Torture Device or Gym Machine? How to Not be Scared of the Gym

If you experience gym-equipment freak-out – rest assured you’re not alone. But don’t waste more energy being afraid – here’s how to rage against the machines to defeat your fear and OWN your gym time.

Have you been there? Standing in the gym, music blaring and active bodies everywhere, staring at a piece of equipment you’re not sure is a torture device or exercise machine? You look around, filled with dread as you attempt to: a) mount the machine and hope for the best, b) square your shoulders and pretend you know what we’re doing, or c) scurry off to a tried-and-tested machine.

You’re Not Alone: 12WBTers Feel Your Pain!

If you’ve experienced gym-machine freak-out, you’re not alone. We asked our 12WBT community what their most feared equipment was.

‪Amy: “The lying down hamstring one, until I hit up a trainer one day and he showed me the correct way to set it up. Now I’m killing it in 12WBT Lean & Strong Program!”

‪Karlie: “The front door: push, pull.”

‪Beth: “My PT (personal trainer)!”

‪Lisa: “It used to be the chin-up machine, but I have totally rocked that now and don’t know why I was so intimidated.”

We loved this one from ‪Paula: “None! I rock them all these days! Thanks to 12WBT!”

Scared of Skipping?

It’s not just the technical gym machines that get people sweating with fear. The humble skipping rope was one of the scariest pieces of workout weaponry on our 12WBT Facebook page

‪Jo: “Skipping rope! I keep whipping myself and it makes me wanna burn it!!”

‪Andrea: “To be honest, the skipping ropes! I’m terrified of them!!”

‪Donna: “Skipping rope: I want to jump rope like I did in primary school and it just doesn’t happen anymore.”

Wanna know what’s in Mish’s gym bag? Check out this blog post.

Conquer Your Fears One Step at a Time


You don’t have to join the gym to do 12WBT – you can work outdoors or in the privacy of your own home! If you do want to hit the gym but are feeling intimidated, here’s your game plan …

Get Help: Ask one of the gym staff to show you how the equipment works – that’s what they’re there for!
Ask for a Gym Orientation: Most gyms are willing to introduce you to each machine and give you brief demonstrations of how the equipment works.
Read the Instructions: Many of the machines have instructions on them to show you what muscle group it works and how to use it!
Buddy Up: It’s a lot less scary if you have a partner in crime to help you out or, if they’re a newbie too, to work out the machines together.
Book a Personal Trainer (PT) Session: Investing in a couple of sessions with a PT can give you the confidence to go it alone. If you’re joining a gym, ask if they have any special deals – lots of gyms may throw in a session or two to get you started.

Want to switch out a certain exercise but not sure how? This blog post will take you through the process.

The Most Important Thing: Stop Stressing Out

The best thing you can do is not worry about looking silly in front of other gym-goers. They’re all most likely too wrapped up in their own workout to worry about what you’re doing on the chest pull machine. Everyone at that gym started just like you, and the more you go, the more confident you’ll become!

Share your most-feared piece of gym equipment in the comments below!

Join 12WBT and you’ll have access to an exercise library of over 270 videos, photos and step-by-step guides on how to use all that gym equipment. We’ll have your fears squashed in no time!

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