January is high time for people to introduce themselves to the gym. Some have taken a long hiatus from the weight room and others have never set foot in one, but either way it’s not as simple as it seems. Gymtimidation – intimidation of participating in the gym setting – is a common feeling among many of my clients. If you identify with feelings of stress and embarrassment at the mere thought of working out in front of other people, you’re not alone and – better yet – there’s hope! Here are 5 ways to get over your trepidation and feel confident in the gym!
Ease Into It
For your first few sessions, stick with the basics and do what you know. If that means doing all bodyweight exercises and not touching a single machine or dumbbell, that’s OK! Simply get comfortable being IN the gym, get a feel for the flow of the space and notice the equipment available. As you’re ready, go slightly out of your comfort zone and try a different machine or dumbbell exercise and continue trying new things to increase your confidence.
Try this Full Body Express Circuit for a quick and equipment-free workout!
Wear headphones and listen to something that makes you happy. Spotify and Pandora are great for streaming music and have hundreds of workout specific stations if you don’t have music on your device. Podcasts – as I’ve mentioned many times before! – are also a wonderful distracter, and there are many in the health genre that help motivate you. The purpose is to get into your own world. Empowering yourself with your favorite song will instantly build confidence, and not being able to hear conversations and noise around you, create the feeling of your own little bubble.
Gyms are typically a zoo from 5-7PM. The morning rush of 6-8 is busier but not as bad. Getting your workout in at lunch (not always feasible, I know, but take advantage if you are able to), before work or after the post-work rush will mean more room to move and less eyes on you.
Head of the Class
Not only do you have a pro telling you what to do, by participating in a class you’re also learning new exercises! Again, morning classes aren’t typically as slammed so you can get a more personalized approach. If you go regularly you’ll start to see familiar faces and begin to feel part of the gym community.
Do Your Research
Observing what others are doing is a great way to learn and if you have questions, ask! The front desk is there to help, but if you don’t want to ask in person, look up what you see, online. Youtube is saturated with how-to workout videos. Simply look up what you want to do and watch over and over again until you feel game to try it yourself
The more you go, the more comfortable you’ll feel and confidence will follow. Clients often tell me they’re afraid people will stare at them or laugh; not true! If you really watch people in the gym, they are completely absorbed in their own workout. If you take a class, do you watch everyone else? No, you’re totally focused on the instructor to see what to do, or watching yourself to ensure your form is correct. Basically, no one cares about you…in a good way!
Ask yourself, honestly, what’s the worst thing that will happen? Maybe you use a piece of equipment wrong and someone says, “that’s not how you do that”. Would that really be the end of the world? Yeah, you may be a little embarrassed, but that’s it! Hey, now you know how that machine works 😉
To sum up, here is how to get over gymtimidation:
Make a simple plan, put your big-girl pants on, take a deep breath, and get in there!
You’ll go from this: