Women Feel ‘Gymtimidation’ Twice As Often As Men

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Photo: Everett Collection/Shutterstock

If a person from Ye Olden Times were to see a modern gym, it would truly appear to be a venue of mystifying torture: The pulley machines are reminiscent of the sadistic, twisty contraption from The Princess Bride, wafts from a moist hellhole pour out of steam rooms, and treadmills and stationary bikes lined up in front of picture windows threaten to fling their users through glass, right onto the street. 

Yes, a gym could convincingly pass for an outer circle of hell where people never stop perspiring and must don fascinating, brightly hued uniforms. So it is no surprise that people report being intimidated by the gym, which, of course, the Daily Mail dubs "gymtimidation."

This evidence comes from a new survey of over 500 men and women, conducted by Cosmopolitan Body about feelings regarding the gym: Women feel twice as embarrassed about exercising as men do, and are particularly hesitant when other people look at them. While women report that they fear seeming unfit, 20 percent of men report they are afraid of not knowing what they're doing. And 97 percent of women say they are not happy walking about nude in a locker room.

For most people, the gym is a netherworld of perceived judgement. It should be noted that Cosmopolitan Body did not inquire about whether anyone harbored a fear that the gym would transform into a chamber of torture machines, with a 30-minute limit on each device during peak gym hours.