Don’t worry. For a lot of people, the gym can be an intimidating place, filled with seasoned fitness buffs and an array of complex-looking equipment. Whether it’s a fear of judgment or simply not knowing where to start, it’s completely normal to feel a bit shy and uncertain. However, with the right mindset and a few practical tips, you can overcome your gym shyness and become a confident gym-goer. We’ve gathered five tips to help you tackle your gym anxiety head-on.
Gym Goers Usually Look at the Mirror–not You
Although entering the gym for the first time may feel like entering a lion’s den, you won’t actually find experienced gym goers waiting to devour you as you walk through the door. It’s not high school, with mean girls and jocks scanning you up and down, laughing at you as you walk by–it’s a place, full of mirrors, and people trying their best to perfect their physique. Or stare at their phones while waiting for the next set.
You might actually find that the gym is quite opposite of a jungle. It is a community, and seasoned goers will often be more than happy to provide you guidance and support should you ask.
Remember, everyone had their first day. All of us had to go through those doors and figure the machines out. And…we did it. You will too.
Get a PT or a Gym Buddy
One sure way to lower your anxiety is to get a personal trainer or a gym buddy to go with you. Personal trainers and more experienced gym friends can do a lot to help you understand the machines and learn proper techniques.
Of course, we understand that not everyone can afford a personal trainer. However, some gyms offer options of smaller groups of 2 or 3 people who can share the fee and train together. May not be ideal, but it could be a solution.
Start Small and Progress Gradually
Begin with exercises that you're comfortable with and gradually incorporate new ones into your routine as you become more confident. Start with machines that are less complex, such as the treadmill or stationary bike. Do squats, push-ups, crunches. Once you're comfortable, gradually add more challenging exercises to your routine.
If you’re going to lift weights, start with a smaller weight, then add more, as you’re less challenged by the weights you’re using. Add more reps, if you’re feeling like you’re not as fatigued as you were weeks ago.
Remember, it's not about how much you do in one day, it’s about the progress you make over time, and your will to stay consistent.
Plan Your Workout
Walking into the gym without a plan can be overwhelming.
To prevent feeling lost, plan your workout routine before you step into the gym.
Decide what exercises you will do, the order you will do them in, and how many sets and reps you plan to do. This way, when you walk into the gym, you'll have a clear roadmap to follow, which will not only save time but also boost your confidence.
If you’re not sure how to determine this, there are plenty of very good sources on the internet. Look up some beginner-friendly gym plans on YouTube or Google, and try them out. Soon enough you’ll see what works best for you.
We recommend some YouTube channels with good, sciency gym content such as:
Would you like for us to share some of our favorite gym plans? Tell us in the comments!
Attend Group Classes
Group fitness classes are a great way to feel less self-conscious at the gym. Not only are you guided by a professional instructor, but you're also surrounded by people who are learning just like you.
Group classes can range from yoga and pilates to more high-intensity workouts like spin and HIIT. Think about what your goal is, whether it’s to build muscle, improve your overall fitness, lose weight in any way, etc. Based on that, you can pursue different group classes.
These provide a supportive, community-oriented environment that makes the gym experience more enjoyable. And if this is your first time trying to get into the gym, we recommend finding something you really like–because exercise can be hard to love at first. But once you do, you won’t want to stop!
To sum up, overcoming gym shyness is all about patience, understanding, and taking small steps towards a healthier you.
Remember, everyone at the gym is there for the same reason: to better themselves physically and mentally. Oftentimes, seasoned gym goers will look at the newbies with respect–because they know how difficult it can be to get yourself in the gym for the first time.
With these tips, we’re hoping you’ll transform your gym intimidation into gym inspiration. Don't let fear hold you back from achieving your fitness goals.
Start today, start small, and be the experienced gym goer you aspire to be.
Also: Check out our Waist Trimmer Belts for Men & Women as a helpful Gym Accessory.