It's Called Gym Fear
Gym fear is a genuine concern for a lot of us out here in the real world. Not knowing what equipment to use, knowing how to do exercises, but afraid people will sneer at how much weight we lift or how we’re doing it, fear of people staring at us, and fear of people judging us, these are all pieces to a puzzle we don’t know why we’re building. Planet fitness was on to something when they originally came up with the “judge-free zone”, but the execution is not that great. It serves for those beginners who are afraid of being watched, but now it alienates fitness professionals who may just want to get in a workout without talking to other people too. I have personally had the 'Lunk' alarm go off on me twice when I wasn’t doing anything inappropriate towards anyone, but was performing an exercise that seemed ‘intimidating’ to the guy behind the counter. IT. IS. CRAZY! As an industry, we push every type of person looking to become healthy into a box based on how they look, what they know, how they look with what they know, or simply which gym they’re going to.
So how do we break this fear without pushing people down this path that causes negativity? In this article I have a tip or two that will ease the minds of many and maybe give you the courage to try out that gym you’ve always wanted to be a part
The first thing I always tell people who come to Strength Camp Jax for the first time, and express how nervous they were, is that Michael Jordan was once short. EVERYONE on this planet who even considers themselves in a good health and wellness standing started from the bottom. You can’t become the strongest version of yourself overnight, although we would all love that. Even the most fit person has gone through depressions, fears, lack of self-confidence, etc.. My guess is you know at least one person who loves working out. I guarantee you, they have suffered from one of those. It is a sad part of our industry, but not an inevitable one. Which brings me to my second point.
No matter how many different gyms you attend, the likelihood of there being one mean person is about 90%. There will always be those rotten people in this world who would rather place their insecurities on others by making fun than to accept their own flaws. The beautiful thing about certain warehouse gyms is the fact that we can turn our backs on them. We have a 100% respect policy in our gym. It is in the contract, it is reiterated daily, and it is implemented 24/7. No one will feel disrespected as a human, as a beginner, as an elite athlete, as a woman, as a man, as a Christian, etc. We have coach-to-client respect, coach-to-coach respect, and client-to-client respect. It is written in our agreements that we have the power to terminate a membership of ANYONE who displays negativity towards someone else in any fashion. So if that is something you are seriously concerned about, check out your local box gyms and warehouse gyms and see what their policies are.
Other people aside, what you have to remember is you’re worth so much more than the assumptions that come from these fears. We assume we will be judged, heck we assume we would do terrible the first day, but that is false. The human brain is so complex and loves to trick us into thinking we are not worth overcoming what we’re afraid of. An idle mind is the devil’s playground and we tend to sit and overthink walking into the gym to sign up, to try it, or to go in general. I am here to tell you that YOU ARE WORTH IT. Don’t let your mind, negative people, or social media tell you that you’re not good enough to be your version of healthy.
There is no right answer when it comes to which gym is best. Each person has a different ideal of what type of training they want to do, what kind of space they want to do it in, and what time of day will work with their schedules. You may enjoy the freedom of a 24 hour gym that allows you to use what equipment you want and how long you want to use it. You might enjoy being told what to do at a class-only warehouse gym and having that trainer right there to guide you. You might love working with bands and training right in the middle of your living room, and that is all okay. I don’t want you to think I dislike Planet Fitness, I don’t (I believe it is a perfect fit for some people), but I think more often than not we are taking actions that grow our fears of gyms than dispelling them. Find a gym that makes you enjoy the time or the results more than you are afraid of what people will say.
I personally am privy to a class-run warehouse gym, not just because I own one, but because your fears disappear immediately when you experience the culture. It is another family; the encouragement from client to client is incomprehensible through just reading about it. When we had our first big class, I’m talking clients of all different fitness levels, ages, mobility levels, and they were doing team sprints, the way they all came together and cheered each other on gave me chills-still gives me chills writing this now. All I am trying to say is you can’t let your fear keep you from becoming the strongest version of yourself. Do a trial at a gym you’ve always wanted to try, give yourself some credit and trust that your locally own gyms will take care of you. Fear is real, but your will to overcome it is far more powerful.