I remember how I felt when I first started going to the gym. I felt like everyone was watching and judging me, and I was a little nervous that I was doing something wrong. Luckily, I had my Dad right by my side to teach me everything I needed to know. I know that not everyone has someone to head over to the gym with and I can imagine that going by yourself would be a little nerve wracking at first, so I am here to give you some tips to get over that fear today!
- Go with a friend
As I just mentioned, going to the gym alone can be a little scary at first, so if you can, grab a friend, parent, sibling, or whoever you feel comfortable with and work out together! This way, you will be more focused on you and your friend and not on everyone that is “watching you”. Most of the time people are at the gym to better themselves, not to watch others and laugh at them. I have to say, I have met many more kind and supportive people at my gym than judgmental and rude people.
- Plan your workouts ahead of time
YouTube has so many helpful videos that demonstrate the proper way to perform any exercise. (I would try to find videos of someone reputable and trustworthy. You don’t want to hurt yourself or perform any of the exercises incorrectly.) Watching videos and practicing the exercises at home will help you feel more confident when you’re in the gym!
- Find the form of exercise that you love the most (or one that you can at least somewhat deal with)
There are so many different forms of exercise, and just because weight lifting is my favorite way, it does not mean that it will be yours too. You do not have to have a gym membership to get a good workout in, or to be healthy. Running, lifting, hiking, dancing, yoga, and participating in sports are all great ways to work out! Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to try new things!
- Create a playlist
Another way to combat nerves is to have a fun workout playlist! Pick your favorite upbeat songs to play while you kill it! Not only will hearing your favorite songs make you less nervous, it can also help you focus and get you through difficult exercises!
This one may seem obvious, but I cannot tell you how many times I will forget to breathe properly during my workouts. As you exert energy, exhale. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
- Start slow and start light
There is absolutely NO reason to lift 50 pounds on your first day at the gym unless you want to injure yourself. There is nothing wrong with taking the 5 pound dumbbells and using them for your entire upper body day. If you feel like 5’s are way too easy, try the next number up. Don’t forget to go slow and control your movements. (Remember that although the 5’s may seem easy on your first set, as you get to your second or third, it may get more difficult. Don’t get ahead of yourself.)
- It’s not a competition or a race (unless it actually is)
If you are heading to the gym with a partner, whether they are more experienced in the gym or not, you do NOT have to use the same weights they are using, or go as fast as they are on the treadmill. Unless it is actually a competition that you are participating in, there’s no need to focus so much on the other person. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. Although healthy competition is good for us at times, in many cases it is better to simply focus on yourself and do what is best for you. (Use these people as motivation; you will get to where they are one day!)
- Designate a small corner of the gym for your workout
I have been going to the gym for almost 4 years now and this is something I still do to this day. If you are uncomfortable working out in front of a bunch of people or you just like a more private workout, try to find a corner of your gym where no one really goes too often and do your exercises over there (preferably near a mirror so you can see what you are doing).
- Wear what makes you comfortable (but follow your gym’s dress code)
If you are most comfortable in leggings and a tank top, wear it! If you are more comfortable in an oversized t-shirt and shorts, wear it! If you are constantly tugging at your clothes and walking around uncomfortably, you are not going to get a good workout in.
I hope that you found some of these tips helpful and before you know it you’ll be walking around the gym like you own it! I am planning on posting a fitness update sometime in the near future so be on the lookout for that! Thank you for reading! Now go kill it!