It appears that many people fear the gym. It does have a stigma attached to it, and I completely understand why. If you don’t feel confident or fit, you think you will not fit in. However, this couldn’t be far from the truth. The gym is the best place for you to work on getting fitter and building that confidence! It is like anything in life; the more you do it the more comfortable and confident you will feel.
I remember when I first went into a gym, I felt so self conscious, and I thought EVERYONE was staring at me. I felt like people were thinking ‘she has no clue what she is doing!’ and this was particularly challenging when I wanted to get into weight training, being the only girl in the weight room. However, something about going anyway and getting through a workout helped build my confidence. There was something satisfying to overcome a fear. It’s also worth thinking that people may be looking at something and liking it, it doesn’t all have to be negative! So if I thought someone was staring, I would try and think ‘maybe she/he likes my top’ or ‘maybe this exercise is something they want to try’. This completely changes your mindset. I also had to put my ego aside and ask for help. I asked gym instructors who are paid to help, well… help me! I asked for help with everything, from equipment I didn’t know how to use, to the correct form during compound exercises such as squatting and deadlifting. I became more and more confident the more I went.
A couple of other things which may help is to go with a friend the first couple of times, however, I advise to not depend on each other. In order to stay on track and be in control of your own life you cannot rely on others. Finding a workout friend is great, however they can also be the reason you don’t go as often, maybe your schedules clash or one of you are ill then there’s excuses waiting to happen and workouts getting put on the back burner. You get me?
I also think it is important to shop around, some gyms are designed specifically for strength, some more class based and some more commercial (with a pool and sauna facilities). I would get a list of local gyms and book an appointment to look around to get a feel for what you would like that match your goals. The gym I Personal Train in is a movement/ class based gym, with no cardio equipment. We focus on mobility, strengthening, body weight training and gymnastics. It probably would not be suitable for someone who wanted to train for strong man for example.
You could also try out the classes so you can be in a group environment which can feel more comforting that being alone on the gym floor, or hire a Personal Trainer. Personally, I wish I hired a Personal Trainer before I spent years just doing cardio, classes and eating little and getting nowhere fast. I dreamed of curves (muscles) and all I was doing was staring myself and over training. It’s good to get a Personal Trainer who understands your goals, who is realistic about timescales and is willing to share every bit of knowledge with you. This is what I try and do with my clients, in order for them to see the fitness side to life as a long term thing, rather than short quick fixes and diet fads which we all know do not work.
So finally, what becomes familiar will feel more comfortable, maybe a take a friend for the first few times, enquire about the variety of gyms out there, ask gym instructors if you’re unsure and maybe a hire a PT to get you on the right foot. You will soon realise that the gym is not a scary place, but a motivating inspiring and uplifting place to be!