The word gymnasium originates from the Ancient Greek term gymnόs meaning “naked” while gymazo, a related Greek verb means, “to train naked”. So right there we can’t be too surprised that many people feel a little uncomfortable with the thought of going to a gym. We hear the many horror stories and urban legends detailing the epic fails of gym visits gone bad and recoil in disgust that anyone would pay to experience such physical and emotional pain. There is a myriad of research to suggest that the gym environment is perceived as unwelcoming to the novice exerciser. From the sea of steel and high tech cardio machines to resistance training stations that look more like medieval torture devices (not to mention the skinny, spandex clad fitness people jumping up and down while measuring their heart rates), the gym is more like a battlefield than a welcoming, healthy environment. Would it be surprising to note that looks can be deceiving?
Fitness centers and gyms, alike, can be healthy, fun, and friendly places once we are able to peel back the curtain and see it for what it really is. From an experienced personal trainer’s perspective, there are a few secrets to share in the hopes of easing the minds of fitness newbies…
1. You’re Not Alone
According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the current and global number of fitness club members is 131,700,00 and only 33-percent actually use their memberships. The struggle to continue an exercise program is a popular one and by the time January moves into February, most first timers will have traded their yoga pants for a pair of flannel PJs.
The key to surviving the first few months of fitness center phobia is to remember that there are others in the same situation, sharing the same fears and feelings of intimidation. Search out those people for support and the rate of adherence and comfort goes up.