A lot of people really don’t like the gym, but I’m sure you already knew that. I totally get it. A lot of gyms can be intimidating, especially if they are large, or full of super star looking athletes throwing weights around and grunting loudly (not knocking superstar weightlifters, but you have to see how it can be intimidating to some folks), or are filled with perfect looking young women who don’t look like they have an ounce of fat on them, and are always in the most perfect gym outfits.
My parents are some of those folks. They are 60, and want to stay fit but don’t fit in with heavy lifters, or young moms in spandex shorts taking classes or playing tennis (again, nothing wrong with those things, but it intimidates a lot of people!) They used to go to a very large, fancy country club type health club simply for convenience (it’s right across the street from their house), but they slowly started going less and less because they just didn’t feel comfortable working out there. This made me really sad, and I am really glad my parents did some research and found the type of gym that works for them.
That’s the great thing about the gym industry and it’s growth right now, there are so many options! Something for everyone! There are 24 hour gyms, country club type gyms, crossfit boxes, Koko fit club (where my parents go) among other things. So what if you don’t have a lot of options? What if you have one gym to go to, and you just have to make the best of the situation, then what? Below are some of my best tips for getting over any fear or anxiety you may have about going to your gym.
1.) Schedule some time with a trainer: One of the biggest reasons people don’t use machines at the gym is because they don’t know how to use them and don’t want to look stupid if they can’t figure something out, or are using a machine wrong (this used to be me before I started strength training!) A lot of gyms will give you a free hour with a trainer or employee to get you familiar with all the different machines, and help you to know how much weight you should use, and how many reps you should do. This is a great resource!
2.) Go with a friend: When I first started lifting, I would go with my husband and he would help me get going. Not being there alone really helped to build my confidence in the beginning.
3.) Avoid busy times: Early in the morning and after work are very busy times for gyms. You may not have a choice, but if you do, try to go in an off peak time so there will be less people in the gym to make you feel awkward.
4.) Mentally prepare yourself: Remind yourself that there are probably other people nervous to be at the gym, too. Remember that most likely no one will ever even know you are having any anxiety about being there. Also, most people are so busy and into their own workouts that they don’t even notice other people (I don’t notice most people at the gym, I’m in the zone!)
5.) Suck it up: You have to decide what is more important to you. If getting to the gym is your top priority, then you just have to do it. Most likely, the more you go the more comfortable you will become and soon your fears will be gone. Take a step out of your comfort zone and just do it, one time. The second time should be easier, so it’s just taking that first step. You can do it!
QOTD: Do you like going to the gym? Were you ever intimidated by going?