Canadians more intimidated to go to the gym than to meet their in-laws

Do you find going to the gym for the first time intimidating? You’re certainly not alone.

Four in 10 Canadians are intimated to go to the gym, and nearly two of those four (19 per cent) found the experience to be very intimidating, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of ParticipACTION and GoodLife Fitness.

Just how hesitant are Canadians about their first-time gym visits?

The survey also found that Canadians perceive the first day of school or work (17 per cent) and meeting their in-laws (12 per cent), less intimidating than going to the gym for the first time. 

Tips to reduce intimidation

The gym is one way to help you get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity weekly for adults. Breaking the 150 minutes up into attainable chunks, as little as 10 minutes, can be a good way to start. Here are some other tips to tackle your gym intimidation:

  1. Consider bringing a friend. 52% of respondents said that bringing a friend could lessen the intimidation factor and 30% said they’re intimidated because they don’t know anyone. Attending with a buddy is a great strategy to stick to your scheduled workouts and to experience positive social interactions within your new environment.
  2. Attend an instructed class or orientation session. Of those surveyed, 33% said that they worried because they didn’t know what they were doing. Classes or an orientation can set you up with a foundation to build confidence and aid comfort in your new environment. Attending classes is also a great way to meet new people and form new social groups, aiding overall enjoyment.
  3. Focus on your workout and goals at hand. Some of the fear that 28% of respondents feel revolves around the perception that other people are watching them. The truth is that other gym-goers and associates already enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle and know why you’re there. A sharpened focus on your own workout and goals will distract from this fear creeping in.
  4. Go for the first time, build a routine. The only way to become comfortable in an environment is to expose yourself to it. Establishing a routine is an easy way to lessen the jitters: Pick a time during the day that works for you and plan your route to the gym. Find out where the changeroom is and perhaps pick a favourite locker corner to return to each time you attend. With each visit you will feel your confidence grow and the resulting benefits that a regular physical fitness regimen provides.

For the third time, ParticipACTION and Goodlife Fitness are teaming up to combat the apprehension that Canadians feel about going to the gym. The ParticipACTION Open House at Goodlife allows interested Canadians to sign up for a pass, anytime between April 25 and May 1, which offers 7 consecutive days of free gym time at all Goodlife locations. Participants will receive a digital Get Started Kit which includes valuable information about physical activity, a Goodlife tour and orientation, use of cardio and strength training equipment, access to fitness classes and a copy of the Living the Good Life book.  Quebecers can access the same program through Énergie Cardio , Goodlife’s banner in Quebec here.