Overcoming “Gymophobia”

Overcoming "Gymophobia"
Jenn Naiman

Scared woman

Have you ever thought "I really want to get in shape before I join a gym”?  You’re not alone. ‘Gymophobia’ is one of the biggest reasons for people not exercising.  From an outsiders point of view the gym seems like some underground organization that they have no business being a part of.  To many, joining a gym means working out beside some buff fitness addict, enrolling in a college course to learn how to operate the high tech polished equipment, and enlisting in the army by participating in bootcamp classes.  Joining a gym can be very intimidating.  But starting today, change your outlook on life.  The things that seem so scary, like a membership to the gym, should become realities.  The benefits of regular workouts will help shape and mould your physical features as well as your mental outlook.   The initial hesitation for trying something new is very understandable. Asking yourself ‘did I dress right...what kind of torture am I going to be put through...how silly will I look in front of all these people’ is very normal.  There is always that fear embedded into the fabric of our being that makes us reluctant not to excel at something the first time.   However, there is no reason to avoid becoming active because of being embarrassed to go to the gym! Keep in mind that everybody has been in the same spot.  The people that go to the gym everyday had to start somewhere.  Here are a few tips that will help you get over your fears and get healthy:

  1. Partner up!  Sometimes all you need is a little support from friends and family.  Many gyms offer guest passes for first time visitors.  Find a friend that is a current visitor and tag along. You'll feel much better if you have someone by your side that can push you and build your self confidence.
  2. Sign up for an orientation.  Most gyms offer a free orientation with a trainer to show you how to use the equipment safely and effectively.  You will quickly learn that those high tech machines don’t require night school to learn how to use them!
  3. Do what makes you feel comfortable.  Choosing machines that make you feel comfortable will keep your motivation up and you'll forget all about the mental hurdle you had for so long.
  4. Join group fitness classes.  The majority of gyms offer classes that don’t use machines.  These workouts will give you just as much exercise and they are very fun to participate in. Classes may include pilates, yoga, bellyfit, boxing, sculpt and a variety of step classes. These classes are typically an hour long and include a warm up session, the main core of the class, and then a cool down session so that your body can relax as the program draws to an end. These classes feature motivational music, and the atmosphere is definitely positive and fun.  If you are new to group fitness look for classes that are for beginners such Learn to Step, or Beginner Sculpt.  
  5. Be social.  It certainly helps to know that you'll meet a variety of people at the fitness center.   You will end up making several ‘gym buddies’ making it fun to all work out together.  Besides, you and your new friends can go socialize afterward, or perhaps shop for new workout clothes. The purpose here is to get you past the obstacles that keep you from joining in the first place.


There is no reason to deny your body the exercise it needs.  You are there for the opportunity to change your life and become a much more sculpted person, inside and out. It takes a special person to take a risk at changing themselves for the better. Join a gym today!

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