Before January 2019, I never had a gym membership. I hadn’t felt it necessary as I mainly focus on bodyweight exercises and enjoy going to classes, so paying between £20-100 per month to do those same exercises in a public space just didn’t seem logical. Then my goals changed and I decided I wanted to incorporate some more heavy lifting into my routine. Using my resistance bands is great for defining and maintaining my strength but as my body got used to that way of working, I needed to keep it on it’s toes, metaphorically speaking, and change how I worked it.
Being in the fitness industry, I have friends that work in gyms or at health clubs so I would sometimes train alongside them – this was a great way for me to experience the gym floor as if I were a member and I really enjoyed it and saw my body changing in ways that I had hoped for. The change was minimal but I wasn’t looking for a huge transformation.
I soon became a member of a gym, however when it came to going there alone and doing exercises that I know I can do technically correct and without the need of someone spotting (watching out) for me, I had a strange anxiety come over me that I hadn’t felt when I was going with my friend.
So often I’d heard of people feeling too intimidated to go to the gym but I wasn’t aware it was a thing until I, myself felt it. I’m a fully qualified personal trainer, with pre and post natal experience and I know my way round a gym the way I navigate around my own hometown. However, I felt like I didn’t belong and realised how much of a male dominated space the gym is. I couldn’t imagine being someone with less experience, purely wanting to go to the gym to work on themselves and how intimidating it could feel.
I’d love to be able to tell you that if you feel similar to me, this feeling goes away, although I’m personally not quite there yet and would always opt to exercising at home or going to a class over walking into a gym. Although I have seen many women overcome this anxious feeling and hold their own in the gym – something I am hoping to do in the future. A lot of gyms are designed for men in their aesthetic design, most probably because the majority of their members are male, businesses have to go with their main target audience right? However, I feel passionate about making gyms a more female friendly space and welcoming new members who feel they have the right to train alongside everyone else without a fear of judgement or feeling patronised in anyway.
I read a quote once that said, “Am I intimidating, or are you intimidated?” Something which I agree with, however I do feel as though there are certain factors into what makes someone feel intimidated and in this case I feel it is the environment in which gyms are creating a space to workout in. No one should ever feel intimidated whilst trying to better themselves and I am on a one woman mission to try and change the way, especially women feel about going to the gym.