More than half of British Columbians are too intimidated to go to the gym: study

Dec 19 2017, 9:35 pm

We know this is a crazy question in Vancouver but…Do you stress about the leg press or run scared from the biceps bar whenever a gym session is due?

You’re not alone, according to a new study by public opinion research company Ipsos.

The online poll, conducted on behalf of GoodLife Fitness clubs and ParticipACTION fitness campaign, interviewed 1504 Canadians about their gym habits between March 25 and 29.

It found 51% of British Columbians – more than any other region in Canada and more than the average across the country – were intimidated to go to the gym to work out.

Overall, the poll found 40% of Canadians are intimidated to go to the gym.

The gender breakdown there is stark: while 28% of men say they are intimidated by going to the gym to work out, a full 50% of women said the same.


Of the Canadians feeling intimidated, 38% said they’re afraid other people will watch them while 33% said they were worried they don’t know what they’re doing.

When broken down by gender, those figures were markedly higher for women than men.

Main reasons for feeling intimidated at the gym

  • Afraid other people will watch them – 38% (women 44%, men 29%)
  • Worried they don’t know what they’re doing – 33% (women 31%, men 23%)
  • Don’t know anyone – 30%
  • Too overweight to go to a gym – 28%
  • People like them don’t go to gyms – 16%
  • Gym regulars are intimidating or not nice – 14%
  • Afraid they’ll hurt themselves – 7%

Bizarrely, in a province where half the population live in health conscious Metro Vancouver, 23% of British Columbians just said people like them don’t go to gyms.

When asked what would help make the gym less intimidating, more than half of Canadians said going with a friend, while three in ten said getting to know other gym-goers.

Others said learning how to use the equipment (28%), having a personal trainer (22%), or going to a class (17%) would help.

Three in ten Canadian women said going to a women-only gym would be less intimidating. (No figures were given for men-only gyms.)

And in our province – perhaps surprisingly – 21% of British Columbians said nothing would make the gym less intimidating.

Regions most intimidated to workout at the gym

  • British Columbia – 51%
  • Atlantic Canada – 47%
  • Alberta – 44%
  • Saskatchewan and Manitoba – 38%
  • Ontario – 36%
  • Quebec – 36%
DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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