Gym intimidation is a real thing and it happens to everyone.
When you enter a new facility, you don’t really know who is in the gym, how things work and where you will sit in relation to it all.
I still get gymtimidated - I remember getting coached at a powerlifting gym and thinking I would be weak compared to everyone else or that I should be stronger because of my work.
Even when we moved gyms for personal training last year, there was the fear of getting judged that comes with the new training environment.
Before we develop a strategy to overcome gymtimidation, we need to hypothesise what’s causing it to happen.
Most people don’t want to be embarrassed when they go into a new environment, which is an entirely reasonable feeling to have.
When they are trying something new or they haven’t done for a while, particularly in front of someone who is proficient at it, this can be cause for potential embarrassment if they mess up.
There are two ways to overcome this as a coach:
You can repeatedly say “I’m here to coach, not judge” or “don’t worry about anyone else is the gym - they are focused on their own workout”.
Both are true, but neither really settle down a client’s racing mind.
Alternatively, you can go about implementing strategies that minimise the client’s chances of failing.
An example is the online training platform I use with clients, that has video demonstrations of each exercise.
If they’re not sure how something works, or simply want a refresh, there’s an instruction ready to go (without having to ask for a refresh).
It also allows clients to map out what the entire session is going to look like, so they can prepare for it before even getting to the gym.
This takes out the chances of not knowing what to do when they get into the gym.
If the machine is taken, they simply move on to the next exercise and come back to it later.
One less thing to think about is going to increase comfort and performance.