If going to the gym hasn’t been part of your regular routine for a while, you might feel intimidated about exercising in front of other people in a public place. What do all of those machines do? What if I trip, fall, and embarrass myself? Will other people judge or laugh at me when I’m trying my best?
These are common questions that plague the minds of well-intentioned people who want to work out but have some hesitations when it comes to the gym. To help you overcome fear and anxiety while taking care of your body, here are some tips for overcoming gym intimidation.
Shop Around for the Right Gym
All gyms are a bit different, so don’t assume that if you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all. If you struggle with gym intimidation, choose a gym that is focused on a particular activity you want to learn, such as Pilates or rock climbing. Community center gyms may be less intimidating than private gyms, and general purpose gyms may be less overwhelming than hardcore establishments that offer CrossFit and boxing.
Take a Tour of the Gym
Familiarize yourself with the different types of equipment at your gym by taking a tour or orientation class. Not only will you feel more comfortable with the machines available there, but you’ll also be able to use them safely and effectively.
Go During Less Busy Times
Peak times for gyms are often right before and right after the standard 9-5 workday. If you want to avoid crowds during your workout, try scheduling your workouts for the afternoon hours or just before bedtime.
Buy Some New Workout Clothes
Sometimes you have to “fake it ‘til you make it” to feel comfortable at the gym. Simply buying a few new pieces of stylish and flattering workout clothes can give you the confidence you need to keep showing up for yourself and get more exercise.
Find a Workout Buddy
There is strength in numbers for gym training too. Find a trusted friend or colleague to work out with and you’ll be more focused on each other than what everyone else in the gym is doing.
Hire a Personal Trainer
To boost your confidence and jumpstart your workout routine, it may also help to hire a personal trainer at your gym. Personal trainers are fitness professionals that are used to working with people of all skill levels, and they are paid to help you reach your personal goals – not to judge.
Focus on Your Goals
Chances are that people at your gym are not even paying attention to what you are doing because they are working on their own health and wellness. Gym intimidation is definitely a real problem for many people, but it can be overcome with regular visits and staying focused on what is important to you. Just showing up at the gym is a huge achievement, so if you have committed to going to the gym, you’ve already taken the first significant step in improving your life for the long-term.
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