5 Tips To Be Confident At The Gym
Everyone starts somewhere. Unfortunately sometimes we are placed in situations where we feel overwhelmed or unwelcome in a new fitness based atmosphere.
After years of switching between gyms, trying out different classes and taking boxing classes, I have learned to feel confident wherever I go. I believe at every age there can be this fear, because even the youngest and oldest of people at gyms have different levels of fitness, and some, who are more fit, do take this to their advantage. I found that if I ignored the discomfort I felt then all my stress of being somewhere new would go away - and that is exactly what happened.
These are the five best tips I have for those who want to start incorporating fitness into their lifestyles but are scared to be the 'new one'.
Become familiar with the gym. Map out the equipment you will most likely be using the first couple times you visit, and pay attention to how many and the types of people that are there during a specific time. Keep in mind that a lot of people who visit the gym, normally go at the same day during their visits. A lot of gyms also have 'peaks' where all the fittest individuals go and it becomes more of a social event than a gym, this time really sucks. A lot of equipment is taken by people who sit there and chat or stand in front of the mirror to check all angles of their bicep (haha). Avoid going at this time because you will be fighting for equipment and you may spend most of your time waiting for a machine to become open. Not that peak hours are bad, (I have learned to workout during these times if I do end up there) but they won't be fun for your first few visits. I think the best times to go are early in the morning/afternoon or really late at night (between 6AM - 3PM and 9PM - 12PM). Normally between 3PM - 9PM is filled with the large, muscular individuals PLUS the after school/work gym-goers. So you can only imagine how packed it is.
Workout with a friend. If you have already bought a membership but wish to go with a friend for the first time, ask your gym for a day pass. Normally this is free but sometimes a small charge of $5.00 is asked. Either way, I recommend this if you are REALLY nervous about going alone. Bringing a friend will take the pressure off and you will have someone to encourage you the entire time. But, what you don't want to get caught up in is relying on another to go to the gym together, if you both sign up. Visiting the first couple times with them is good but you may never completely overcome the fear of going alone.
Keep your head high and mindset strong. You shouldn't feel to scared or embarrassed because everyone had their own 'first time' at the gym once or twice in their life. Just focus on why you are there, have a workout already planned and crush it!
I went from a family based gym with a lot of young teenagers and elders to a huge corporation that is packed with strong men and extremely fit women. I, myself am a very petite framed girl. I was nervous to go my first time because I knew I would be seeing a lot more people my age and a few handful of people that I knew. But, instead of letting those thoughts get to me, I walked in with my head high and eyes low. I was there to continue on with my passion of fitness; and truthfully I did in fact switch to this gym to meet new people. Having that mindset of making new friends really helped with the process too. Each workout got easier and easier and soon my eyes drew away from the floor and I started to scan the gym and say hi to familiar faces each time I went. I still do get looks today at the gym but I have overcome and accepted the fact that humans do judge, and will continue to. You simply just have to be confident in what your doing and continue on. Workout, sweat, go home - that's it - you don't necessarily have to talk to anyone but you will notice that eventually people will start greeting you after seeing you visit a few times.
Wear something you feel confident in. I find I workout best when I am comfortable in the clothing I have on. Wearing cute, matching outfits (especially for girls) really helps to boost confidence - in the same way how our everyday attire, that we chose to wear, is because it makes us feel good. Some of my best workouts have been in an outfit I feel super good in! But, sometimes I have gone to the gym in an entire outfit of boy clothing, and still had a good workout because, AGAIN, I am there to solely workout.
Don't let one person bring you down. Today's community is filled with a lot of jealousy, fear and many individuals who feel empowered when they judged people. But a lot of this is rooted from an insecurity of their own. Don't let someone else's insecurity make you feel insecure. I can't stress this enough, so once again, you ALONE are there to workout for yourself, not for someone else.
Enjoy the gym, it is not a competition, its a continuous journey to your best mental, physical and emotional health!