Public gyms might be their own worst enemies


Photo credit: Jaime Munoz

Most of us have, at least once, been the uncomfortable, painfully obvious, new guy or girl in the gym. According to a 2006 article released by NBC, many people are too intimidated or embarrassed to go to the gym, even if they pay for a membership.

Renowned sociologist Erving Goffman stated that embarrassment occurs when an individual feels socially incompatible with his or her surroundings. Unfortunately for new gym goers, you are likely to run into a lot of muscular, in-shape people because they are the ones who frequent the gym.

If the general ambiance of a gym doesn’t make you uncomfortable, good for you. Just don’t look at any walls. The excessive number of mirrors just might be enough to knock you off the wagon. Research shows that mirrors in gyms tend to make new members less energized and more uncomfortable. Generally, people who want to stare at themselves for hours like the way they look and aren’t resolving to go to the gym more.

Unfortunately, like federal penitentiaries, public gyms are inherently designed to scare off new members. That being said, getting over the speed bumps on the road to a solid gym routine can be done.

Try bringing a friend, and I don’t mean your huge friend who owns eight shaker bottles, wears basketball shorts every day of the week, bought a high school class ring and would be there anyway. Bring somebody at your level, who will give you some moral support. You could also try working out at home, doing simple body weight and cardio exercises until you feel comfortable enough to set foot in the local gym.

Like many things in life, public gyms are not for everyone. Remember, if it were easy everyone would do it.

Grant Schmieding can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.