The gym is like Marmite, some people love it and some people hate it.
There’s rarely an in between feeling when it comes to the gym.
For exercise in general, yeah there’s a range of opinions, but when it comes to going to a physical gym that’s where you have a split opinion.
Going to the gym is like going to university though. It’s one of the few things in life that even if you don’t like it or agree with it, there are usually far more benefits to showing up than there are negatives.
It’s strange then that so many people seem to hate going to the gym…
Disclaimer – I love going to the gym. I built my own home gym, I’ve held multiple memberships at the same time and have even moved into an apartment complex specifically because it has a gym.
While I personally love going to the gym, I’ve been told enough times why people don’t like it. I’ve probably trained with 100 people yet never had a consistent training partner.
Therefore, read on as I cover the main reasons why people hate going to the gym and also how you can get over it.
Most people still want to exercise and get in shape so if the gym is the main deterrent, I want to show you how you can avoid that!
Table of Contents
Why Do You Hate Going to the Gym
Everyone has their own reasons for not liking something and there will be very unique reasons for each and every person.
When it comes to the gym this is also true, however, there are definitely some common reasons why most people hate going to the gym.
Below I’ve listed the 7 most common reasons why people hate going to the gym and also given some insight as to why these may (or may not) be justified:
1) The Gym can seem Intimidating
The #1 reason why many people hate going to the gym, especially beginners, is because it can seem like an intimidating place.
If you’re going to the gym because you feel too fat or too skinny and want to lose weight or build muscle, the last thing you want to see is a bunch of bodybuilders and fitness models!
Not knowing what you are doing in the gym and being surrounded by in-shape people who clearly know what they are doing can be an intimidating thought.
“What if they laugh at me”
“What if someone tells me I’m doing it wrong”
“What if I don’t know what I’m doing and look stupid”
These are genuinely thoughts some people have and it can make the gym feel like an intimidating place. While this is arguably the top reason why people hate going to the gym, it’s also the most warped view.
Gyms may seem intimidating at first but the truth is, everyone is there to work on themselves and for the most part no-one is paying attention to anyone else.
Someone in shape will usually have respect for someone attending the gym (even a beginner) because it’s a sign that they want to improve themselves.
It’s also the case that the people you think are most intimidating are actually those that are most willing to help and offer advice if needed.
Once you attend a gym you’ll find that they are not as intimidating as you first thought and that they are actually the opposite, a safe place where you can go to improve your health, fitness, physique and overall life.
2) Self-Conscious and Anxious
Linked to the above point, many people hate the gym because they feel self-conscious about how they look or how unfit they may be.
Humans – especially adults – are often reluctant to do new things for fear of looking stupid or unskilled in front of others. We hate looking like a beginner that doesn’t know what they are doing.
Therefore, when you’re already self-conscious about something that can make it seriously off-putting and can prove to be a real psychological stumbling block…
If you don’t feel good in your own body, going somewhere that has the majority of people in great shape is not going to be an appealing thought. This then also leads to anxiety and thinking the people with good bodies will be shaming you.
As with the first point though, everyone else in the gym is either facing their own self-conscious thoughts or just simply focusing on themselves.
Still, there’s no denying that feeling self-conscious is a key reason why people hate going to the gym and highlighting what they think is an obvious weakness of theirs.
3) It’s too Busy
Even as someone who loves the gym, the thing that even I hate about the gym is how busy it can get.
I train in the city centre and there are about 15 – 20 gyms all within a 10 – 15 minute walk of each other. That’s a lot of gyms for such a small area!
^^ There are actually even more gyms than that list, I guess they’ve just not listed their business on Google?
Despite that fact, If you try to go between the hours of 5pm – 8pm after work (like 99% of us do after work) then you’re crammed in like sardines.
Waiting around to get on a machine, someone always using the weights you want, having no room to work out, the list goes on…
Training at most gyms will get frustrating when you go at a busy time and that is (understandably) one of the main reasons why people hate going to the gym.
4) Most Gyms are Expensive
For many people, the cost of a gym membership can seem steep.
Having to buy a 12 month membership upfront with the fear that you might only go for a few weeks and then see that money waste away for the rest of the year can be off putting.
We’ve all seen the clips of the person they call when you want to cancel your membership. It’s such hard work to cancel that many people don’t want to sign up in the first place.
The key word for this point however is “most gyms”.
Yes, many gyms can be expensive based on the locations, services, and facilities provided but it’s the year 2023 so wherever you’re reading this from in the world, chances are that you have access to a budget gym.
24hr, low cost gyms are now the new market leader so if you thought cost was an issue, I’d recommend checking out some low cost gyms in your area.
In the UK we have Pure Gym and The Gym whereas in the states, Anytime Fitness and Planet Fitness are dominating the gym market.
5) Don’t Like to Commute
If you are already commuting to work each day, having to do an additional commute to the gym outside of that is always going to be unappealing.
Even if you find a gym close to work, the time to get there in rush hour traffic is usually extended and it can make a long day even longer.
Even as someone who trains as a hobby, commuting to the gym before or after work is always a hassle and can sometimes make a long day seem that extra bit longer.
Finding a gym close to work is always a bonus but for most people, the additional commute to the gym is often seen as more effort than it’s worth.
While it might be a stretch to say a commute is a reason people hate going to the gym, it’s definitely something that is off putting enough to make people skip it altogether.
6) Don’t Know what You’re Doing
This should probably be higher on the list but a major reason people hate going to the gym is because they don’t know what to do when they get there.
There are so many machines and workout plans that it’s hard to know where to start.
This definitely ties into the intimidation factor of the gym. Not only do you need to work out how to use a particular machine or piece of equipment, you also need to then make sure you’re doing it correctly.
See also – how to build muscle using only machines
While almost every gym will have a personal trainer or assistant that can show you what to do, there’s no denying that the initial few weeks and especially the first session can be challenging for someone new to the gym.
If you do feel this way though, we now have a low-key way of not looking like a complete beginner or feeling like a fool. If you are unsure what to do in the gym, simply head over to YouTube for some help.
See a machine you don’t know how to use? Well, most machines have a label on to say what it is so simply put that into YouTube and watch a quick tutorial.
Years ago you’d either need to stand around feeling awkward trying to work it out or ask for help but now you can secretly learn how to do anything in the gym without looking or feeling clueless.
How to Stop Hating the Gym
1) Get a Training Partner
If you feel intimidated by the gym, don’t know what you’re doing, or feel self-conscious then there’s one simple solution to help all of those points – get a training partner.
Training partners are great at all training stages from beginner to advanced athlete and there are a number of reasons why:
- Accountability – a training partner will make sure you show up to the gym and put the work in. Accountability is one of the key metrics for achieving any goal in life, especially something fitness related.
- Help – if you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym it can be much less embarrassing and helpful if you go with someone else. Not only could they be experienced and show you what to do but if they are also a beginner, well, at least you’re not alone in not knowing what to do.
- Comfort – if you’re intimidated by the gym or feel self-conscious then going with someone else is the easiest way to ease yourself into the gym without feeling like everyone is watching you. You’ll feel more relaxed with someone else and being relaxed is the key to embracing the gym as a beginner.
Like I say, a lot of people use a training partner in the gym and if you’re a beginner then you can benefit from going with someone experienced in gym life or from someone else who is new to the gym and doesn’t know what to do.
2) Find Your Why
If you don’t like going to the gym, chances are you don’t have a compelling enough reason to go.
The gym is simply a vehicle that you can use to reach an end goal. The issue people have who hate the gym is that they view the gym as the end goal.
Going to the gym in today’s society seems like a productive or common thing to do so you feel kind of compelled to do it, just because everyone else is.
If you hate the gym though, you might need to dig a bit deeper to get over this.
There are so many reasons why people want to get in shape or just get healthier and fitter in general.
You don’t need to have a desire to have 6-pack abs to be motivated to get in shape.
Some people can have burning reasons like if you were the skinny kid and was bullied or if you have serious health concerns so drastically need to alter your lifestyle so going to the gym becomes essential.
If you hate the gym though, It can be a good idea to find a personal ‘why’ and reason to work out. You don’t need to go to the gym to get in shape, I need to make that clear, but having access to better equipment will usually lead to better results.
Therefore if you can find a much deeper reason for wanting to work out, the gym will then become a tool you use to push towards that goal.
It’s so much easier to think “I need to go to the gym to get in shape to fit into my wedding dress or suit” than it is to think “I need to go to the gym to get in shape”.
Having a general reason to go to the gym isn’t motivating but if you get a more specific purpose, the gym simply becomes a means to achieve it rather than it seeming like a chore and ultimately something you hate to do.
3) Go to a Workout Class
If you don’t want to train alone or don’t know what you are doing in the gym then attending a class can be a great way to ease yourself into gym life.
Most gyms will have classes taught by an instructor included as part of your membership but if not, many will offer classes as an additional package or one off fee.
The benefit of going to a workout class is that not only will you be shown what to do by a qualified instructor, you’ll also be doing it with other people who are likely new to the gym.
Workout classes are one of the best ways to get used to going to the gym before you decide to do a solo workout.
You can learn exercises, learn how to use different machines and also just get used to being in the gym so they are a great way for people who hate going to the gym to get into it.
Classes can be varied with multiple benefits, some of the more popular classes for beginners include:
Related – Can you do LISS and HIIT together?
Surprisingly there are a number of reasons why people hate going to the gym and while hate might seem like a strong word, it definitely summarizes the gym experience for some people.
While there are quite a few reasons why people hate going to the gym, the most common reasons are:
- Intimidated by the gym
- Self-conscious about being in the gym
- Don’t like how busy the gym is
- Gym memberships being too expensive
- People don’t like commuting to the gym
- People don’t know what they are doing in the gym
Despite these being common reasons why people hate going to the gym, most of them can easily be avoided or resolved.
Hopefully I’ve given a few tips in this article to help you see going to the gym from a different point of view and something that can be beneficial and enjoyable, you just have to start…
Next I’d recommend checking out this quick article to see why working out can be seen as a hobby and an enjoyable part of life for a bit more motivation to get over the fear or annoyance and start hitting the gym.