Working out is hard enough, even when you don’t have anxiety surrounding the experience. If gym intimidation has you feeling down, the good news is that there are ways to combat it until you find your groove. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone, and to keep your goals in focus while you get used to the experience. So, while you bravely enter the gym, here are some things to keep in mind:
Go with a friend
If you know someone who has been going to the gym for a while and seems to enjoy the experience, ask them if you can tag along. It doesn’t have to be forever, just until you learn the ropes and are comfortable going on your own. Opening up the conversation will also allow them to share their initial gym experiences with you, and you’ll likely find that they had the same worries that you have now. We’ve all been there so don’t be ashamed!
Remember: everyone is focused on themselves, not you
While you’re probably very interesting, people go to the gym to improve themselves– yourself included. If someone glances in your direction, they may be interested in the machine you’re on, you may just be in their line of sight, or they may even be admiring your technique. Whatever the reason is, it’s none of your business and shouldn’t distract you. The chance that they’re judging you is very slim, and if they are, that’s their problem.
Set yourself up for success
Invest in some gym clothes that make you feel confident. Throwing on that old t-shirt isn’t very exciting and won’t get you pumped for your workout. Instead, buy a few items that you love and look forward to wearing. In addition, make a gym playlist that gets your blood pumping and makes you excited to move. Do everything you can to make the experience more about you and less about the gym.
Find your time
Some people like to go in the mornings, some at night. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, find your gym’s off time and take advantage of not having to race towards an open machine. You’ll find that you see some of the same people the more you go, and you may build up the confidence to talk to some of them and even get a few tips on targeting certain muscle groups. Just remember to wait until they are in between sets to ask your question. If they keep their answer short, don’t fret- they just want to resume their workout. People are more open to making new friends at the gym than you may think.
There are now numerous videos online that explain the proper ways to use gym equipment. It’s a good idea to get familiar with these techniques so that you not only feel more comfortable, but also avoid injury. If you feel a bit lost, don’t be scared to ask a trainer or someone who looks like they know what they’re doing for help. They weren’t born knowing how to navigate a gym, so remember that they were once in your shoes, too.
Ease into it
Start with what you feel comfortable doing, and then gradually work into harder routines. If one class didn’t spark your interest, keep trying everything you can until something speaks to you. Finding a gym routine is kind of like dating- it can take a few bad experiences to find your perfect match. You may feel a bit silly at first, but you’ll soon realize that you aren’t the only one and it doesn’t last forever. It’s okay to have different workout styles than someone else, different goals, and different experiences. Focus on yourself and tune out everything that doesn’t serve you. You got this!
Raquel is a creative writer for Lipozene.com. When she’s not helping people achieve weight loss success you can find her binging crime podcasts, traveling the globe, and exploring her native sunny San Diego.