LCCC student Aja Cyran is very reluctant to go the gym because she is self-conscious. “I definitely feel uncomfortable at the gym especially being a girl, because I feel like it’s a guy’s territory, so I feel out of place. Guys are judging my form and most girls judge in general,” Cyran said. Like Cyran, many women fear the gym because they are afraid of being judged.
According to Fitness Magazine, a survey of 1,000 people by Fitrated found that 65 percent of women avoid the gym entirely because they are afraid of being judged while only 35 percent of men felt this way. When asked if she judged others while at the gym, Cyran had very litt
le to say, “I typically keep to myself, but I’ll notice if something is out of the ordinary.” Cyran and others believe that everyone should be able to work out in peace and be happy and healthy.
Bill Mansfield, an avid LCCC gym member, said that he likes going to the gym because he loves the energy that the younger generation have and also relates to the older generation that come as well because he grew up with that generation.
Lisa Augustine, Ph.D., professor and program director at LCCC and coordinator at the LCCC gym, had a lot to say about the normalization of gym fear.
“At every gym, only 50 percent of people who have memberships actually come to the gym. Women are the ones who normally don’t come because they are more prone to self-consciousness then men are.” But Augustine offers assistance to those suffering from gym anxiety. “We give free orientations of the gym and equipment, you could get a free membership, there’s always someone in the gym to help you every step of the way if need be. The trainer is a real person just like you, nervous to start and not sure so they know what you’re going through and will help you as much as they can.” She said they (LCCC’s gym) have a modest dress code so no one will be quite so self-conscious.
Augustine has always wanted to help others based on her own personal situation. “My family suffers from obesity problems on both sides, so I’m more prone to gaining weight so I try my best to keep that from happening to my family. I want to help prevent illness by making exercise the new medicine,” Augustine said. Just like many individuals want or need it, she wants to help just as much.
Gym anxiety is something that almost everybody goes through at some point in their lifetime. Some people just overcome it faster then others. Just because people have the anxiety now doesn’t mean that they can’t overcome it in the future. Getting over the anxiety will not be easy, but once that first step of going to the gym is over, the rest becomes easier.
Kathryn Orantek, facilities and wellness coordinator at Health and Wellness Sciences, offers these tips to overcome gym fear:
* Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Those of us in the fitness industry love to help others on their journey through wellness. Asking the fitness instructor/specialist to guide is smart and arms you with knowledge.
* Remember those that look like Aquaman and Wonderwoman are usually too interested in how they look to worry about what you look like. Also, many of them didn’t always look like a super hero.
* Many times, those super hero-looking participants are doing the exercises wrong. Please don’t do what they do just because they look fit. Safety should always come first.
* Have a set of clear realistic goals before you start. Plan for all obstacles you might face and have things set in place to work around those obstacles.
* Work out with a friend if possible. Not only will it keep both of you accountable it also will keep you distracted from what anyone else is doing.
Last but not least, remember everyone has fears, even the super hero look-a-likes. Their fears just may not be working out in front of others. All of these are a part of life just like being physically well.
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