How I overcame my gym intimidation and started working out

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaFeb 15, 2023 | 08:00

How I overcame my gym intimidation and started working out

The generation most affected by 'gymtimidation' is Gen Z with 38% of Gen Z respondents saying they are impacted by a fear of judgment at the gym. Photo: dailyO

One resolution that had always stayed consistent across all of the New Year's resolutions we have written over the years is: to stay fit. It could be anything that appeals to you, such as going for a jog or enrolling in a yoga or gym class. But if you're still 'thinking' about it two months later, and haven't started your fitness journey, we got you.


The resolution started five months ago

For me, my resolution began around five months ago, when I decided to join a gym. 

The decision to enroll in a gym where people can see me working out was never easy; it came after years of deliberation and countless cancelled plans to start gym with my friends since working out alone was always too intimidating for me.

But, it was a family wedding that rather forced me to join the gym about six months ago, since it reminded me of a previous family wedding. 

Since we all know what Indian weddings are all about: The Bride and Groom getting Married? Oh hell no, it's actually all about the extended family members and listening to them complain about stuff like decorations and food. For me, the torture of cousins that I see only during the wedding functions, were actually trying to give me compliments like "you look amazing, but have you gained weight? or "you don't look fat in this" 

So, this time I started preparations for my cousin's wedding even before her, and I thought of going to the gym. For support, I perused my flatmate to join me.


Flashback August 2022

"So, you want to lose weight and your friend wants to gain right?"asked a man with a bulky body and an iPhone in his hand. He was looking at me for an answer. 

My mouth said yes with a smile, but my mind was wondering: "Who the hell are you to judge, and what if I wanted to gain weight?" 

Data shows, the generation most affected by 'gymtimidation' is GenZ with 38% of GenZ respondents saying they are impacted by a fear of judgment at the gym. 

Another 2019  Penn State study found that women were significantly less likely to participate in strength-building activities than their male peers. 

However, the process of going to the gym daily, as a GenZ female became more difficult for me as my friend started flaking out soon, and now the only thing I knew in the gym were my earphones. 

It does get better, eventually

People, especially GenZ like us, definitely want a healthier lifestyle, but our anxiety and social awkwardness always make it difficult to stay true to our goals of staying fit. I can still recall my first day when I entered the gym alone and nothing was helping me to not feel anxious, not even Taylor Swift in full volume. But soon I realised that I can overcome my 'gymtimidation' by following some simple steps. 


Manoj Kumar, 30, who has been working in the fitness industry, since the 1990s, shares some tips and facts which I have been applying for the last six months, which have helped me to attain my fitness goal: 

Nobody cares

 You need to understand that everyone in the gym is so busy focusing on themselves that do not care about you.
- Manoj Kumar

One fixed time

If you are go to a gym on a fixed time, it would help you reduce your social awkwardness as you will see the same faces daily. It could be at anytime that works for you. 

Find the right support system for you

This begins with determining what you require, whether it is a community of individuals with similar goals, a regimen adapted to your requirements or equipment that you can really lift. Then you can continue what works for you, from YouTube channels teaching you what you should do in a gym like Chole ting or Emi Wong ,or getting a personal trainer. Now, that depends on the amount of time and money you want to invest in it. 

Take baby steps 

Kumar explains how weightlifting, contrary to popular belief, is equally important for women. However, he adds that one needs to start small with say, cardio (running on a treadmill) or by lifting less heavy weights and slowly building your strength.

Invest in good pairs of earphones

If none of the above works, try investing in good pair of noise-cancelling earphones/headphones and focus on yourself (It works the best for me).

Also keep in mind, getting fit could mean different things for different people, it is not just about losing weight.

But before you go, always remember what Gloria Prichett said:

Last updated: February 15, 2023 | 08:00
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