How to overcome fear of the gym
The gym can be a daunting place for anyone, especially those who are new to fitness. My gym in particular is quite intimidating. Full of super toned health freaks and muscly body builders, I can at times feel completely out of place, however I do not let this deter me from going as it is home to such fantastic facilities I would be foolish now to utilise them. Therefore I have decided to compile a helpful list of ways in which fear of the gym can be combatted and you can focus on getting fit, healthy and finding a form of exercise you truly enjoy.
1) Familiarise yourself with your gym, even with the greatest fitness plan, if you are unsure of where the specific equipment is you will spend more time looking for various machines then working out, so know what it is you plan on using and identify where it is before you start to work out.
2) If you are worried about looking a fool on the weights machines then devise a plan using just free weights as these can be just as effective, if not more. I like to find a nice quiet corner, get all the weights I plan to use during my workout and not have to mither about walking round finding machines and figuring out how to use them.
3) Perhaps the most important thing is to have a routine. If you go to the gym with no idea what you plan to do you can end up wasting time and energy. Set aside days to train different muscle groups: legs, abs, back and biceps etc. and focus solely on that group. Look online for different exercises and make sure you continue to up the difficulty every couple of weeks and be sure to warm up and cool down.
4) Hate weights? Can’t stand the idea of running mindlessly on a treadmill? Then get a programme of the different classes your gym has to offer and give them a chance. Yes you may find a class you utterly hate but persist and I am fairly confident you will find a class to suit you. Mine is spinning, I adore it and don’t even regard it as exercise, I go solely because I thoroughly enjoy it and the calorie burning is a bonus. Aim to have that feeling and you will find yourself looking forward to your workouts.
5) It is so easy to worry about what people think, looking around any gym and you will see people oozing with confidence, strutting their stuff with not a care in the world. However the key thing to remember is that everyone starts somewhere. Everyone at the gym was once a novice and for all you know these people could feel exactly the same as you so stand tall put on your music and ignore others. Even if you feel terrified inside, just by acting confident will help you on your way to conquering your fears.
6) Get in the zone. Find yourself an area of the gym you feel relaxed and happy in and have this as your spot each time you go, this might be a particular corner or a specific rowing machine.
7) Start by going at quiet times. Most gyms are at the busiest when people finish work, so from about 5-8, so get there early in the morning or midday of a weekend. If you find yourself with some time off work use this opportunity to hit the gym and get your workout done and dusted while everyone is still in the office.
8) If you are still worried, or not sure what it is you should be doing then you might wish to consider getting yourself a trainer. Most gyms have resident PT’s who do sessions from just half an hour upwards. You only need one or two sessions to familiarise yourself how to use equipment properly or devise a routine tailored to suit you. If you opt for this then make it clear what you want to achieve and don’t let yourself be drawn into signing up for an expensive package if this was not your plan.
Follow these tips and make the gym somewhere that you enjoy going. Everyone is into different things so find something you enjoy.
Remember that there are actually more likely to be far less gym snobs then people just like you. Most people don’t even notice others around the gym and are more concerned about their own workouts and whatever you chose to do in terms of fitness you are lapping up those sat on the couch.
Best of luck J
Please let me know if these tips have helped you. Do you have any of your own tips or experiences?