The first time I entered a gym, I was intimidated, nervous and not comfortable. At all.

I was 6 ft 2, 130 pounds soaking wet and surrounded by huge dudes lifting huge weights. And here’s me, who knew bugger all about weights, busting open my biceps with 15-pound curls.

In front of the mirror, grunting of course.

Doesn’t everybody work on the gun show? And I was no different.

Despite feeling out of place and overwhelmed, I kept going and got better. Eventually, the gym was a home away from home as I grew more comfortable and knowledgeable.

And those big guys were pussycats anyway. 😊

So, If you’re not feeling comfortable, and you’re out-of-place and this is holding you back from being your best self, take these suggestions out for a spin.

Because when you do curls in front of the mirror, I want you to like what you see.

1.Remember why you started in the first place

Why did you show up to the gym?

Chances are it wasn’t so you could stay the same — it’s because you wanted to change for the better.  Personally, what I craved for was to put on some weight because I was skinny with poor posture.  

And I was willing to feel uncomfortable because this had to change.

Whatever your reason for starting, get to the bottom of it by asking yourself the 5 whys.  Here is an example.

Why do you want to exercise? – To lose 20 pounds.

Why 20 pounds? – Because I’ll get down to my old high school weight.

Why is that important to you? – Because I want my energy and bounce back, like when I was in high school

Why is getting your energy back important at this time? – My wife is about to have a baby.

A baby, fantastic news. Why will losing 20 pounds help? – Because I need to be the best help and role model for my child.

See, was that so hard? When you realize your why, feeling uncomfortable is less of a big deal.

2. Go with a friend

When I started training, I went with a childhood friend.

And seeing he was the one who suggested I needed to go in the first place, that was the least he could do. 😊

Let’s face it, when trying to make a change for the better, it helps to have support of your friends and loved ones. Because when you’re in an uncomfortable situation, it helps to have a familiar face by your side.

Furthermore, training with a partner helps makes exercise more enjoyable and keeps you accountable.

A study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise said exercise adherence is directly related to having support. So, knowing your friend has your back can help you stick to your fitness plan. (1)

And to smack you around the head when you’re out of line or slacking 😊

3. Change your perspective……. Just a little bit

If your school or sporting experience was anything like mine, exercise wasn’t a enjoyable experience. You probably thought of it as a punishment. Running laps in the heat with sweat dripping down your forehead.

And when someone screwed up, the coach screamed to everybody to ‘get down and give me 20.

Didn’t you love push-ups? Let’s not mention getting undressed and dressed in front of your classmates or teammates either. Fantastic memories, right?  

If you comfortable of course

However, it’s time to put this in the rearview mirror and change your perspective. Because when you look at exercise as something you get to do and not HAVE to do, you realize exercise is a gift and not a punishment.

Because that person in the wheelchair would love to get up and for a walk. What’s your excuse?

4. Do something you enjoy

This goes along with the point above.  I’ve lost count the amount unhappy people I’ve seen at slogging away on treadmills trying to lose weight. There not having any fun at all.

And when that stops working, do you think they’ll keep going? Ahh no.  

Rather than continuing down this path of punishment, put some enjoyment back into your fitness. According to Michelle Segar, author of No Sweatenjoyment is the best motivator for exercise.

“Logic doesn’t motivate us; emotions do,” says Segar. 

People who exercise for enjoyment stick with it more than those who do so for medical reasons. 

However, it may take a little work to find what you enjoy but better health will be your reward.

5. Focus on the process and not the goal

Ever wanted something so bad you could taste it?

And when you get it, you feel pretty good and when you don’t, you feel disappointed. May feel bad enough to quit and forget about it all together.

That’s how many people feel when they undertake an exercise program to lose weight. When the scale is going down, they feel on top of the world and when there’s no change, their mood darkens.

I see this a lot.

Instead, focus on the process and not the end goal. For example,

  • Concentrate on exercising 3-5 times a week
  • Having a performance goal like doing your first chin up, push-up or running a mile
  • Eating your fruits, vegetables and lean protein every day
  • Drinking water with every meal

And when take your focus off the end goal and concentrate on the process, you’re more likely to achieve your goal, sometimes without even realizing it.

Wrapping up

Starting exercise routine for the first time or after a long break is uncomfortable. Not feeling comfortable and not getting results may lead to quitting. And you don’t want that.

Because you’re too awesome for that.


  1. Psychology of Sport and Exercise Volume 12, Issue 5, September 2011, Pages 575-578. The influence of close others’ exercise habits and perceived social support on exercise

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