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Scared to Go to the Gym? Overcoming 3 of the Most Common Fears

two women celebrating a victory at the gym
If you're feeling a bit scared to go to the gym, here are three of the most common fears (and tips for overcoming them). Sometimes it helps to know you're not alone!

by Steven Auger

Gym-goers of all ages tend to share a common goal — they're interested in taking control of their health by trying to improve their fitness levels. Need proof? Gyms are rife with inspiring, positive success stories.

Even so, some folks still have anxiety about signing up for a gym membership. This is totally understandable; fear of the unknown is real! Sometimes it helps to know you're not alone. If you're scared to go to the gym, here are three of the most common fears (and tips for overcoming them).

1. Fear of Judgement

Someone who's new to a gym might feel like they're being stared at or judged while they're exercising on the gym floor. If this sounds like you, you're not alone! But rest assured, gymtimidation isn't a factor at all gyms. In fact, if you haven't heard, Planet Fitness is the Judgement Free Zone®. That's right — no judgement or gymtimidation is allowed!

If you still feel a little nervous during your workouts, there are ways to deal with the fear of being judged. The key is finding your comfort zone quickly. Make sure you wear comfortable workout attire; nothing should feel too loose or restrictive. After first arriving at the gym, consider working with a trainer to get to know the equipment and solidify a routine that's customized for you. Once you get comfortable exercising on your own, you might even find a workout buddy.

Also try going to the gym during non-peak hours. The fewer people in the gym, the quicker you'll feel comfortable in your surroundings. Remember, everyone has a first day at the gym — so cut yourself some slack!

2. Fear of Choosing the Wrong Gym

Your intentions are good, but what if you join the wrong gym? Not every fitness club is the same. Some gyms cater to hard-core lifters while some specialize in making beginners feel welcome and supported.

For this reason, make sure you select a gym based on the factors that are important to you. Perhaps you work off-hours, so you need a gym that is open early or late. Or maybe you want a variety of training options depending on what your fitness goals are.

And just like with real estate, think about the location! Your gym's address matters. You'll want to take this into account if you plan to make several visits each week. Having the flexibility and the ability to access multiple locations is convenient — especially if you travel a lot for work.

3. Fear of Not Knowing Where to Start

Most beginners don't typically walk into a gym and know exactly what exercises to perform. It's normal to feel a bit out-of-place while getting started. To build your confidence, consult a certified fitness trainer with your list of questions. They can help teach you how to properly perform a number of exercises, advise you on how long to rest between sets, and how often you should work out.

Once you've finished your routine, the trainer can show you some good stretches, which is an important part of your workout. While the individualized attention of a fitness professional might not be affordable for many, Planet Fitness offers free fitness training through PE@PF; the cost is included in the price of membership!

Knowing the basics of the various machines will help you develop that comfort level needed to get into a workout rhythm. And participating in small group training sessions is a good way to plan routines that can propel you toward your fitness goals.

Conquering these common fears will prove that there's no reason to be scared to go to the gym. As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.