is fairly simple: I know the people at Tomfit, the people at Tomfit know me, everyone knows everyone. I don’t feel judged or as self conscious as other places. This is not the case at other gyms. Just like anyone else I feel awkward when I feel like I’m being judged or watched by people I don’t know. So many thoughts cross my mind in this situation! Is my squat low enough? Is my technique perfect? Am I pulling weird faces? Do I look weak? Etc. The list is endless, and for the record I’m pretty much always pulling weird faces at the gym. I’m sure if I spent as much time at other gyms as I do at Tomfit I would get to know more people and become more comfortable there. It just takes time to settle in… kind of like a new job or a new class.
There is one aspect of gyms which intimidate me no matter where I am training. This is when people I don’t know talk to me while I’m training or ask me if I’m still using a piece of equipment. I kid you not, up until very recently if anyone asked me whether I was still using a piece of equipment I would instantly answer no. It made no difference if I was actually still using the equipment or not, I would panic and before I knew what I was saying would be assuring the person I was done. Even if I haven’t even started using the equipment yet. All because I found it intimidating being asked. This completely irrational as we are all equally entitled to use the equipment until we finish our sets. This panic happens to be super annoying by the way. Getting all amped up to do a drop set on the leg press only to end up not being able to do it because my brain went into panic mode is super frustrating. It’s like that moment in highschool when a boy you like is talking to you, but you just stand there like an idiot not knowing what to say, opening and closing your mouth soundlessly until he walks away. I’m not sure why this particular gym situation made me panic so much. Ask me for a spot, I got you. Ask me for advice, I’ll give it. Ask for my equipment, I panic and give it to you. Stupid Gabby. I have however managed to start saying no to people recently and have discovered it’s not as terrifying as it seems. Everyone has been lovely and completely accepting of it. Not scary at all!
So for all of you there who find gyms intimidating, you are not alone. 99% of people find gyms intimidating for one reason or another but trust me when I say this: once you settle in you’ll be grateful you stuck it out through the first few scary sessions. The feeling of success when you reach your goals, the post training endorphin rush and the friendships you build are just a few of the perks of sticking it out.
I hope you are having a wonderful week and are out there mashing your goals!