Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Gyms can be intimidating. Everyone looks super confident and like they know exactly what they’re doing. Plus, it feels like all eyes are on you, ready to notice if you make a mistake.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
A survey carried out by PureGym found that 50% of non-gym goers find the idea of visiting a gym on their own scary. So much so that 25% would rather be in a room with a spider. Even more surprising is that 30% of millennials would rather give up their phone for a day than go to the gym alone.
Whether you’re thinking about joining a gym, you’re a new member or even if you’ve been going for years, gymtimidation is something that most of us have experienced.
Maybe you’re worried about not being able to use the equipment properly or perhaps you’re feeling self-conscious about your looks or fitness ability. Whatever it is, below are some tips which will help you feel confident in the gym.
Don’t go to the gym thinking you’re going to lift like a pro from day one. Starting with a complex programme is going to overwhelm you even more and then you may never work up the courage to head to the gym again.
Even if your first session is just turning up and figuring out where everything is, it means you’ll feel that little bit more confident next time.
Go when it’s quiet
I was a member of my gym for two years before I finally braved the weights section. The only reason I finally did it was because it was completely empty. I saw this as my opportunity to familiarise myself with the area without worrying about anyone seeing me.
If you’re nervous about going to the gym, find out when the quiet times are (usually during work hours). A quiet gym is far less intimidating than a busy one!
Practice at home
If you’re new to exercise, swot up at home before heading to the gym. There are YouTube videos and Instagram pages full of exercise tutorials which will allow you to master your form.
Even if you don’t have the equipment at home, you can go through the basic motions. Looking in a mirror or recording yourself (as horrible as that can be!) is a great way to ensure you’re performing the movements correctly.
Go with a friend
If you’re nervous about going to the gym alone, ask a friend to go with you. A workout buddy will give you a bit more confidence and you can spur each other on to stay motivated.
Plan your workout beforehand
Knowing exactly what you’re going to do before you head to the gym can really help with nerves. If you walk in blindly, you’re bound to feel intimidated by the range of equipment.
Start with a 5-10 minute warm-up on some cardio equipment. If possible, choose a bike, treadmill or cross trainer that looks out onto the gym – this will give you an opportunity to look around and figure out where everything is.
If you have your headphones with you, play a song that really uplifts and motivates you. This will put you in a great mood and leave you feeling like you’re ready to brave anything.
Ensure you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing
If you’re comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, you’re more likely to feel relaxed. If you’re constantly worrying whether or not your leggings are squat proof or if the bright pink jumpsuit was a bit too much, all you’re going to want to do is turn around and go home.
Ask someone for help
Most people in the gym are super friendly and are only too happy to help. If you’re not sure how to use something, just ask one of your fellow gymgoers. Try not to interrupt someone mid-set however!
Put your headphones on
Put your headphones on and have your favourite tunes playing. As well as helping you feel uplifted and motivated, you can block out everything going on around you so you’re less likely to feel intimidated.
Remember, people are only worried about themselves
It’s easy to think everyone’s looking at you and judging but they’re really not. Most people have their headphones on and are too focused on their own workout to pay attention to what anyone else is doing.
Hire a personal trainer
Even if it’s just for a few sessions, a personal trainer can help get your confidence up. They’ll show you where all the equipment is, how to set it up and how to use it properly. It will also be a friendly face to say hi to whenever you go to the gym.
Be proud of yourself
If you made it to the gym, well done! Every step, even the smallest ones get you closer to where you want to be.