For those of you just getting started on your fitness journey, we understand that the road isn’t always an easy one. You’re surrounded by people who look like they should be on the cover of a magazine. You’re expected to use equipment you’ve never even seen before. It’s reasonable to feel intimidated.
Just know you aren’t the only one. Everyone was a beginner once, and everyone had to overcome feelings of gym-timidation in order to get where they are today. In case you don’t believe us, we interviewed employees here at BPI, as well as some of our top athletes, to get their stories. Keep reading to hear what they had to say.
“My first job out of high school was to teach aerobics and light weights at a gym. Then, the course of my life changed, and I was diverted to the corporate world. For many years I discontinued my relationship with the fitness world. Until recently. Getting back into the gym was intimidating at first. I felt like I was out of touch with the equipment. I forgot the workouts. I am now much older than many of the patrons I encounter in the gym. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted to quit the first week. However, I have overcome this by getting back to my core; and being reminded that I can do all things that I dedicate my mind to. I no longer worry about trivial things, I stay focused.” – Sharon McKenzie Stewart, BPI Sports Employee
“The way I tried overcoming my intimidation was getting a friend who was a regular at the gym to show me the ropes.” – Mike Taylor, BPI Sports Employee
“Intimidation in the gym was huge for me, especially since I started off really skinny. I was really weak and didn’t know what I was doing in the gym at the time. Most people have great gym etiquette and will help you if you’re still a beginner and you have questions or need guidance. At the end of the day, everyone is just trying to get a workout in and they aren’t too worried about who’s working out around them.” – Steven Cao, Team BPI Athlete
“Before my daughter was born, maintaining a ‘normal’ physique didn’t require much effort, so it was a reality check after her birth. I knew I had to get into a gym at some point. I started going to the gym in my condo to avoid the bigger gyms and having tons of people around. I’d go late at night and look at the machines and even looked on YouTube for exercises because I had no clue what I was doing. I finally had enough nerve to sign up for LA Fitness and began the journey. I’d wear long sleeve shirts and even hats to not feel embarrassed if someone was looking. It was hard, but with time I realized that everyone starts somewhere and it’s ok to feel a little lost. I overcame the embarrassing phase and now feel comfortable going on a daily basis. It’s a process I believe we all go through but consistency and informing yourself of what makes you comfortable is key to not feeling intimidated.” – Elena Torres, BPI Sports Employee
“When I first started going to the gym, I was worried that I was doing the exercises wrong & that people were watching and judging what I was doing. Since I was a beginner, this made me super nervous to go to the gym.” – Kerby Fortner, BPI Sports Employee
“As I recall memories from the start of my fitness journey, I remember the feeling of intimidation and anxiousness which would often consume my mind whenever I entered the gym. I was always fearful of using machines the incorrect way, or practicing poor form while others watched me. It almost felt as though everyone in the gym noticed whenever I was unsure of an exercise I was performing. This feeling of discomfort often discouraged me from going to the gym, and I quickly realized that this would set me back from reaching my goals. I refused to allow this feeling to consume my body and mind, and instead I decided to do something about it. During this process I educated myself through the use of Google, YouTube videos, and fitness Instagram pages. The information I obtained was very clear and concise, allowing me the opportunity to practice moves in the comfort of my home. Throughout my research process, the most important thing I learned involved writing down key tips/exercise routines in my phone that I was able to directly apply to my exercises at the gym. My desire to reach my fitness goals sparked me to learn more and more about how to properly activate my muscles while using various machines. Not only was this information helpful, but it actually worked! The changes that I saw in my body ultimately allowed me to feel more comfortable in the gym, and the feeling of anxiousness slowly but surely went away. Now I am well informed about the equipment I use and the exercises I perform, thus allowing me to also educate others as needed. I chose not to allow this feeling to consume my mind, and instead I did something about it! You can do it too!” – Chanel DeLisser, Team BPI Athlete
“My first time entering a gym was extremely intimidating. I remember looking around and feeling lost and out of place because I am ‘too skinny’ to be at a gym. I felt like an amateur, very insecure, had no idea what I was doing and I felt like everyone was staring at me judgingly. It was overwhelming to say the least, so I only did classes the gym provided, like Zumba. It took some encouragement to realize I am not the only one in this position. With persistence and knowledge, I finally feel accepted in the weight section of the gym and confident enough to march up to guys asking, ‘How many more sets do you have left?’” – Jessica Greaux, BPI Sports Employee
“For me joining the gym was the same experience as a young kid starting school: full of excitement and anticipation! It was a big deal for me because I personally had to save every cent to be able to afford the 3-month gym membership. For a 14-year-old kid in a family that didn’t have ‘extras,’ this was a big investment. I signed up and walked into the gym as a skinny kid ready to get HUGE… but I soon found I was lost in a sea of equipment. My thoughts of walking in and throwing tin around and moving from one machine to the next like a boss was dashed to pieces when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. My initial go-to source of information was any muscle magazine I could get my hands on. I tried countless training philosophies and principals that I read in these publications, putting them into practice in my new home – the gym. These days, there is nowhere else that I feel more at home in than the gym. It’s actually hard to think back and imagine all the initial nervous feelings I had when first starting out and worrying each time I went to the gym that I was getting in someone’s way. While I personally think the gym scene has changed a lot and is far more welcoming these days, I can still appreciate someone feeling nervous about joining. My biggest piece of advice is feel the fear and do it anyway. Life is about being uncomfortable, being able to adapt, and eventually being able to master the situation until that uncomfortableness is now under your control. All I can say is, any fear and nervousness you have now is worth going through for the pay off and benefits to your whole life that health and fitness can bring.” – Tyrone Bell, Team BPI Athlete
“Oh the feels of walking into the gym for my very first time! All I can say was anxiety, looking around and thinking who’s going to judge me right now and how will I get in the back room and train next to all those big guys in the gym? Well let me tell you a story. I am only 5’0. I like to say 5’1 on a good day and when I first started lifting it was because I was this itty bitty thing walking around. I was only 85 pounds and was constantly made fun of and was asked if I eat and why am I so skinny. That was all the motivation I needed to get myself a membership to a gym. Of course, I was so intimated when I walked in and didn’t know where to start or what to do. Well one thing that helped me is looking at videos on YouTube of how to train, or looking up to someone you are a fan of and simply doing your homework. I just remember walking in and looking for the biggest guy in the gym and walking up to him and asking him questions like, ‘What’s the best exercise that will target this body part?’ or, ‘What do you think will help me grow this muscle?’ It all starts with simply asking those questions. You will surprise yourself because you would think the biggest guy in the gym is the meanest or the most intimidating but in all honesty, they turn out to be the biggest teddy bears ever and love to help out when needed. So moral of the story is don’t be scared of going to the gym, don’t be scared to ask questions and one thing I also did was people watch. I am a visual learner so watching others train helped me pick up tricks and ideas for certain muscle groups. Another great way to get over the anxiety from making it to the gym for the first time, is maybe get your friends to sign up with you, or your sister. This will turn out to be a team effort and in the long run you can all make gains together and make it a lot more fun that way.” – Narmin Assria, Team BPI Athlete
“People shouldn’t feel intimidated by others or use that as an excuse to not better themselves. At the end of the day, you should be doing it for yourself and no one else.” – Tirso Escamilla, BPI Sports Employee