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Britain at its most self-conscious

Britain at its most self-conscious

A recent survey shows that Britain’s most feared public place in terms of feeling self-conscious is the gym, a place where you’d think we might not be bothered about the way we look.

Thanks to the overwhelming iconography and unmatchable role models, it’s safe to say there has never been more pressure on us to consider our appearance. And it seems the impact of this is being felt in some less obvious places.


Whilst wanting to look good for a party, dinner date or social occasion is a timeless trait of us vain humans, you might think that when we hit the weights or running machine for a workout we’d be less bothered about how we look. Well, according to a new survey, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as the UK population appears even more concerned about their projected image when building up a sweat.


The research, by Bodybuilding Warehouse, shows that Britain’s most feared public place in terms of feeling self-conscious is the gym, with a staggering 58% of all respondents cited claiming they felt more self-conscious here than anywhere else, even beating sunbathing in skimpy swimwear by almost double the number of votes. Apparently, for every 30 minutes we spend on the treadmill the majority of us will experience some form of social anxiety based on appearance at least once before we leave to get changed.


A key reason for this is what has been dubbed ‘body conspiring against person’. In short then, next time you start becoming acutely aware of that guy grunting every time he bench presses, perhaps consider how he feels about the noises he’s making. The same goes for people with a tendency to accidentally break wind during a workout, or walk away with unsightly sweat patches in areas society has now deemed unacceptable (irrespective of how natural it is). In short, it’s down to embarrassment.


Obviously there’s very little that can be done about such issues, if anything at all. In contrast, though, another major cause of people feeling self-conscious in the gym can be stopped. The clothes we wear, how our hair is tied and whether we have enough make up on are all genuine worries for many gym users, which seems more than unfair when you consider the reason we’re there in the first place (i.e. to get ourselves in shape through often-brutal exercise regimes).


Of course there are some unpleasant elements that make this crazy scenario understandable, if not acceptable. From leering blokes who only seem to turn up when you’re in a particularly provocative stance, to the girls who look like they’re lined up for a glamour shoot rather than a sweat session, it’s no wonder average Joes and Josephines are feeling increasingly aware of how they look when dressed for a workout. Consider this a call to arms for a redress of the situation, then, in the hope of making everything from the spinning class to dumbbell rack a beauty- (or at least pressure-) free zone.

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