Why introverts hate the gym

How to Survive Going to the Gym When You’re an Introvert

All that noise? All those people? Gyms can be an introvert’s definition of hell on earth!

If you want to get fit, lose weight, build muscle, or tone up, going to the gym can help. Gyms have all the space and equipment you need to reach your fitness goals. However, if you are introverted, the prospect of going into a room full of sweaty strangers can be very off-putting.

And, to make matters worse, while you are sweating and contorting your body in undignified ways, it’s very likely that someone will try to engage you in small talk. While usually well-meaning, such an advance can be enough to make you want to pack up and go home, especially if it’s a common occurrence. 

To get any benefit from exercise, you need to do it often, and that means hitting the gym several times a week. If you find the entire gym environment off-putting, that’s a lot of stress to have to deal with. It could even be enough to put you off going for good, which will make it harder to reach your fitness goals.

I’m a long-term introverted exerciser, and I know firsthand how uncomfortable unsolicited conversation makes me feel. If you feel the same way, here are my top seven strategies for making going to the gym easier for us introverts.

1. Familiarize yourself with the facilities before your first workout. 

If you’re in the market for a new gym, once you have chosen somewhere you like, spend a few minutes exploring the facility so when you come back to work out, you know exactly where everything is. That way, when you return, you should feel more comfortable and are less likely to have to ask for directions to the bathroom or group exercise studio — something many of us introverts hate.

2. Plan your workout in advance. 

If you’re anything like me, the idea of asking for help is almost unbearable. I’d rather spend an hour driving around in circles than ask a stranger for directions! Also, if you look a little lost in a gym, invariably, someone will come up to you and offer well-meaning if unsolicited advice. That’s something else that can make an introvert feel uncomfortable. 

You can avoid both of these problems by arriving for your workout with a plan. Go online and find a workout that’s right for your current fitness level and training goals. Next, fire up YouTube and check some instructional videos so you know how to do your chosen exercises. 

Having done your homework, you can now cruise through your workout like a boss — and without having to resort to asking an instructor for help or looking lost.

3. Arrive ready for your workout, then shower at home. 

Gym changing rooms are often full of people passing the time idly chatting about nothing very important. This mindless chatter is part-and-parcel of most group environments but can make us introverts feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. 

Avoid this danger zone by arriving at the gym in your workout clothes and then, if possible, heading home for your shower. This may necessitate a quick change of t-shirt to save staining your car seat with sweat, but that’s a small price to pay for avoiding unwanted small talk.

 4. Wear headphones. 

Nothing protects you from unwanted interactions like wearing headphones while you work out. It’s generally accepted that other gym users should avoid talking to people wearing headphones. It’s the fitness world equivalent of a porcupine raising its spines!

Wearing headphones also allows you to drown out the usually bland and generic music that most gyms pump out 24/7. The right music can enhance every aspect of your workout, and it’s a real joy to know that every song on your specially procured playlist is one that you love.

5. Try the “one set and done” workout method. 

If you lift weights, you probably do several sets of each exercise in your program. Maybe you do three sets of ten reps, four sets of eight, or two sets of 20. It all depends on the programs you are following. 

It’s unlikely that anyone will roll up on you and start a conversation while you’re exercising. However, when you stop to rest between sets, your defenses are down, and you are a prime target for some banal conversation. It can be hard to break off these uninvited chats without seeming rude, even though your two minutes of rest are up, and you really want to get back to your workout. 

Avoid this problem by using the “one set and done” workout method. In simple terms, become a workout butterfly and move from one exercise to the next after only doing one set. This makes you a continually moving target — and one that’s hard to ambush with unwanted chitchat.

This method is ideal for beginners and those of us training for weight loss. However, if you are into bodybuilding-type training, this method may not work well for you.

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6. Be an off-peaker if you can. 

Even if you put these tips into action, you may still find yourself in a crowded, noisy gym where everyone except you seems to be super fit and knows exactly what they are doing. This can be intimidating and could even be enough to put you off the gym for good. 

Avoid being made to feel like this by hitting the gym during off-peak hours. Most gyms publish attendance figures so you can see when they are busiest. If you can, go when the gym is quietest. This may mean going at unsociable times, such as very early in the morning or late in the evening, but you’ll be rewarded with a much more relaxed workout atmosphere.

7. Consider alternative introvert-friendly workouts.

While gyms are great places to exercise, as an introvert, you may decide that you feel so uncomfortable that you’d prefer not to put yourself in that position day after day and week after week. I don’t blame you!

The good news is there are lots of ways you can work out, get fit, lose weight, and tone up that are ideally suited to introverts. Good examples include:

  • Walking, jogging, and running
  • Kayaking and paddleboarding
  • Cycling
  • Swimming 
  • Rollerblading

Alternatively, you can set up a home gym relatively cheaply and work out in peace on your own. If you have the space, you should be able to get everything you need for no more than a couple of years’ worth of gym membership. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can have a great at-home workout with nothing more than an exercise mat, a jump rope, and some cheap resistance bands. If you’re new to working out, search for beginner friendly workouts on YouTube and follow along.

If you care about your health, exercise should be part of your lifestyle. However, being an introvert can make some types of exercise uncomfortable. I’ve worked in and around gyms most of my adult life, and I still feel self-conscious and wary when I go to the gym. I have no doubt that a lot of other exercisers feel exactly the same way.

I hope these tips help you make the gym more introvert-friendly. And if it doesn’t work, it’s good to know you can always work out alone at home or go for a walk or jog instead. Introverts, what tips would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments.

You might like:

  • How to Survive a Job Interview When You’re an Introvert
  • The Introvert Hangover Is Awful
  • What Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Personality Type Is Lying About

The Introvert's Guide to Getting in Shape

I am an introvert–and I’m quite content with this fact–but a lot of my introverted comrades aren’t.

Many think something is wrong with them, largely because our culture holds “the extrovert ideal” in high esteem, says Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Extroverts are viewed as healthier, happier, and more successful.

But here’s the thing: both introverts and extroverts have unique skills they can use to maximize their health and happiness.

Several years ago, I discovered how to apply my strengths as an introvert to my health. If you’re an introvert and you’re struggling to get healthy, these are some strategies that will help you.

Eating healthy for introverts.

Research shows that an introvert’s brain is wired differently. We have more gray matter in our prefrontal cortex–the area of the brain that’s associated with abstract thought and decision-making. This helps explain why introverts devote more brain power to analysis, while extroverts tend to live in the moment.

Introverts are masters at processing, digesting, and analyzing data. But many don’t use this skill to their advantage.

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If you’re an introvert and you’re not as healthy as you want to be, start by using your brain.

Read, research, write, explore, listen, reflect, meditate, design, think.

Eating healthy starts with learning how to eat healthy.

Mindful eating is a proven technique you can use to eat healthier, and can be a great place to start.

Step one to eat more mindfully: plan for the worst.

In the world of psychology, this is called an implementation intention. Here’s how it works: if you know a situation is coming up where you might be prone to eat and/or drink too much (a friend’s birthday party, for example), write or state your back-up plan beforehand:

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“When I encounter ______, I will _____.”

Here are some examples:

  • “When I go out to eat tonight, I will order a salad and skip dessert.”
  • “When I go grocery shopping, I won’t buy any soda.”
  • “When someone offers me pizza, I’ll politely decline.”

Implementation intentions are effective for introverts because they give clear instructions on what to do when your willpower muscle goes limp. Research proves they can help you make healthier decisions and stick with your goals.

Spend time thinking through your goals and preparing for challenges, and you’ll give yourself an edge.

One strategy I use and recommend: keep checklists. In the book Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard, Dan and Chip Heath say checklists help you avoid “blind spots in a complex environment,” provide insurance against overconfidence, and make big screw-ups less likely.

In The Checklist Manifesto, surgeon Atul Gawande says:

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“Good checklists…are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss.”

Exercise for introverts.

Several years ago, I stopped going to the gym and started working out at home instead. The environment was too over-stimulating for my introverted brain to handle.

Loud, crappy music. Crowded spaces. Hundreds of people.

No thanks.

I found a way to exercise that worked for my personality. I started lifting weights and boxing at home in my basement. My wife and I go for walks or bike rides on the trails by our house. And now I work out 5-6 days a week and I absolutely love it.

The lesson here is simple: if you’re an introvert and you hate going to the gym or to group classes, stop going. Introverts thrive in quiet, minimally stimulating environments.

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I’m all about challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone, but doing stuff you hate is unsustainable. When it comes to exercise, forming habits is vital. And to form habits, you need to find something you actually enjoy doing.

Exercise in an environment that matches your personality type. Try working out at home, outside, or in smaller groups. You’ll save money on gym fees. You’ll stop dreading going to the gym. And you’ll increase your odds of developing healthy exercise habits.

As an introvert, you have natural talents most extroverts lack.

Don’t waste them.

Use the power of your inquisitive mind to help you form healthy habits that last a lifetime.

Featured photo credit: Abdullah AL-Naser via flickr.com

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12 Introvert Thoughts You Didn't Know About

February 3, 2017Relationships

Do you feel like your friend or acquaintance is constantly avoiding you? Or just don't like it? Do not rush to conclusions. Maybe he's just an introvert.



Introverts are not hermits who hate everyone around them. In fact, they really like to chat with close friends or people who share their interests (but the art of small talk is clearly not for them). Introverts also like to seek adventure on their own head, they just don’t always need company for this. They can be great leaders, good listeners, and devoted friends. After all, introverts are people too. But sometimes they can be very difficult to understand ... and forgive.

If, when interacting with introverts, you are increasingly asking yourself the questions “Why is he acting so strangely?”, “What is wrong with me?”, “Am I a bad conversationalist?”, “Is he bored with me?”, “Am I annoying? ”,“ Hey, where did he run away to? ”, It’s better to immediately discard self-digging and read about what strange thoughts sometimes come to the mind of representatives of this psychotype. And if you are an introvert ... well, you yourself know everything.

1. I hope no one tries to drag me out of the house tonight.

We all need to get under the covers sometimes, turn off the phone and spend the whole day in blissful doing nothing. But for introverts, this desire comes much more often.

Therefore, don't be surprised that sometimes your introverted friend or acquaintance will refuse to go to the movies and fun parties, explaining this by a headache, a bunch of things to do, the need to celebrate the cat's birthday, and so on. Just be prepared to hear "no".

And don't try to surprise an introvert and disturb his self-imposed seclusion. Otherwise, from your own experience, make sure that shyness has nothing to do with introversion.

2. If I quickly run from the bathroom to my room, then maybe my neighbor will not notice me

Sometimes introverts feel the need to hide from their roommates. If you are the neighbor, don't worry. Most likely, it's not about you. It's just that sometimes introverts hide from even the nicest people, just to avoid having to exchange a few words with them. So if you see your neighbor running, be understanding and don't show it.

3. I hope someone here took a pet with them.

Yes, introverts don't hate others (at least not more often than everyone else). But sometimes they feel much more comfortable in the company of our smaller brothers. The dog will not judge you for not going to university, will not force you to talk about the weather and politics or take pictures with her. Sometimes this is exactly what an introvert's ideal companion should be.

4. Who is calling me from this number? Everyone who knows me knows that I hate talking on the phone

Usually introverts don't like talking on the phone, so calls from unknown numbers send them into a panic. If they do not wait for a call from someone specific, then most likely they simply will not answer. And even if you call from your previous number, it is unlikely that they will talk to you for more than five minutes. Unless you are on the other side of the planet.

This item also has a positive side. If your introvert buddy finally decided to call you, you really mean a lot to him. Rejoice: this is indeed an achievement.

5. I need people to be around right now, but I don't want to talk to anyone.

It is because of this thought that introverts are very careful in choosing people to communicate with. Yes, being friends with or dating an introvert can sometimes be difficult, especially if you're an extrovert.

There are days when introverts want to do something alone: ​​read a book or watch TV. But at the same time they want to feel the presence of another person. This is a special type of loneliness that is unlikely to be understood by extroverts.

If you are an introvert, we wish you to always have someone to call to you in such cases.

6. I wish my neighbors were a little less friendly

Naturally, introverts don't dream of rude neighbors. But there are very few things that cause them the same anxiety as neighbors who are overly involved. If they constantly ask how things are, or, worse, strive to visit without an invitation, this is a real disaster for an introvert.

7. I will only go there if I can go home at any time.

Introverts always like to have a plan to escape from a party. Therefore, they often go to a meeting in their car. This is especially true for parties that they do not want to go to in advance.

8. I'd rather stay with my cat

Well, everything is clear here. Catching someone else's pet at a party is a success. But for an introvert, no one can be better than their pet. Even people. Especially people.

Who else will always understand you, never betray you, never disappoint you, and never hurt you (well, except by digging their claws into you)? For an introvert, the answer is more than obvious.

9. It's good that this party is not far from my house. his house is nearby. It’s easier for introverts to get out of their comfort zone if it doesn’t have to move away from the most comfortable place for them.

10. Wouldn't it be better to read a book?

Of course, extroverts love to read too. But perhaps only introverts will understand what it's like: in the midst of a party in a noisy bar or any other place where they would have to party to the fullest, start thinking about the book that they left at home.

11. Please don't start a conversation with me just because we're sitting next to each other.

In cafes, cinemas, on airplanes—literally anywhere people can sit next to each other—introverts repeat this mantra over and over again. It's not that they don't like to talk. In fact, most introverts really like to find out something interesting about people they don't know. What they don't like is having to carry on a conversation with a complete stranger. This causes introverts a terrible discomfort.

12. I could sit in my pajamas now and watch my favorite TV series

Okay, okay. Of course, this thought is not limited to introverts. But introverts are still a little more common.

And finally, one more important thought

Do not confuse introverts with misanthropes. Introverts like to spend time alone with themselves, it charges them with additional energy, and long communication with people, on the contrary, draws strength from them. But they love people, although they do not always express their emotions directly. Therefore, sometimes you can forgive them these cute weaknesses, right?

25 things that only introverts will understand

March 25, 2021Life

To determine your temperament, it is not necessary to pass psychological tests. You are prone to introversion if you notice these oddities in yourself.



1. You don't leave the apartment until the neighbor leaves. In order not to once again intersect with a person, you calm down and wait until he leaves. Yes, it's strange, but sometimes introverts hide from even the nicest people, just to avoid having to exchange a few words with them.

2. You are secretly glad that your friends canceled the meeting

In order not to be considered a hermit, sometimes you have to go out to meet with friends. But when the general plans are canceled, in your soul you rejoice: you can stay at home and not pretend to be a sociable type.

3. You feel uncomfortable at a party

Despite the dislike for noisy companies, there are events that you cannot avoid: a corporate party, a friend's wedding or a New Year's feast with relatives. The first thought that visits you at any meeting is: “What am I doing here ?!”

4. The Internet is not just a hobby for you, but a lifestyle

It is much easier for introverts to formulate thoughts on paper An asymmetrical relationship between verbal and visual thinking: Converging evidence from behavior and fMRI than with a conversation. It is difficult for you to communicate live, but in social networks you feel like a fish in water. In online correspondence, you can joke, and show off your mind, and leave a well-aimed comment.

5. You shy away from sales assistants while shopping

It's understandable: it's easier to find the right model and size yourself than to keep up a conversation with a stranger.

6. You try to be inconspicuous

You are not against communication, you are just not always ready for a conversation: it requires attitude and energy. In order to be less tired, introverts unconsciously limit themselves in communications, and in order to replenish their strength, they spend time alone.

In life, it manifests itself like this: you need to get something out of the refrigerator, and at this time your neighbor with a friend or parents with guests are sitting in the kitchen. The way out is to act like this guy from the gif:

7. Instead of a noisy company, you choose solitude

You are invited to spend the weekend together, and you say that you are very busy. Everyone understands that this is not so: in fact, you will stay at home and enjoy being alone. For introverts, this is the norm Susan Cain: The power of introverts: they are not in a hurry to party and are able to enjoy time spent alone with themselves.

8. You answer questions in monosyllables

What's new? and "How are you?" you try to answer as briefly as possible so that, God forbid, a conversation does not start. Small talk about anything is easy for extroverts, and introverts do not like this format of conversation Eavesdropping on Happiness: Well-Being Is Related to Having Less Small Talk and More Substantive Conversations.

9. You try to sneak out of the party

And try to do it as early as possible. You have an escape plan in reserve, for this you get to a meeting in your car. This is especially true for parties that you don’t want to go to in advance.

10. You rarely answer phone calls

By default, you do not answer calls from numbers you do not know, and prefer texting to a conversation with a friend or colleague.

11. You like to go to the cinema alone

You like to watch a movie alone or with a loved one. Afternoon sessions on weekdays, morning sessions on weekends - you try to choose a time when the hall is almost empty. Together with you, there are 2-3 more people in the hall - the same introverts who avoid large crowds of people.

12. You pretend not to notice someone you know.

Situation: after work you went to the grocery store. Everything is going well until you notice a friend between the rows of buckwheat and pasta. Your standard reaction is to turn away and quickly leave before he sees you.

13. Never open the door if you are not expecting guests

Why? You never know: a too friendly neighbor came for salt and will complain about the management company for 15 minutes, or the manager of an Internet company obsessively asks you to connect their new tariff.

14. Are you afraid to be alone with strangers

Maintain a conversation with a person you see for the first time? Never! This is what you look like when your friends leave you for a few minutes alone with their acquaintances:


Never order over the phone when you can online

Why call when you can write?

16. You don't know how to behave when people sing the song “Happy birthday to you!”

You feel awkward and uncomfortable around people. Birthday becomes a special torture: you are talked to more than usual and paid too much attention. I want to hide under the table or run away!

17. Try to solve work issues through correspondence

While colleagues annoy you with phone calls, you prefer to solve everything by correspondence. Working in open space becomes a real tragedy: the noise and people around paralyze your work. "Please, can we have a quiet place?" - you think in especially difficult days.

18. Don't like to keep up a conversation with a stranger

You wish you could be invisible when someone in a bar or on an airplane starts talking to you. “Don’t start a conversation with me just because we are sitting next to each other,” you mentally tell your interlocutor. It's not that introverts do not like people and live communication. They are simply not ready to carry on a conversation with a stranger: this causes terrible discomfort.

19. An ideal day on the beach for you is a day on a completely empty beach.

Any person has such thoughts from time to time, especially when the beach is crowded, and you can safely swim only 50 meters from the shore. But for introverts, such a desire appears much more often: an empty beach is more comfortable for them by default than a crowded one.

20. You like to train alone

You hate personal trainers, group classes and chatters during sports because training time is your personal time. No joint runs and jokes with a trainer in the gym - why, when you can be alone with your thoughts and listen to your favorite tracks?

21. You don't reply to messages right away

Before you write a reply, you need to think about the content of the letter. Sometimes you completely forget to answer, and then justify yourself, coming up with stupid excuses.

22. You are not happy to meet new people

Even the very thought that you will have to meet new people is terrifying. This does not mean that you do not know how to make friends, it just makes it difficult for you to meet new people.

23. You shy away from too friendly acquaintances

Every time someone violates your personal space, you have an irresistible desire to disappear into thin air, disappear, run away, or give a good blow to the person who came to hug you.

24. You don't like large crowds

Concerts, parties, pub quizzes or work conferences make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. You, of course, do not panic, but subconsciously dream of leaving this place as soon as possible.

25. You are not a misanthrope, you are an introvert

You love people and understand the value of human communication, so you quite consciously go out to parties and social events. But you are more comfortable alone with yourself: you value the time you spend alone or with loved ones.

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