How I Got Over my Gymposter Syndrome

Believe it or not, I’ve had gymposter syndrome. I was not always brave enough to walk on the weight room floor.

My journey to the squat rack was not overnight. I’ve always loved the idea of lifting weights but I was afraid I would get bulky or look hurt myself. In high school I took a weight lifting class for PE but refused to do any movements that I thought would jeopardize my gymnastics and dance classes. In college I refused to use the weight room floor because I had no idea how to lift weights and I was intimidated by all the frat stars on the squat rack. Even when Brenton and I started going to the gym together in 2016 I was a strict cardio only kind of gal. It wasn’t until I found the fitness community on Youtube/Instagram that I realized weight lifting was going to be the best way to lose my post grad weight and build my booty.

Now I’m out of my booty builder phase and all about getting strong, but I’m thankful to the booty builders for getting me to the gym floor. Reflecting on my journey, I’ve realized the hardest part was getting over my “gymposter” syndrome and realizing that I am allowed to take up space on the gym floor.

Here are some of my tips for getting over fitness imposter syndrome 

  • A gym buddy. I know this won’t work for everyone, but if you can try to find someone to go with you. Having someone with you will help you feel less alone on the gym floor. If I hadn’t had Brenton to go with me to the gym it would have been a lot harder to get there. Another option would be to hire a personal trainer or take a free training lesson at your gym to get acquainted with all the equipment.
  • Follow a program. It is so much easier to try a new move if you can watch someone else do it first. I started by following Youtube or Instagram workouts from Meggan Grubb, Whitney Simmons, Robin Gallant and Nikki Blackketter. From there I took the leap and bought my first Natasha Oceane program. Brenton and I have now worked through three of her programs and we are loving the results.
  • Stand up for your space. As a small woman I have had multiple men try to make me move or tell me that I am doing a move wrong. After enduring unsolicited advice for the last four years I’ve realized I can just ignore them. I promise that there is a magical and empowering feeling to just stare blankly at a gym bro who is trying to intimidate you. 
  • Noise cancelling earbuds. These are super helpful for the above. You can’t mansplain weightlifting to me if I can’t hear you. It’s also a great way to annoy your partner by not noticing their screams for you to help them. 
photography of woman listening to music
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com
  • Confident gym music. Some days I lift listening to NPR’s Up First but most days I need some awful sugary pop to get me through my workout. Either create a playlist or find one that fits your needs.
  • Buy some fun gym clothes. Nothing is more motivating to me than being allowed to shop. When I first started working out I set myself mini goals and when I hit them I bought myself a new gym item or new shoes. To this day I am more motivated to go workout if I look cute. Don’t underestimate the motivator and the confidence of a good outfit.  
  • Don’t give up. Some mornings I get to the gym and want to turn around and go home BUT I have never regretted finishing the workout. It’s ok to take rest days or skip that morning workout to sleep in but the more consistent you stay the easier it is.  
  • Try a different workout if it’s not making you feel good. My favorite YWA phrase is “find what feels good” and I have applied this to all of my workouts. If I don’t like how a move feels I modify. No need to force yourself into submission if something doesn’t feel right. 
  • Pick non-peak times. I HATE going to the gym in between 5-7pm. I am a morning gym goer because a crowded gym is wildly unmotivating for me. I do not feel confident when I am being crowded on by big dudes so I always try to pick non-peak times. If I end up going during a peak time I pick a machine and or free weights and stand my ground (see number 3).  
  • Remember that everyone else probably does not give two shits about what you are doing. The moment I acknowledged that I was doing this to make myself feel good I was able to push everyone else out of my mind. 
  • These are my 10 tips for fighting gymposter syndrome and getting shit done at the gym. Did I miss anything? Leave your tips in the comments below! 

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