Last updated on November 11th, 2022 at 05:28 pm
I can guarantee that you’re not the only one who feels judged at the gym.
This is basic human nature, especially if you’re new to the gym.
I’m sure you’re worried that others are watching your every move.
Perhaps, they’re judging you because of your weight, or clothing, or even how you look.
But, are they really judging you?
Here’s what you need to know about being self-conscious in the gym and whether it even matters.
Table of Contents
Why Do I Feel Judged at the Gym?
The main reason you feel judged at the gym is because it is something new and scary. Whenever faced with a new challenge we all feel a little nervous. You may worry about your body, clothing, fitness levels and skills, your routine and even asking questions. However, in truth, most gym-goers are more interested in their own workouts. Plus, the gym environment typically has some of the nicest, friendliest, and most approachable people.
The Gym is New & Scary
I would hazard a guess that we are all a little self-conscious and nervous when greeted with something new.
This is especially true when there are other people involved, which makes us worry about what they think of us.
This is basic human nature, and no matter how confident you think another person is, we all have doubts about ourselves.
So, walking into the gym for the first time can be extremely intimidating.
However, in my experience the gym environment is one of the friendliest, and typically has the nicest people.
In essence, we all go to the gym for the same reason, i.e. to look and feel better.
So, there is often a sense of camaraderie.
As long as you follow basic gym etiquette you’ll be fine.
It’s also a good idea to have your workout planned out beforehand, simply so you don’t look like a lost sheep wandering around.
Plus, if you’re not sure how to use a piece of equipment, just ask, you’ll be surprised at how willing most people are to help.
After a few weeks you’ll generally start recognizing people, and you may get the occasional “sup” nod, or even a hello.
Much the same as anything in life, once you’re used to it, the gym becomes a far less intimidating place.
Don’t People Judge in Everyday Life (Yourself Included)?
Something else to consider is that we are all quite judgemental, probably yourself included.
Forget the gym for a moment, I’m sure that you’ve passed someone in the street and had thoughts about them, whether good or bad.
However, you don’t know that person, you’ve never interacted with them, and yet you’ve drawn conclusions about them in your own mind.
Once again, this is basic human nature, and we all do it.
In fact, it doesn’t matter what a wonderful and positive person you are, you will undoubtedly have judged another at some point in your life.
With that being said, think back to when you have done this.
If you never actually communicate with a person you’ve judged, chances are that you will have completely forgotten about them within a matter of minutes.
The exact same thing occurs the other way around.
So, even if someone is actually judging you in the gym, rest-assured you will have been forgotten about soon, while they give their attention to another.
And this is the point, people are different to each other, and there’s good and bad wherever you go.
Some people light up your day, whereas others always create a black cloud over proceedings.
And in the same vein, some people will never even notice you or give you a second glance, and others will judge you and pretty much every person they see that day.
Don’t sweat it, you can’t control other people, but you can control your own emotions.
The Gym-Judging Survey
Would you believe that there has been a survey conducted on this very subject?
FitRated asked 1,000 gym-goers whether they worried about being judged in the gym, or if they have actually judged someone else.
The results make for some very interesting reading.
A total of 51.4% of respondents said that they had actually skipped a workout from fear of being judged.
When looking at gender, 64.9% of women had skipped a workout for this reason and 36.1% of men.
Some of the other “Being judged” statistics provided by FitRated include:
- Your weight – 64.9% of women, 51.6% of men.
- Not using the equipment correctly – 58.5% of women, 43.8% of men.
- Not looking fit enough – 54.6% of women, 46.6% of men.
- Doing an exercise incorrectly – 51.0% of women, 46.6% of men.
- Clothing – 49.0% of women, 36.3% of men.
And the list goes on, you can check out all the results at FitRated.
Most Gym-Goers Simply Don’t Care
This is something that I have already alluded to, but most gym-goers simply don’t care.
What I mean by this is that the vast majority of people in the gym are there to workout.
So, more-often-than-not people will have their head down, while training hard, and probably thinking about their own problems.
Okay, as I’ve mentioned, we all tend to judge others in everyday life, some more than others.
And of course, this can occur in the gym environment.
However, I still hold true the fact that the gym typically produces the nicest and friendliest people.
And, I still maintain that most people in the gym simply don’t care and haven’t even given you a second thought.
In truth, as human beings we all have our own problems and issues.
However, many of these issues are nothing more than things we’ve created in our own minds.
In other words, your mind will create a problem that isn’t actually there.
So, I’ll repeat once more, don’t worry yourself about what others may or may not be thinking.
Once you’ve been going to the gym for a few weeks you’ll quickly slip into your own routine.
Plus, it won’t be long before you have a few new “gym friends” yourself.
Don’t allow your own mind to stop you from creating the body of your dreams.
How to Deal With People Staring at You in the Gym
So, I hope you understand that the main reason that you feel judged in the gym is because it is something new to you.
This in itself makes things scary, which is generally when your mind starts playing tricks on you.
In truth, the gym environment typically has many of the friendliest people, simply because you all have something in common.
That said, some people are just prone to judging others, and we’ve all probably done this at some point in our everyday life.
However, once you get into the swing of things you’ll notice that the gym isn’t such an intimidating place.
In fact, you’ll probably end up loving it.
Next, you may also be interested to discover what I have to say about feeling weird about going to the gym alone.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.