Are thoughts like these preventing you from starting or sticking to a workout routine?
“I’m too [fill in the blank – old, fat, slow, uncoordinated, etc.] to work out at the gym. Everyone will be staring at me.”
“I have no idea how to use the machines and equipment, and I’ll just look silly trying.”
“All the regulars in exercise class already know each other. I don’t want to feel like the new kid at school.”
If you’ve caught yourself saying or thinking any of these, you likely suffer from “gymtimidation” – the fear of working out in front of others. Rest assured, you are far from alone: a recent study found as many as 50 percent of Americans experience anxiety or embarrassment at the prospect of exercising in a gym.
Fortunately, the YMCA can help. As a nonprofit organization focused on building healthier spirit, mind and body for all, the Y strives to create an inclusive, non-judgmental atmosphere where people of every age, size and ability receive the support and encouragement they need to achieve their potential.
Don’t let gymtimidation prevent you from pursuing your fitness goals. Here are four ways the Y can help you feel more comfortable and confident when working out in our facilities:
Start your journey with wellness coaching. This is a service included as part of your Y membership. A wellness coach will sit down with you one-on-one to discuss your needs and develop a plan to help you reach your goals. Your coach can get you set up on the ActivTrax system, show you how to use the weights and equipment, suggest classes you might like, and answer any and all questions you have about the Y.
Try a class. The Y offers hundreds of group exercise classes each week – from Aqua Boogie to Zumba, and everything in between! Let the instructor know it’s your first class, and he or she will help you select your equipment, guide you through the exercises and introduce you to others in the class. The next time you go, don’t be surprised if they remember you and call you by name.
Bring a buddy. Having someone you know on the treadmill or yoga mat next to you can be reassuring – and it makes workout time double as social time! If your friends are not already members of the Y, ask about getting a guest pass so they can try it out.
Get in the zone. Chances are, nobody is paying attention to what you might be doing “wrong” in the gym – they’re too focused on their own workouts. But if you still feel self-conscious, pop in some earbuds and listen to a fun new playlist, or watch TV on one of the cardio machines. Set a goal for your workout – increasing your elliptical time by five minutes, for example – and let the rest of the world fall away.