“Your gym scares me.”

A former athlete of mine and I re-connected recently and she was interested in the new gym where I’m employed.  Truth be told, I have to give props to this young lady for supporting my decision to leave commercial gym employment in the first place.    

After viewing my gyms website, my athlete stated that my new gym scared her a little and that it looked too serious of a place. 

I feel otherwise, I believe it’s the perfect gym for her.  That said, I don’t believe it’s the perfect gym for everyone.  I will go on record to state that NO GYM is perfect for everyone and furthermore, not all trainers are capable of working at all gyms.


This is not the front door of my gym…but I am curious to see what’s behind that door.

“Gymtimidation” is not a new term, but honestly is rather new to me.  I can certainly understand the feelings one can experience when the only available treadmill happens to be between two human beings running like Cheetah’s around dinner time, lifting weights around people that look more like shaved and tattooed Silverback Gorillas picking heavy things up or being in a group fitness class with what appears to be 40 Julliard trained dancers and there’s you with the two left feet with webbed toes.


I don’t grunt very often, but I have been known to wolf howl from time to time.

Gymtimidation can be a real thing; in some cases it can be the difference between getting exercise and doing nothing to change things. So how does one break past this? One of my early mentors’ outlook on getting over Gymtimidation was quite simple:

                                             Walk In, Jack Stuff Up, Walk Out.

He used a different four-letter word in place of “Jack”…but you get the idea where the guy was coming from.  Basically:  Get there on time, Know why you’re there in the first place, Do your job well and leave when you need to.

(SIDEBAR) This mentor was not the guy with the programming that involved picking heavy things off the floor, putting them over my head and walking around with them.  That guy would have used the “Jack” replacement word at least three more times.


Swear words to you, sentence enhancers to him.

One of my goals as a coach is to give my athlete the confidence needed to have a go of things on their own.  I believe I achieve this by the following means:



  1. Learning gym etiquette.  Some rules vary slightly from gym to gym, but the basics of re-racking your weights, working in sets with others and knowing how to spot basic lifts is always a good thing.  Subject to variation is if the gym allows the use chalk, dropping weights, grunting (yes grunting) and barefoot training.
  2. Knowing the basics of programming and how to maintain a lifting log.  Truthfully this is one area I have neglected, but I do keep customized logs on every one of my athletes and introduce them to new programs when needed and my most athletic athletes get to experience a wide range of methodologies over a period of time.
  3. Proving to them that they are 20 times more than they thought they were.
  4. Knowing how to spot a gym D-Bag.  Usually they bring attention to themselves anyhow.
  5. How to sniff out “Broscience” (Can be tricky, even a physician former athlete of mine was taken in by some Broscience… by her two previous trainers.)
  6.  Being there for them.  Being a coach is not limited to the 30-60 minute sessions you spend together. 
  7. Asking good questions.  I love a good gym question, even when I don’t know the answer.  My positive points here are (a) If I don’t know I will admit I don’t know it.  (b) I might know someone that does, which makes me feel pretty good.  (c) I can certainly look it up, and will actually enjoy doing it.
  8. For the athlete to know what they are doing and why they are doing it.  When needed, what can be used as a substitute


Truth Time: I myself am scared of gyms when I walk in and see a bunch of trainers having their clients do a multitude of circus tricks and silly stuff. 


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