Dealing with gym intimidation

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Intimidation and lack of experience:

Two of the top reasons rookie gym-goers don’t want to be a part of a gym. Whenever I speak to someone about working out and the gym I constantly hear this:

“I want to work out but, I am really nervous about working out by myself because I don’t know what I’m doing and the people who are at the gym are really intimidating.”

Point blank, it’s all in your head.

I will agree that the “swole meat-heads” who are getting their “pump” in the weight section can be quite intimidating. I mean c’mon, they look like they could curl a train! But honestly they don’t care about what you’re doing. They don’t know that you have no idea how to work out. They don’t know your workout routine or that you are a newbie. All they care about is what they’re doing to get their own results.

So, how do you deal with this intimidation?

This is what I recommend:

1. Start with a workout partner

Workout partners are amazing. They help you feel comfortable in a new environment and if they have experience, they will be able to help and guide you through the basics of working out. If they don’t have experience, you both will be able to help each other through the process.

2.Listen to Music

If you don’t have a workout partner I always recommend listening to music. When you have those headphones in your ear it is like you’re in your own little world. No one will bother you when you have your head phones in (unless you have that one overly talkative person who goes to the gym to socialize instead of work out). Listening to your favorite kind of music also helps you to feel comfortable. You know your favorite music and it helps to relax or pump you up for your workout.

3. Do your research

YouTube is a blessing for anyone trying to learn something new especially exercises for working out. Practically every exercise you can think of can be found on YouTube. Utilize YouTube and watch the videos to learn the proper form and technique. Once you have done this research, write down the exercises you think you will be comfortable performing and take this list with you to the gym. When I first started going to the gym, I found it so much easier to stay on track when I had a list of exercises to complete.

4. Meet People

I know this is a tricky one especially for you introverts out there like me. I have always been shy but working in the service industry for so many years and interacting with customers has made it slightly easier for me to socialize with random people. I have found that a smile and a “hello” make a world of difference when you see people at the gym. I mean you are all there for the same common goal and therefore all have one thing in common: exercise. The personal goals are all different but the common goal is exercise. If you look at it from this point of view it should relax you enough to allow yourself to be friendly with others in the gym and should help lessen the overwhelming intimidation.

These are only a few ideas that have helped me from personal experience. Even though I am no longer a “rookie” in the gym, I am constantly learning. I don’t know every exercise and I don’t know the ins and outs of how your diet affects your progress. Health and nutrition is a continuous cycle of starting as a beginner, educating yourself and learning, applying that information, and then gaining the experience. This cycle repeats each and every time you find yourself learning something new. I can’t explain enough how many times I have felt like I started back at square one, like my first blog post. It is a part of learning. Don’t give up. Reach out for help if you need it. The fitness community, as superficial as it may seem, consists of many selfless people who are willing to help.

You have to step out of your comfort zone, throw away those negative comments and excuses you make to yourself each and every day.

You are the only one holding yourself back from reaching your goals.

M.

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