Gymtimidation is real, and more common than you may think. You know the feeling, you walk into a gym and there is the muscle-man grunting in the weights area, the really fit looking woman running on the treadmill like it is no effort at all. Seeing this may make you want to turn around and run out of the gym.
For many people joining a gym can be a real daunting experience and their fear of it can stop them from doing anything at all. I understand this feeling because it is exactly how I felt before I started my own fitness journey, and I ended up loving it so much I turned it into a career to help other people start their own journeys.
It can feel a little overwhelming to walk into a new place where everybody else seems to know what they are doing. It can be intimidating, and you feel like you have no idea what you should be doing or how to use all the different equipment. These things can make you feel out of place just being there.
Here are a few easy ways to hopefully help you overcome your fear of the gym and start to enjoy working out.
Find your workout style
You may need to try a few different things before you find what works for you. If you feel a little intimidated by the weights room and are sick of running on a treadmill, joining a class could be a good option. It is a good way to learn new exercises and make new friends. Pick a style and give it a go. If you don’t enjoy it, try something else. There is a style for everyone, but just remember, it is not meant to be easy, workouts are meant to push you.
Go in with a plan
Once you know your workout style you can plan your week. Having a plan can also be a life saver, you will feel like you have a purpose and prevent time wasting. Having a workout plan to follow will help you know where to start. Check out our store for plans you can do at home or the gym.
Clothes you are comfortable in
When working out you should feel 100% comfortable in your clothing so that you can focus all your attention on getting the best out of your workout. If you don’t feel comfortable in short shorts, or crop tops or super tight clothing, then don’t wear it. Find clothing and shoes that you can move freely in.
Put on some headphones and block out everyone around you. Create your own workout bubble. Create a playlist of your favourite songs, you can even make different playlists for your different workout styles. Music can help pass the time faster and make your workout more enjoyable.
Another bonus is if you do feel intimidated or scared people will talk to you while you are at the gym, having on some headphones pretty much guarantees you privacy. In saying this though, don’t be afraid to talk to people at the gym. Most of the time people are very friendly and it can help put you at ease to make a gym friend too.
Don’t be afraid to fail
This is probably one of the most important things to know from this whole blog. People automatically think everyone knows what they are doing in the gym and this makes them embarrassed to try new things for fear that they will do it ‘wrong’. But guess what? Everyone started somewhere! Even the most advanced person in the gym, at some point wouldn’t have known what a lunge was.
So, don’t be afraid, we learn from making mistakes and especially do not be afraid to ask for help. If you do make a mistake, learn from it and continue. If someone sees you make a mistake they won’t laugh at you, there is a good chance they will offer you help because they have been in the same position themselves. You can also ask a trainer for some guidance, that is what they are there for.
Join with a friend
If you feel intimidated of going to the gm alone, take a friend. Either a friend who knows what they are doing and can help teach you the ropes. Or take a friend who is also new and you can learn together. Having a friend can make you feel more comfortable but can also help keep you accountable in keeping on track with your goals.
Don’t compare yourself to others
This is a big reason many feel intimidated by the gym. Comparing yourself to others can make you feel like you aren’t good enough, which is NOT TRUE!
You need to remember that the lady who dead-lifted her body weight or the guy who has been running non-stop on the treadmill, probably weren’t doing that in their very first session.
Progress takes time and commitment. If you stick to your goals you will also be able to achieve great things, just give yourself a chance. Nobody gets fit without putting in the effort and starting somewhere, just focus on getting to the gym and results will come.
I hope these tips help. Just remember we have all been there before. Think of the gym as a positive place and you will be feeling better about it in no time.
Daina Hutchins, Qualified Personal Trainer
Daina has been in the fitness industry since 2016 and is the co-owner of Down Under Barbell (www.downunderbarbell.com). A weight trainer herself, she enjoys training others in high-intensity groups. Currently pursuing diploma in weight management, she is a qualified strength coach, boxing (for fitness) coach and pre- and post-natal fitness.
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