Half of Americans battle ‘gymtimidation,’ afraid of working out in front of others

NEW YORK — Getting to the gym is a tall task for many adults, but once there, feeling comfortable enough to start working out may be even more of a challenge. A survey of 2,000 Americans found that about half expressed fear of working out in front of others.

The survey, sponsored by protein drink-maker Isopure, found that exercising is a daunting experience for adults who aren’t gym rats. “Gymtimidation” may sound silly, but as many as 50% say it’s a phenomenon they experience when around others at their fitness club. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents report feelings of intimidation when working out near someone who is in excellent shape. Another 17% say they grow intimidated when exercising in front of someone of the opposite sex.

About 3 in 10 (31%) admitted to pangs of anxiety when thinking about trying to get in shape in general. Another 48% said they feel intimidated by the sheer number of fitness workouts and classes offered at their gym. Even among those who have conquered their fears, 47% say they still experience intimidation from time to time.

On the other hand, a whopping 37% of respondents say they have never worked out said they’re too unhealthy to begin exercising.

For those battling gymtimidation, lacing up the running shoes and going for a jog around the neighborhood might seem like a keen alternative, but even that’s asking a lot for some adults. More than a third (36%) of those surveyed said that running outside is more intimidating than starting a new exercise routine.

Fitness routines can help some get over this sense of gymtimidation, but only up to a point. Even those who work out regularly have struggles: 40% of this segment they feel like they’ve reached a physical plateau. It could be because their workout routine has grown stale. Thirty-eight percent say they’ve always followed the same regimen and never switch things up.

“Consistency in your fitness plan is fundamental to get results, but eventually the body adapts and plateaus can occur. A fresh activity or workout routine can help break you out of the fitness rut by forcing you to adapt,” says Isopure General Manager, Jonathan Thompson, in a statement.

Eventually, positive gains from doing a routine over and over again begin to slow. Nearly half of those who say they’re stuck in a gym rut (48%) haven’t seen a positive change in their body in a while, and 41% agree their weight has plateaued. Conversely, another 41% mired in a rut say they’ve actually gained weight without changing their diet.

The takeaway? Battle past those anxious feelings and remember that seeing results requires hard work, confidence, and the occasional fresh mix of exercises.

The study was conducted by market research firm OnePoll.

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