Let’s be honest for a moment, the gym can be a frightening place. Gyms are filled with complicated contraptions promising to build muscles we didn’t even know we had. With gym bros and fitness fanatics knowing exactly what they are doing and dominating every piece of equipment they use, it’s easy to find yourself on the “dreadmill,” because you don’t know what else to do. Then you think, weights! I can lift weights, but those weight sections are usually crammed with full-grown men grunting, which is enough to freak anyone out – especially someone who doesn’t know what weight to grab. Studies suggest that lack of confidence and a tendency for women to feel self-conscious when exercising is a huge key factor in making us ladies less active. I even recently heard someone say “I’m too fat to go to the gym,” whoa, that is completely crazy and no one should ever feel like that. But, trust me I get it. I spend hours on Instagram looking at fitness routines by perfect Instagram influencers and wish my body was more like theirs. I pull myself apart, until I finally pull myself together to step foot in the gym and then I kind of shut down. You know the moment where you don’t think you look that good, to begin with and then you step foot into a gym where every female looks like Ashleigh Jordan and every male looks like Arnold – it’s intimating. But, like anyone else I have to tell myself we all need to start somewhere, and I am here at the gym instead of sitting on my couch eating Doritos that has to count for something. To help you get past gym intimation I am going to give you five tips that helped me.
Try out classes
If you’re new to exercise, or just don’t know where to get started I highly recommend trying out some classes. Classes allow you to try a variety of exercise out under the watchful eye of an instructor. Typically you can even find a studio that is for babes only, which will help with the intimation of guys watching you. Some of my favorite studio classes include kickboxing, cycle, booty classes, barre, boot camp class, and yoga. The Barre Code is for babes only and offers a wide variety of classes.
If you’re hoping that classes will be a starting point for more independent training, look for a class at a gym that utilizes gym equipment and incorporates a variety of exercises. A circuit or weight training class will include a variety of different moves, and there will be a trainer available to help make sure you have proper form. Once you are feeling confident enough you can take your new skills out on the gym floor and design your own routine based on the exercises you enjoy most.
Find a fitness influencer (that’s relatable)
If you have no idea where to get started and don’t feel confident asking for help look to social media. There are fitness influencers from all walks of life with a wide range of body types that can help inspire you to reach your goals. Most influencers post videos and photos explaining how to use equipment and demonstrate the correct posture for the exercise. Many will even share full routines and gym sessions that you can adapt and try yourself, some even sell plans and offer challenges that will help hold you accountable.
Some of my favorite influencers are:
Tone It Up
Sarah Beth Yoga
Hire a personal trainer
I understand personal trainers are expensive, however, you can get by with just doing one or two sessions with the trainer and have them show you proper form on machines. Most trainers are happy to arrange a one-off session to figure out a personal workout plan that you can do in your own time. This is what I did, it helped me learn how to properly use the equipment, gave me workout ideas, I learned what I should workout every day and the importance of steady state cardio. The goal of a personal trainer isn’t to have one forever, it’s to get you comfortable enough so you can workout on your own.
Find a workout buddy
You know the saying, “there’s safety in numbers” this applies to the gym. Roping in a friend to join you at the gym may help to alleviate some of your nerves. Having a buddy there will help you feel less self-conscious, you’ll have someone to laugh with and learn the equipment with. I love going to workout classes with friends because it holds me accountable and makes sure that I go. One of my friends and I used to meet at the gym at 5 am just so we would have someone to workout with. Having that extra support system can make a world of a difference.
People aren’t paying attention to you
Remember everyone in the gym is focused on their own workout, and as much as it seems like people are staring, the reality is they aren’t. Everyone was once a gym newbie, and most people will not judge you – even if you look unsure of what you’re doing. Focus on your goals, try new things and most importantly have fun. The gym shouldn’t be a place you dread, it should be a place that makes you feel amazing.
A game changer for me is wearing a baseball hat, it actually helps me just focus on myself at that moment and not pay attention to anyone else – mainly because I cannot see anyone else when I am wearing it. CALIA by Carrie Underwood sells baseball hats in a variety of colors, therefore, you can find one that will go nicely with your outfit. Or a solid black one is always nice, since black typically does not show sweat.
I hope these tips have been helpful, if you have any gym concerns or questions please feel free to leave a comment or message me!