Let’s Talk About Intimidation

Yesterday, I joined up at my local gym for the next four weeks. I was really looking forward to getting in a good arm workout… but that didn’t happen.

Here’s something about my gym: a lot of people I know from around town and from my high school years go there. When I was in high school, I definitely wasn’t known as the sporty type, let alone someone who even knew how to hold a weight.

As soon as I walked in and recognized people, I ditched the plan I originally had and hid upstairs where I could do a leg workout using lighter free weights instead.

Why did I do that?! I really don’t know what gets me about seeing people from high school at the gym. I can work out at college around people I know just fine.

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I did a lot of thinking about it after I got home. I came to the conclusion that I am self-conscious about what my high school classmates will think of me when they see me at the gym. As much as I dislike it the fact is that it makes me really uncomfortable to have grown out of the stigma of what I may have been considered in high school, even though I am really proud of how far I have come fitness-wise.

I’ve decided that when I want to use the heavier weights in the lifting area, I will hit the gym earlier than my fellow twenty-somethings for now. I know when they like to use the gym from previous experience. BUT – I am going to make a point of it to use those weights when my old classmates are present before the new year starts because, first of all, I pay to use the space just like them, and second, they truly probably don’t even care what I am doing.

I am willing to bet that this scenario is 90% in my head. That’s why I need to overcome the intimidation I feel. We are typically our own worst enemies.

You might think that this fear is silly, and that’s fine. I get it: “Ooooh Angela’s scared of the big bad classmates.” But hear me out.

Today I challenge you to identify something that scares you, even just a little bit, and make a pact with yourself to beat that fear in the next few weeks. It doesn’t have to be food or fitness related – it can be anything. Are you with me?

Question of the Day:
What fear are you going to overcome?
Have you ever felt intimidation stemming from something in your past?

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30 comments

  1. I SO understand this! In fact I didn’t join my university gym for this exact reason. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my gym but the amount I paid to avoid my classmates was a bit excessive! You have nothing to worry about though. You’re badass for being in the gym and don’t you forget that!

  2. I’m usually fine in the gym, but to be honest i’d probably be feeling a little but uncomfortable in that situation as well – my city is big enough (and where I live far enough away from my old high school) that I don’t run into people I know at the gym, and that suits me just fine. I’m sure you’ll be able to get over this fear though!

    1. I hope I can! I don’t plan on going to that gym forever but it’s so affordable and they let me only pay for the months I’m there, so I just have to suck it up and deal with workout out around people I know.

  3. Girl, I wouldn’t want to go to a gym with all of my high school classmates simply because that would be weird and I wouldn’t want to see them all. I totally get where you’re coming from. When I feel extra self conscious (and I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately with the burn and everything), I try to keep it in perspective that even though I feel like everyone is looking at me and thinks I look ridiculous, chances are they aren’t really paying attention to me. Doing that helps me trick myself into chilling out a little bit. That being said, I also really like that you are conquering your fear head on!

    1. You’re so right about tricking yourself. I know that maybe they look at me once and they are worried about their own workouts (or they should be at least!). I do just need to get over it though. I can’t hide when I am paying to work out, ya know?

  4. Girl, I -completely- understand where you’re coming from. I’ve actually never had to deal with running into old high school people at my gym, but I’ve definitely picked up on the intimidation factor when working with the weights. You’re right though — it’s probably all in our heads. Like when you have a zit and feel like EVERYONE is staring at it, when no one actually even notices? Yeah.

    1. I am so happy to hear from you and everyone that I am not alone in feeling that intimidation! The zit thing, omg! So true. I am really self conscious of the mole on my chin and think everyone is staring at it but everyone says they don’t notice it. All in my head!

  5. Oh my gosh I completely relate! I actually don’t like seeing any one from high school and am ALWAYS intimidated or anxious around them. I really try to hide when I see them around me. I don’t belong to a gym but if I did and they were there, you bet I would be nervous and shift my thinking. I know it’s all in my head and no one really cares one way or another, but I definitely understand! Show them who’s strong next time 😉

  6. I think this is a really really common feeling…not even just around people from your past but also around people who you think are going to look at you and wonder what you’re doing there. For example, at my gym the weight room is full of HUGE guys who all go in groups and hang out while they lift. I walk in and I’m a girl only lifting 15 pound weights. I feel uncomfortable, almost like since I’m not a fitness competitor or something that I have less of a right to be using the weights. You just have to put thoughts like that out of your head and physically make your legs move towards the weight room until there’s no turning back haha.

    1. Exactly!! I get the same way when big dudes are lifting like 50 pounds. It’s hard to be confident that way, even though I know I am making progress in my own way. I just try to remember that once I couldn’t even lift 15 pounds so I should be proud, not self-conscious.

  7. I actually rarely, if ever, get intimidated. I don’t give a rat’s booty about what others think of me. They can bite it, if they’re not a fan. They don’t dictate what I do/don’t do, and I hope that your intimidation subsides in the upcoming years. Flaunt what you got and own it! 🙂

  8. Join the club, my friend. I remember going to the gym and seeing alot of the other guys from my school there and felt ridiculous- I was FAR from the sporty time in high school. One of them even asked if I was working reception at the gym because I was there.

    For me, personally, it stems from being a people pleaser and not wanting to draw attention to myself. After a while, I got over it though- I’m not really friends with those guys anymore and if they want to snicker or have perceptions of me, let them- or, as you said, it could all just be in my head and they couldn’t care less.

    1. Someone really asked you that?! Jeeeez that is rude. I am not friends with a lot of the people who I see either, although there are a few I am good acquaintances with, so it’s a little weird when I see those people. And some people might not even recognize me! I just have a good face memory. I like to think that it’s all in my head and that people aren’t super judgmental, but I am also not a fool and know that humans are crazy critical…

  9. There are some guys in my gym that workout together especially on a Friday and they talk across the room to each other. It used to intimidate and annoy me but I just pushed through and kept working out anywhere but I can so understand that feeling.

    I hate public speaking and presenting at work. Something I know I need to face my fears on!

  10. I think you have a great plan, and I understand how you feel! weights are intimidating at first, and even more so when you feel like people you know are watching you. Go when it’s slower and you know you won’t see them to build up your confidence. I bet once you get the hang of using weights you won’t feel as awkward seeing people you know. Good luck, girl!

    1. Thanks! I feel mostly confident in my abilities since I have been lifting more all semester at school. What bothers me is that when I see people from my past they might be judging me because I have changed, etc. And it’s intimidating to lift next to bulky men! I just need to feel confident when I am around people who I see as intimidating.

  11. I need to overcome my fear of taking risks… as we’ve discussed.

    I ALWAYS AVOID PEOPLE AT THE GYM. I did it in high school, I did it in college, I do it now. I’m just so private when it comes to fitness… when it isn’t yoga, then I don’t care because I feel like no one focuses on anyone but themselves (at least they shouldn’t).

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