More than a third of gym goers have already thought about not going there due to lack of self-confidence. This is the result of constructionStudy by PureGym, a chain of health clubs in the UK that took an interest in this phenomenon, and dubbed it “gymtimidation”.
Most common fear? Not knowing how to use equipment properly (a reason given by 60% of respondents) and not being able to recognize it (54%). Another common concern among fitness practitioners or bodybuilders is not being as fit as other athletes (56%).
Being afraid of the gym increases your heart rate
This fear of the gym is not just a figment of the mind. For the purposes of the study, people who were not accustomed to visiting these institutions were fitted with heart rate monitors. In order not to misrepresent the results, they were asked to do very light activities when trying the device.
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As a result, their stress level increases significantly during certain events: when they are unable to use the treadmill, when other members arrive and, above all, when they enter the dreaded free weight zone. One participant’s heart rate rose to 150 beats per minute (bpm) when a gym member asked how to use an elliptical trainer.
4 tips to reduce your fear of the gym
Fortunately, there are certain factors that make it possible to cross the path more calmly.
1. To be accompanied by a loved one
Going to the gym with a loved one can reduce stress. As evidence, while the highest heart rate recorded among single visitors is 143 beats per minute, it only rises to 130 beats per minute among participants accompanied by a friend.
2. Learn about sports equipment and floor plan
52% of those surveyed in the study said that knowing how to use equipment reduces their fear of going to the club. To exercise without fear, do not hesitate to have one of the club’s coaches accompany you. Again, the heart rate monitoring results speak for themselves. Whereas, on the first visit to the gym, a single member’s average peak pulse is 142 beats per minute, and only reaches 129 when the round is done with a coach.
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3. Have a training plan
Knowing what exercises to perform during your session greatly reduces stress. Once an “workout plan” came in handy, the subjects PureGym studied saw their hearts beat at a maximum rate of 134 beats per minute on average, versus 168 beats per minute in those who didn’t have one. No wonder, then, that 39% of gym goers say they gain confidence when they burn calories on a set schedule.
4. Going to the gym outside rush hour
When are gyms least crowded? A very important question for those who are afraid of the look of others. After investigation, it was between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., and between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., the lowest number of people there. On the contrary, it is not recommended to go to the gym between 5 pm and 7 pm if you do not like crowds. In general, Mondays and public holidays should be avoided, in preference to weekends and especially Sundays.
*Study of 850 gym-going people, ages 16 and over, September 2021.
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