New Survey Reveals 50% of Americans Suffer From “Gymtimidation”


Dr. Haley Perlus is a Sports and Performance Psychology Ph.D. She Provides Tips on How to Crush Gym Anxiety


As the weather heats up, many people prefer to exercise in air conditioning. However, Gym anxiety, also known as gymtimidation, is a feeling of nervousness or unease that some individuals may experience when going to the gym or working out in a public setting. Dr. Haley Perlus, a sports and performance psychology Ph.D. explains that,  “It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as fear of being judged by others, lack of familiarity with gym equipment, uncertainty about how to exercise properly, and self-consciousness about one’s appearance or fitness level. Fortunately, there are many strategies and tips available to help individuals overcome gym anxiety and feel more comfortable and confident in their workout routines.”


Dr. Perlus says, “There are many strategies and tips that can help individuals overcome gym anxiety. Here are some things you can try:”


Prepare ahead of time: Do some research about the gym you plan to go to and familiarize yourself with the equipment you might use.


Start slowly: Begin with exercises that feel comfortable and gradually increase intensity, duration, and difficulty.


Take a friend: Working out with a friend or family member can make it less intimidating and more enjoyable.


Practice at home: Use at-home workouts to build your fitness level and confidence before you start going to the gym.


Talk to a trainer: A personal trainer can help you create a workout plan that is tailored to your fitness level and goals and can also offer guidance on how to use gym equipment.


Go off-peak: Visiting the gym at a quieter time, such as early morning or late evening, can help you feel more comfortable.


Use headphones: Listening to music or a podcast can help you focus and block out distractions.


Set achievable goals: Setting small, attainable goals for yourself can give you a sense of accomplishment and help you feel more confident.


Remember, everyone experiences gym anxiety at some point, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel nervous at first. With practice and persistence, you can overcome it and enjoy the many benefits of regular exercise.


What are “the best” gyms for those with gym anxiety?

Select a gym that is least “threatening” for you. The best type of gym for those with gym anxiety may vary depending on the individual’s preferences and needs. However, generally, gyms that have a welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere can be beneficial for those who experience gym anxiety. Some gyms offer group fitness classes that can be a great way to meet people and make new workout buddies. Others may have personal trainers who can provide individualized guidance and support. Additionally, gyms that are less crowded and have a more laid-back atmosphere may be more comfortable for those with gym anxiety. It’s a good idea to do some research and visit a few different gyms to find the one that feels like the best fit for you.



Dr. Haley Perlus knows what it takes to overcome barriers and achieve peak performance. As an elite alpine ski racer, she competed and trained with the best in the world, pushing herself to the limits time and time again. Now, with a PhD in sport psychology, Haley continues to push boundaries and drive peak performance, helping athletes and Fortune 100 executives reach their goals.


Haley works with individuals and teams to manage and expand their energy capacity while increasing resilience, focus and drive. Dr. Perlus is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, professor, author and consultant to Division I athletes. She has spoken at many events some of which include VISTAGE, Tec Canada, Elite Fitness and Performance Summit and Trilogy Athletes. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado lecturing on applied sport and exercise psychology at the graduate level. She has authored several books including The Ultimate Achievement Journal and The Inside Drive and her articles have been featured in publications such as Thrive Magazine, Fitness Magazine, IDEA Fitness Journal, EpicTimes, Telluride Inside, MyVega and BeachBody®.


Dr. Perlus earned her PhD at the University of Northern Colorado with an emphasis on social psychology of sport and physical activity, her MS at the University of Florida in sport pedagogy and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Western Ontario in kinesiology. Haley loves both water and snow skiing, and hiking. Her favorite meal is anything that requires only chopping or blending.


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