This guest post was written by Rob Wagener, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and owner of Fizzness Shizzness.
For those who are just starting their fitness journey and walking into a gym for the first time, this can be an overwhelming experience.
Not only are you in a new environment with your surroundings, but you are also around gym people you’ve never met before and never seen. It’s easy to feel as though you were walking into a lion’s den, with people ready to make fun of you, judge you, and laugh at you.
This is called “gymtimidation.”
But in reality, none of that is happening.
This article will discuss what’s going on with other people at the gym and why you should put your mind at ease.
Why Do We Feel Judged At The Gym?
Going to a gym and working out has a lot of benefits, but one of the main reasons people go to the gym is to change their physical appearance.
People often work out to get leaner, lose weight, build muscle, or just look more toned.
But, that pressure on physical appearance can be an extra burden for somebody walking into the gym doors for the first time.
They may feel like they are comparing themselves as a new fitness person to others in the gym who are much more qualified and experienced in the fitness world, or at least that’s what we think.
But it’s not necessarily true, so we will discuss the five things you should know about gym people that will put your mind to ease and help you overcome the fear of being judged or made fun of.
5 Things You Should Know About Gym People
Gym People Are Not Paying Much Attention To You
Most of the people that are going to the gym are doing so with a tight window of time and opportunity in order to get their workouts done.
We all lead busy lives; for many, a little bit of time at the gym is a luxury we can’t afford to waste away.
So when we are at the gym, we concentrate on our workouts in our own little bubble.
There’s not much extra time to worry about what others are doing, and certainly not to spend time judging others and their appearance or level of workout.
People at the gym aren’t paying much attention to anything but themselves.
Gym People Are On Their Own Journey
Those of us who have been working out for several years and are involved in the health and fitness arena know that everybody is operating at their level, capacity, and skill set.
We understand that not everybody will lift the same amount of weights, run the same speed on the treadmill, or have the same physique as others.
Walking into the gym, you may feel that others are comparing what you are doing to what they are doing. You might feel inferior because you’re unable to do what they can, and even more so, you might feel like you are going to be judged and mocked for your perceived fitness level.
But in reality, gym people don’t care, and they’re not paying attention.
If anything, they understand that a journey has different stages and levels and that you must start somewhere small to end up somewhere big.
If anything, others at the gym will respect your ambition to start at whatever level, and are rooting you on.
We might not notice the weight you’re pushing, but we see your effort and the fact that you showed up.
Gym People Want To Help If You Need It
Even the most experienced gym goer has had moments where they looked at a machine and didn’t know how to use it.
Or where we certainly have performed exercises incorrectly, or with bad form but didn’t know it at the time.
Feeling a bit lost or confused is a part of learning the ropes and part of your overall journey.
We’ve all been there.
But, in most of these cases, we are too embarrassed or shy to ask for help from somebody else at the gym. We don’t want to look stupid or like we are experienced; in those cases, we certainly don’t want to draw attention to ourselves.
So instead, we skip the exercise or the machine out of risk of embarrassment.
But as it turns out, the other people at the gym want to help if you want it.
Most people I know at the gym love helping others and would go out of their way to help somebody else get a good workout or avoid hurting themselves.
People who regularly go to the gym recognize that we’ve all been through those stages and would have loved somebody to help us if we had the confidence to ask.
You’ll be surprised how willing and wanting people are at the gym and are willing to lend you a hand when you need it.
People At The Gym Are Learning, Too
Despite what you may think or even what they try to convey, most people at the gym don’t have all the answers and are still trying to figure things out on their own.
Maybe they’ve got a little bit of experience and have some results to show, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got it all figured out.
Many gym people are often trying new routines, new exercises, and different types of workouts to try to get the results that they want.
Gym People Are Rooting For You
I don’t care who you are or what stage of fitness you are at.
I want you to win. I am rooting for you.
Many might be surprised by this, but most people at the gym, sweating their butts off, are rooting for you.
They’re rooting for everybody there. The fitness community generally tends to be one of acceptance and support.
We may not all be there for the same reasons, but we are all there for some reason, and because of that, there is a deeper appreciation for each other and a bond, even if unspoken.
Some Final Thoughts About Gym People
In some way, everybody at the gym is connected.
We are there for some purpose, reason, or goal. Despite our backgrounds or our paths, we have a lot in common with each other and a lot of similarities.
If you are unsure of yourself as you walk into a gym for the first time, keep these points in mind, and remember that even though you might walk in by yourself, you are certainly not alone.