Maybe you were a competitive athlete in high school, but haven't trained in a few years. Maybe you have been doing home exercise programs for a while and need to switch up your routine.
Regardless, hitting the gym can be intimidating to say the least.
I didn't see the inside of a gym until my freshman year of college, and even still I stuck to the group fitness room and the back row of treadmills. The goal was to just get in and out and avoid public humiliation. If someone asked me, “Would you ever be a personal trainer, fitness instructor, or have no problem walking into the gym and making a fool of yourself.” I would have said, “NO WAY!”
Over the years, though, I have picked up a trick or two when maneuver the gym scene and have built up the confidence to go alone. Today, I want to share FOUR of the biggest strategies that helped me overcome the intimidation factor and get comfortable in the weight room.
If you have never been to the gym before or aren't entirely sure what to do once you get there, hitting the gym at PEAK times is not the way to go. The regulars are likely using this as social hour, taking up tons of space, and not really paying attention to see if someone wants to "Work in," during a set. You are only going to get comfortable in the gym by being there and playing around with the equipment. I'll be completely transparent and saying one of the things that embarrassed me the most was not knowing how to switch positions on machines. Talk about looking like a fool pushing this metal seat around to get it to adjust how I needed it. Yes, that will likely happen, but here's a tip, They usually have diagrams on the sides to help. Hitting the gym at an OFF hour is a great way to ensure there won't be a ton of people there, and the staff is likely available to help you out if you need assistance. You can roam around and try new things without fear of judgment or humiliation.
The first few times I actually lifted weights I roped in a classmate to help me. He put me through 1 workout, which I took the time to write down, and then went on to repeat that single workout for 2 straight months by myself. I learned a few things from this process, though. First, that having someone there with me who knew their way around the gym floor helped take the edge off walking into uncharted territory. It also provided me a game plan, so when I did have my hour to workout, I wasn't wasting time. In, out, and on with the day! Many gyms offer a complimentary personal training session with the purchase of a membership, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! Not only will you get a great workout tailored specifically for you, but you can ask all the questions you need and gain a tour of the area.
The gym is a fast paced environment. Often other individuals are running from one machine to next and then back again. One tip that I still use today is setting up my personal area. This typically is a mat in a corner, with some weights and bands, or whatever else I may need for that workout. This way, even if the gym gets crazy I still have my little corner. You can throw your headphones on and just do your thing.
We all know certain outfits just make us feel unstoppable, right? Athletic wear is no different! Looking the part is half the battle to feeling the part. Take a few minutes to put together an outfit that you feel confident in, maybe this means investing in some new workout clothes to bump up the motivation factor. Will you have a better workout wearing a new pair of leggings, no guarantee, but will you look and feel good while doing it, absolutely!
Have you ever felt intimidated by going to the gym? Do you have tips which helped you to overcome that fear?