Whether you’ve just joined a gym or you’re a major athlete, at some point, it is very daunting. Most of the equipment looks completely foreign, you don’t know how to use it, and when you decide to give it a try, you’re afraid of being judged by everyone else who seems to know what they’re doing. Or maybe you’re running on a treadmill next to that super muscular person when all of a sudden, you become self-conscious about how much you’re sweating, panting and how your body is bouncing around. Sometimes this fear even prevents you from stepping foot in your gym. If this sounds familiar to you, then here are some ways to help you conquer your gym fright.
1. STUDY THE GYM FIRST
People tour their gyms so they can familiarize themselves with a new environment to prevent being clueless come time for their first workout. During your tour, grab your mental pen and paper and scope out the facility. Study where certain machines are, where the locker rooms are, and any other areas that spark your interest. Ask about classes, personal training, how to use certain equipment, or simply take mental notes of how people are using complex machines. The more informed you are prior to your first workout in the facility, the less intimidating the experience will be.
2. REALIZE THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE
You are not the only person in the facility who feels self-conscious or has felt this way. No one likes not knowing what to do, but chances are, a lot of other people feel the same way you do. Once you realize that, you’ll be more comfortable, and lifting your 10-pound weights compared to the person lifting 50 pounds won’t be a big deal anymore.
3. WORK OUT WITH A BUDDY
Working out with someone is already motivating, but it’s even more effective for people who have gym fright. If you continuously feel discouraged, exercise with a buddy for a better support system. Not only will you feel more at ease being there with someone you know who has similar fitness goals, but you will be more willing to try new machines that you probably wouldn’t have tried if you went alone. To top it off, having someone by your side at first is excellent leeway into eventually being comfortable going to the gym on your own. This will ultimately lead to more confidence, better workouts and quality usage of your membership. If your workout buddy doesn’t have the same membership as you, ask your club about guest passes.
4. HAVE A WORKOUT PLAN
On top of initial intimidation, there is nothing worse than walking into a gym with no agenda, especially on a busy day when you have to wait for your turn to use a machine and other people have to wait on you. Before stepping foot in your gym, write out a workout plan on your phone so that you have it with you in case you forget. Decide what days of the week you are going to hit the gym and organize your routine based on whatever you want to work on each day. On Monday, you might choose to do a spin class while Tuesday you choose to do arms and core strengthening. Have other machine-less activities in mind like push-ups and planks that you can do in case you have to wait for a machine to open up, that way you don’t feel awkward standing around wasting your time. The more efficient you are, the faster you will acclimate to the gym and the other members in it.
5. FORGET ABOUT YOUR SURROUNDINGS
At first this is easier said than done, especially because you feel like everyone is staring at you, but in reality, everyone is so focused on themselves to even care about how much weight you’re lifting or what you look like while doing a squat. It doesn’t matter if you can barely do a push-up while the person next to you is lifting 100 pounds because you’re both at the gym to better yourselves. By keeping that in mind, you’ll naturally find yourself drifting away from what other people are doing and be more in tune with your own to-do list, which is where your focus should be.