Gym-timidation is a real thing and it stops us from stepping through the doors of the gym. I suffered from a lot of anxiety which stopped me from joining the gym for a good few years, even now I struggle to step through the gym doors if I haven’t been for a while. It’s something I have to work myself up to. But I have found steps that made it easier to do.
The gym isn’t scary once you consider yourself a regular, you feel more confident knowing you’re one of the gym junkies. But to get to that point, it takes time and a lot of gym visits. So we need to start with the first visit. How to get you to walk through the gym doors that first time to start the journey to a fitter, healthier body.
1. Wear The Right Clothes
When you look the part, you feel the part. If you wear baggy, frumpy clothes to hide yourself away in you’re bowing down to your insecurity. But if you put yourself in gym leggings, and a good quality sports bra, you are not only more prepared for doing exercise, but you trick yourself into thinking you are already that gym junkie.
It doesn’t have to be high end sports gear, just wear what you feel confident in to give that extra boost in your step as you walk through the gym doors. But I do strongly suggest investing in a good sports bra, they are sorely needed when you are doing any kind of cardio fitness. Especially burpees. For the love of god make sure those puppies are tied down!
2. Don’t Go Alone
There is strength in numbers, not just on the battlefield.
The problem with going to the gym is that you think everyone is staring, looking at you thinking you don’t belong here, or wow she really does need to be here. A friend shares the spotlight, draws the attention away from you so that you can relax a little more.
Of course, this idea that everyone is staring and judging is not true. Everyone is so focused on their own workout that they don’t notice those walking through the door, whether they are a newbie or a regular. Bringing a friend will share the spotlight in your own head.
Your friend also gives you support. You will have someone of a similar level of fitness or a similar shape to you so that you no longer feel out of place. You have someone that will complain about the stitch with you, not tell you breathe through the pain.
A friend is great at boosting moral, just make sure you still get exercise done and don’t just have a giggle on the mats with them. Although fun, you leave the gym having achieved nothing.
3. Choose The Right Gym And The Right Time
Choose your gym wisely, you need to find one that you actually want to step through the doors and workout in. Not all give this vibe. If you are anxious about going to a gym, a big body builder gym may not be the one you’re after. A quiet local gym perhaps may be more up your street.
So research which gym is right for you to begin with. Find one that you actually want to be in.
Then you need to find a time suitable for you. Going in a gym’s peak hours isn’t going to help you over your gym-timidation because you’ll be waiting around for machines and equipment wondering what am I doing here?
So pick a time where you know the gym will be quite quiet, normally 1-2 is a good time because people are at work or university/school. Now you have more freedom to stroll around the gym familiarising yourself with the equipment in front of yourself. Finding the exercises that work for you.
No rush, just you going at your pace. An easy workout to boost your confidence, once you know the gym layout and what machines you like doing the confidence will rise and you’ll be happy to walk through the gym doors to carry on your workout another day.
It’s all about familiarisation, once you’ve done it once, you can do it again.
4. Sign Up For An Easy Fitness Class
I found this really helpful in getting me through those gym doors, when you have something booked at a specific time you are forced to go through the doors. And you have someone telling you what is you need to do, surrounded by other women who normally have no idea what they’re doing either.
Make sure to inform the instructor that this is your first time, they’ll be sure to make you feel more comfortable and welcome throughout the class. Even simplifying some of the moves if you are struggling.
Plus it is also helpful knowing there is a specific time you get to leave the gym, a class only goes on for around 30 minutes normally, and in that the instructor takes you through a warm up and a cool down. A whole exercise programme in half an hour. For a beginner doing a quick and simple session like this does wonders in building your fitness and you confidence.
Through the class you gain experience in movements, and you gain confidence as you see that you are no different to those around you. You are all here to workout and improve your fitness levels, nothing more, nothing less.
So use a gym class as a way to have fun and ease yourself in.
5. Plan And Prepare
Finally, plan for what to expect. A lot of the anxiety comes from not knowing. So plan and prepare what you are going to do in the next hour or so at the gym.
Have a gym induction so that you can shown where all the equipment is, and the general layout of the place. This way when you enter the gym you can know exactly the areas you want to go to, rather than aimlessly walking around checking every machine for what it does. I always hate that part of a new gym, having to check everywhere and walk away in shame as you decide it isn’t for you.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of asking for help from anyone at the gym, or employing a personal trainer to set you straight, research how to use each of the equipments before hand. There are plenty of Youtube videos on how to deadlift or use the Smith machine. Spend some time watching a few videos so you know the correct form you need, this way you won’t hurt yourself.
Finally plan an exercise programme for yourself. Put together a list of exercises you want to have done through your time at the gym and stick to it. When you know your aims of a workout it is easier to walk in to the gym and then walk out because you’ll be done so much quicker.