What is ‘Gymtimidation’ And How Can You Get Over It?

What is ‘Gymtimidation’ And How Can You Get Over It?

Last Updated: March 21, 2023, 09:04 IST

‘Gymtimidation’ describes the fear of being judged at the gym. (Credits: AFP)

After having sweated solo to video workouts during the pandemic, many people have started heading back to group fitness classes. These can be a joy for some, but a nightmare for anyone suffering from ‘gymtimidation.’

After having sweated solo to video workouts during the pandemic, many people have started heading back to group fitness classes. These can be a joy for some, but a nightmare for anyone suffering from ‘gymtimidation,’ or the fear of being judged at the gym. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these uncomfortable feelings, and to stay in shape without fearing mockery or judgment from others.

Have you ever heard of ‘gymtimidation’? A contraction of ‘gym’ and ‘intimidation,’ this neologism describes the fear some people have of being judged, stared at or mocked at the gym. More precisely, it could be the fear of not knowing how to use this or that piece of equipment, of not feeling physically up to it, of not having the same kind of body as the other members, of not being able to do the exercises correctly, or even of being ogled by other gym users. These are all reasons why some people, all over the world, give up working out.

British and American studies have shown that ‘gymtimidation’ is far from being a niche phenomenon. In the United Kingdom, a study conducted by gym chain PureGym reports that more than a third of gym users (39%) have already considered canceling their membership due to a lack of confidence felt during a gym session. The same is true in the United States, where a survey carried out by OnePoll for Isopure reveals that one in two Americans feels intimidated by the idea of working out at the gym. These figures are significant, and have led some people to find ways of working out without fearing the gaze of others.

#ShyGirlWorkout to the rescue

To confront their ‘gymtimidation,’ many men, and even more women, have got creative to find ways to help people work out with no feelings of embarrassment. This first involved posting workout-themed videos on social networks, giving users the opportunity to regain their self-confidence. The idea is to learn how to master the equipment and workout sessions to then be able to do it with confidence in public, but not only. The internet also offers a way for shy individuals to get their fitness fix alone. These videos are flourishing on TikTok via the #ShyGirlWorkout hashtag, which already has nearly 350 million views.

The many videos posted with this hashtag reveal a plethora of exercises that require little or no equipment, and are easy to do at home without fear of being judged or making a wrong move. But it doesn’t stop there, since coaches also share advice to help their followers feel better about themselves, and even to prepare them for future group classes with simple tips on clothing, self-confidence, and even a detailed run-down of what happens in a class.

Bring a buddy

Working out alone in front of your screen is already a good thing, but it’s also possible to get used to dealing with the gaze of others more easily thanks to some simple tricks. What if you encouraged a friend to join you at the gym? Working out with a buddy can take away some or all of the discomfort you may feel when you’re alone, while also letting you share the moment and have fun while staying in shape.

If that’s not enough, try attending sessions outside of peak hours (if possible), or swap group classes for running sessions, for example.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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