My very first time in a weight room was a confusing experience and I had no idea what I was doing.
And it showed.
What made it worse was despite looking confused, lost and intimated, nobody offered to help me. Gym employees and gym goers seemed to turn a blind eye, which made me feel real comfortable.
No wonder some people get overwhelmed the first time they enter a weight room. Therefore, places like Planet Fitness exist in all their purple glory because gym intimation is a real thing that smart companies cash in on.
I bet Barney the dinosaur could play a game of hide and go seek on the gym floor and never be found, but I digress.
However, even though more people are joining gyms than ever before, we’re the fattest we’ve ever been. The fact is that some people buy a membership and never use it is because they’re scared and intimated by the gym environment.
It doesn’t affect the gyms bottom line because once you pay up, for the most part they don’t care, however, it will affect yours if you’re not careful.
And if any of this hit a nerve with you (or your friends), use the suggestions below to be an intimating force in the gym rather than being intimated. Please let Barney win that game of hide and seek.
1. Schedule a free session with a Personal trainer
Many gyms offer a free session with a trainer and even if they don’t, you can insist that you will not join unless a trainer shows you how to the use the equipment.
Some of the fear that newbies feel in the gym comes from the fact that they’re clueless about everything gym and afraid of looking silly and then ending up on American Funniest Home Videos.
Gaining a little bit more confidence and being able to pick the brain of a person who has been there and done that will help you to feel more at ease and ready to dominate.
2. Attend a group exercise class
Not only is their strength in numbers but the group exercise environment is place where you can learn movements, exercises and techniques that can hold you in good stead when you venture out to the gym floor.
And coming in before or staying after class, you can ask questions of the group ex instructor that can help further your knowledge, so you can feel more confident in the weight room.
3. Realize that everyone must start somewhere
They’re people all around you at the gym who were once like you and they somehow muddled through even though it was difficult. However, if you stick with it and not worry about what people think, you’ll feel more comfortable and then the newbies will be asking you for advice.
When you’re at the gym, whether you’re new or experienced, you’re surrounded by like-minded people whose focus is to get better. It can’t help but rub off on you. Please put your head down and get to work.
4. Go to the gym in off hours
If all else fails, ask the front desk when the gym is quiet. Going during the non-peak period means more equipment will be available, you’ll get through your workout faster and you’re more likely to be surrounded by like minded people.
And when you gain more confidence, it really doesn’t matter when you go because you’ll be able to crush it anytime.
5. People are focused on themselves and not you
What you’ll notice at the gym is people looking at their phones, watching TV or staring at themselves while their doing biceps curls. They’re totally focused on themselves and not you.
Nobody cares that you’re carrying a few extra pounds or that your fashion sense is stuck in the 80’s. You’re way harder on yourself than any of those other people who don’t know you, so understand this and get to work.
If this little pep talk didn’t help, bringing a friend to support you will help in easing your anxiety.
The gym can be an intimating and uncomfortable place when you first start. However, that’s the feeling of you being out of your comfort zone. Use the suggestions above and embrace that uneasy feeling and go get better.