The Overwhelming World Of Fitness, Simplified: Defeating Gymtimidation

The Overwhelming World Of Fitness, Simplified: Defeating Gymtimidation

Three key to defeating gymtimidation, without breaking a sweat.
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It doesn’t matter if it’s January 15th and everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions are in full swing or June 15th and you’re pounding beers and enjoying a keg belly, one thing doesn’t change: gymtimidation. Gymtimidation, or gym intimidation, is a powerful reality in the gym for people of all levels of fitness.

Gymtimidation, first of all, comes to people of all shapes and sizes — the 6’4, 240 lb wannabe bodybuilder, or the 5’2, 130 lb woman with killer curves, and everyone in between. According to Urban dictionary, gymtimidation is “when someone is very insecure about themselves and they feel threatened by others in the gym who are in good physical condition.” According to me, gymtimidation is the sensation of insecurity because of any underlying factor in a gym atmosphere.

Gymtimidation isn’t just some bullshit excuse not to go to the gym.

Even as a 4-year bodybuilder, I have faced gymtimidation every day I have gone to the gym. I believe some people are born naturally confident, while others struggle with confidence throughout their entire life no matter how they look. I write this to speak to the people in the latter category.

Overcoming gymtimidation is a three-key process; everyone loves threes, right?

The first key is realizing that everyone in that gym started somewhere different from where they are now. You would be surprised how many jacked guys I’ve met who used to be obese and incredibly insecure about their weight. I’ve met female physique competitors firsthand who used to struggle with eating disorders, whether it was binge eating or anorexia. Every person in the gym is simply trying to be a better version of themselves than they were yesterday.

Key two is even easier… you have to realize that successful people in the gym don’t give a damn what you’re doing. I promise you people aren’t watching you, and if they are, then they’re looking for one of two reasons:

1) you’re sexy AF or

2) they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

People who succeed in the gym aren’t judging you because they’re focused on themselves, as they should be. And even if people are looking at you, let them look while you are bettering yourself. Nothing else matters.

Key three is a key you will always have to work at to achieve. This key is creating a comfortable environment for yourself. Until you are comfortable working out around other people, go to the gym at non-peak hours so there are fewer people. Invest in a gym wardrobe that makes you feel confident in yourself: looking good is half of the battle.

Finally, being comfortable is all about knowing what you are doing in the gym. Until you know exactly what you are doing and can make adjustments to it in on the fly, write down everything you plan to do. If you don’t know how to do a particular exercise, look it up instead of cold attempting it for the first time in front of a lot of people. Knowledge is confidence.

Personally, I’ve etched away at my ideal physique for four years, and I can count on my hands how many times I’ve skipped the gym. I started lifting because my entire life I was made fun of because of my size, but now I have a physique most guys aspire for: a year-round toned stomach, big arms, and plenty of strength to back it up. But every single day I walk in that gym, it never fails that one little thing gets my attention. It tries to plague my thoughts. It tries to get in my head and tell me I’m not good enough.

The best of us suffer from gymtimidation.

Every time you walk in the gym, you have to remember what everyone is going to the gym for. Any mature adult is not going to judge you or hate on you for going to the gym to improve yourself, even if you don’t know everything you should about working out.

Overcoming gymtimidation is as simple as finding things in yourself to be confident about and building your knowledge of what you’re supposed to be doing.

As always, happy lifting!

Cover Image Credit: Public Domain Image

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.

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I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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