You read this blog now, and you see me as the girl who will try anything from barre to CrossFit to aerial yoga.

Aerial Yoga

Must. do. again.

What you probably wouldn’t realize is that I used to have a SERIOUS case of gym-timidation. We wrote a great article about this at work recently, but I wanted to share my own experience.

I was a member of NYSC for the longest time, and I had an all-access membership, but I was terrified to go to any other location other than the one closest to my apartment or my office. But…what if I looked like a total tool getting lost on my way to the locker room/studio/treadmill/weights? When I was in the process of losing 50 pounds, at the beginning, I had a really hard time with being intimidated. There I was, running at a painfully slow pace, turning beet-red and panting and sweating like a pig, while the skinny girls and buff dudes blithely floated along on the treadmill at an 8.0. 

Honestly, fear held me back for a really long time at the gym. After I lost the 50 pounds, I became intimately familiar with the Wall Street NYSC, and then the Wall Street Equinox (and 50th, since that’s where I worked at the time) when I decided to upgrade myself. I was still really nervous to go to any other locations. 

And then I started falling in love with group fitness (the gateway drug to boutique fitness!) and wanting to follow my favorite instructors around the city, or even just take the exact class I wanted to take at that exact time at a random location. (This somehow usually ended up being noonish yoga at the 17th Street location.)

And I realized that I’d just have to get over my (dumb?) fear. You don’t know where the locker room is? You ask. You don’t know where the class is? You ask. You’ve never been there, it’s fine. And even if you have been there, and you just happen to forget or get a little turned around, that’s okay too. 

I think it’s partially age (I don’t really care if people are looking at me, and they’re actually probably not) and partially not wanting to let a fear stop me, but most of that gym-timidation is gone, even when I try new boutique classes. I ask where I’m going or what equipment I need, and 99% of the time, people are nice. If they’re not, then I probably just don’t go back to that studio, unless the workout was the best ever. 

I have also accepted that, yes, I will always get turned around in gym locker rooms, no matter what, and if I take a class with coworkers and they have the electronic locks, I will somehow break my lock and need to get assistance. I have found in life that if you can laugh at yourself first, it generally makes things way easier. 

Have you ever been intimidated by a gym/the gym? How did you get over it?

4 comments on “Gym-Timidation

  1. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul

    I sometimes find myself getting intimidated in fitness classes when everyone’s really fit and I’m not, but then I just remember that I’m there to get my workout in, and my workout is the only one I need to focus on!

  2. Katie

    Gym-timidation is so real!!! I find that its best to tell the instructor that you’re new and you know nothing, either you’ll surprise them with what you’re able to catch on to, or you’ll realize they’re not that good of an instructor if you introduced yourself as new and they didn’t help you out.

    To get over the intimidation factor…I remind myself that everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. Very rarely do people actually notice the other people taking class, and if someone is noticing/being disrespectful, that says everything about their character, and nothing about yours.

  3. Rossana

    I was very self-conscious when I first started going to the gym. But the instructor is down to earth and so are the other people that I’ve met. I figure anyone who may be judging me probably makes judgments about people in general and isn’t worth me fretting over. At least I’m taking the right steps to improve my health. That is what really matters.

  4. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    I still feel this way when trying a totally new to me studio. Especially one that is notoriously hard! But I agree that with age you get a little more numb to it all, and I generally care less. Although I still have thoughts of being the “worst” (looking at you yoga that gives me more anxiety than zen) I blame the uber competitive person in me for that.


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