Why 'shy girl' workouts could help with your gymtimidation

‘Shy girl’ workout videos are trending on TikTok, as women share how they exercise while feeling intimidated at the gym.

Stepping into the gym can be a nerve-wracking experience, but these workouts are seen as a soft way in – a chance to build greater confidence when working out in shared spaces.

Female gym users in particular have been using the platform to share their recommended workouts for those struggling with confidence.

Shy girl workouts are centred around exercise plans that require zero or minor equipment, can be completed in just one area of the gym, don’t include movements that people may find uncomfortable doing in front of others, and are simple enough to remember and execute.

They’re designed to be built upon over time, as no one should feel stuck in one corner of the gym if ultimately they want to feel empowered to use more of what’s on offer.

Puregym found 67% of women have feelings of ‘gymtimidation’ in general when working out, which is a phenomenon of heightened feelings of self-consciousness in when at the gym.

Dr Margee Kerr, an expert in fear, says: ‘Going to the gym can be scary, because it is a social experience, meaning it carries all the potential gains that come with socialising, but also all the fears and anxieties too.

‘Working out in a public space can be just as scary as public speaking.

‘In a gym we might feel like everyone’s eyes are on us, watching our every move, waiting for us to slip up.’

Puregym’s study also found nearly two in five people worry they’ll look stupid in front of others and that their body shape will be judged.

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How to progress from shy girl workouts to having greater confidence

The best way is to get stuck in and use the gym more, trying things like going at quieter times and slowly introducing new activities into your routine.

However, some psychological tricks can help too.

Margee say: ‘Celebrate your accomplishments as often as possible.

‘We tend to elevate and focus on the negative, so take time to write out all the steps you look forward to taking and celebrate each one, starting with congratulating yourself for choosing to take on a new challenge.

‘Make a list of all the positive gains you will achieve by going to the gym, and have it somewhere easily accessible – like your phone.

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‘Having your list handy to review before you go to the gym and even on your way to the gym when your anxieties are at their peak, will help give you the boost to push through.’

Try to consider what it is that puts you off exercising personally in the gym – write it down and doing this can make the fear feel more tactile and smaller than your desire to workout.

Lastly, go armed with a plan so you feel more in control.

She adds: ‘Think of the gym as an adult playground.

‘Approach new machines and routines as opportunities to learn, where mistakes are a normal part of trying something new.

‘Give yourself permission to not know how to do something perfectly the first time you try it, or even the second or third time.’

A ‘shy girl’ workout to try from Josh Messarra, a Puregym PT

For these full body workouts, you only need a mat and a pair of dumbbells, so it’s easy to do in a corner of the gym.

Workout 1

  • Alternating lunges
  • Dumbbell floor press
  • Bicep curl
  • Kneeling renegade row
  • Crunches

Workout 2

  • Goblet squat
  • Kneeling single arm shoulder press
  • Dumbbell floor press
  • Bird dog
  • Leg raises

For all exercises, do three sets of 12 repetitions, or tailor as required.

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