Embracing Your Inner Athlete- 7 Tips for Getting Over Gym Intimidation

Embracing Your Inner Athlete- 7 Tips for Getting Over Gym Intimidation

Recently my friend shared an Instagram post with me that sparked some of my thoughts in this article.

The post was about everyone having an inner athlete.

It’s something I resonated with and I thought you might too. Let me explain…

I never used to be the confident, lean and strong person I am now.

In primary school I was the fat, chubby kid.

In high school I was shy AF and pretty much hid myself behind books.

Throughout all of my school life, I HATED sport. I was SO bad at it. My embarrassment at how bad I was meant that I made every attempt to miss sport class throughout high school.

No one would have expected me to become this girl who loves the gym and has the body I have now.

Whoever you are, even if you’re currently overweight, or underweight or scared of the gym, you can find your inner athlete and learn to love the gym environment too.

Believing you have an inner athlete inside of you (because you do!) will help you be the person you need to be, to do the things an athlete would do, to have the body that you desire.

The best thing about the gym is that you really are competing against yourself.

Plus you don’t need to feel embarrassed because you actually can’t be bad at it. You might not know how to do an exercise at first, but you can learn. And once you master one exercise you can learn another. You only have to know the basics. As long as you have an open mind and are willing to learn, YOU CAN’T FAIL!

I get that you might be scared to go to the gym to start with. But don’t let your current situation, or thoughts like “I don’t belong at a gym”, stop you. Everyone is welcome at the gym.

This article is going to give you some tips for getting over gym intimidation. If you need any further pep talk please reach out to me!


7 Tips for Getting Over Gym Intimidation

Tip #1: Choose a gym you feel comfortable in

Doing something new is always going to be a little uncomfortable. Especially if you’ve never pictured yourself to be a gym goer. But remember, there is room for everyone in the gym! You just have to realise that there is such a thing as the right gym for you.

The people in the gym make all the difference. This includes the gym manager and the personal trainers there. They create an atmosphere that you either feel kinda good in or that you don’t like at all. Even if you are the most confident person in the world and have been training for years- some gyms just feel better than others and it’s because of the people training there.

My favourite gym environment has always been one where everyone is doing there thing but are friendly enough to say hello. There’s a bit of a community vibe to the gym and it feels welcoming.

If you have avoided training at a gym in the past because you have walked into one and felt so uncomfortable, then please know that it’s possible to find a gym that does feel nice! If you’re new then it might feel nice in an uncomfortable way, but it will feel 100 times better than a gym where everyone is super snobby and mean looking.

Even if it means driving an extra 5-10 minutes, if it helps you feel more comfortable whilst you get used to learning how to use the equipment and building your confidence, then it is worth going to a gym that is further away. 


Tip #2: Follow a program

Following a program is pro. It allows you to train with intent and purpose, just like an athlete would! Even if you don’t really know what you’re doing, following a program will help bring out your inner athlete and make you feel more confident in the gym environment. 

Think about it like this… someone who walks down the street like they’re on a mission to get somewhere looks far more confident than someone who dawdles and is wondering where to go next.

Walking around the gym doing whatever you feel like is the same- it looks amateur. It won’t help you feel less intimidated. And it won’t get you results.

Having direction through a program will help you LOOK more confident in the gym and this will help you FEEL more confident. Plus it will get you better results too!


Tip #3: Practise at home

Another bonus of having a program to follow is that you can practise the exercises at home.

Your program might come with video demonstrations of each exercise or if it doesn’t, you can look up the exercises on Youtube.

Study the way the exercise is being done. Look at any tips provided for doing it correctly and then take a video of yourself doing it at home. Compare this video to the demo and then identify any parts of the movement you might not be doing correctly. This lets you fix any mistakes at home and then when you go to the gym you’ll be more confident knowing that your technique is better than what it was the first time you did the exercise in your home! 


Tip #4: Don’t compare yourself to others

I know this one is difficult but it’s SO important!

Find someone who you want to look like. That sounds contradictory but let me finish…

Use this person as inspiration of what is possible if you stay consistent. Use them for motivation to go to the gym on those days you feel like being lazy.

But don’t compare yourself to them! EVER.

Reality is that we are always going to look to others for inspiration which is totally fine. But you have to draw the line between using someone for inspo and using them as a means for comparison- whether that is someone online or someone in the gym.

We are all at different stages and we all have different goals!

Even the best athletes started out not knowing anymore than you do right now. Maybe they didn’t start off with the same body you have in terms of your current body weight, but at the end of the day we are all human beings. We are ALL capable of achieving fat loss or muscle gain or better fitness. The end result of this fat loss or muscle gain or fitness will depend a lot on your genetics but the fact is, the process is possible for anyone. NO MATTER who you are or where you’re starting from.

Comparing yourself to someone who has been training in a gym for 5 years when you’ve been going for 5 weeks doesn’t make sense. The more you do something the better you get. You can’t expect to be on their level if you haven’t put the time in to get there. I’m sure you have something you’re good at simply because you do it often and it’s second nature to you. Your gym inspo person probably can’t do whatever that is as well as you simply because they haven’t put the time in.

Focus on yourself and where YOU are at, as well as where YOU want to go. If you do this, you won’t even need to feel intimidated in the gym because you will only be aware of YOU! As soon as anyone creeps into your mind bring your attention back to you and keep going on your journey.


Tip #5: Know that no one really cares!

You have to think like your inner athlete wants you to think!

You can do this and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You’ve got this!

The truth is, no one else in the gym cares about what you’re doing there.

You care because it’s new to you and you think it’s a big deal.

When something is new and shiny it is a big deal TO YOU ONLY.

How many times have you showed a friend something new that you’ve bought and they aren’t nearly as excited as you are about it?

No one else knows the gym is new and shiny to you. And it sure isn’t new and shiny for them! So they don’t care!

If anyone is actually watching you in the gym, they probably don’t know what they’re doing either!  They’re watching you to make themselves feel better about it (they are looking for someone they can relate to). People who know what they’re doing tend to be too busy focusing on their own training to look at what you’re doing!


Tip #6: Start with classes

I wouldn’t recommend classes as a long term strategy to get results. However, they are a great way to meet people in the gym and can help give you some extra motivation to go. If you happen to make friends with someone in a class you will find yourself making sure you go to that class to see that friend.

Also, if the trainer taking the class is a good trainer, they should be able to help fix some basic technique issues you might have.

By attending classes consistently, you’ll develop some initial strength, you’ll become fitter and learn better technique, plus you’ll get to know faces in the gym so it doesn’t seem as daunting. These things will help you feel less intimidated in the gym!


Tip #7: Avoid these common mistakes

The more you learn the more confident you will feel! Check out some other common mistakes you can avoid in the gym in my article here.



Whether that is a gym goer, half your size or just 10 pounds lighter!

Embracing your inner athlete can help you in so many aspects of life. Having the discipline of an athlete, having the internal belief that you can do it, having that desire to be a little bit better each day… You can embrace that athlete mentality and bring your inner athlete to life.

Being good at the gym means getting some kind of result from your training. That comes down to following the right program for you body and goals, showing up when you need to and following a nutrition plan that is aligned with your training program and goals.

This means that ANYONE CAN BE GOOD AT THE GYM!! You don’t need to be skilled to do this, you just need to have a tailored plan to follow as well as some accountability to make sure you show up.

I’m so passionate about helping anyone achieve their health and fitness goals, no matter where you’re starting from or who you are. You matter and you deserve to be your best self. If you would like help getting there then please reach out by sending me an email. I’m always happy to answer any questions you have about your specific situation. Otherwise, just remember, IF YOU WANT IT, YOU CAN DO THIS!