So. You’re ready to take the next step for your fitness. You’ve thought about it, done your research, and now you’re the proud and terrified owner of a new gym membership. Thoughts of doubt and uncertainty cloud your head. Maybe you shouldn’t do it…. I mean technically you can still be fit without a gym membership… and when you went on the tour? All those meatheads hogging the wall of mirrors while yelling at every rep of their bicep curls and these gym chics in crop tops that all look like they could be Instagram models. The only exercise you’re confidently sure you can perform is crunches, but you’re afraid you’ll look like a total newbie next to that girl doing weighted pistol squats on the bosu ball. The gym can truly be a scary place for beginners, and getting yourself in for that first workout can require all the courage you can muster. But look, you’ve already come this far! You’ve made the decision to be healthier, and that’s the decision that took a lot of courage in itself, so you’ve already got that under your belt. As far as tips and tricks to help you out if you’re a beginner and don’t know what the heck you’re doing–I’ve got you covered.
- Recognize that just because you’re painfully aware of how nervous you are doesn’t mean everyone else is. Trust me! Most of the time people are busy looking in the mirror at their gains and won’t even give you a second glance. Take a deep breath, and go for it like you’re the only one there in the room.
- Empower yourself by remembering why you are there. You made the amazing decision to prioritize your health and that’s HUGE! Whatever reason you decided you wanted to get that membership, whether it be to get stronger, lose fat, improve your cardio, etc., remember that and let it fuel your fire.
- See if you can find a partner to train with your first few times. It can help to go into something new not feeling alone! Once you build a little confidence with the gym and the equipment, you’ll feel a lot let nervous to go by yourself. (But whatever you do, do not let NOT being able to find a partner keep you from going. It may be harder, but you are strong and capable.)
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re unsure if you’re doing a workout correctly, most of the time people are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise with you. (As long as you don’t ask them in the middle of their set!) It might be intimidating to go make that first connection–but who knows! You might have just made a new friend in the process.
- Do your research. It always helps me do something new the more prepared I feel I am. If you have an idea of what workouts you are going to include in your routine that day, it will help you move around like you have a purpose, and less like “the new kid on the block.”
- If you have the money for it, I always suggest getting a trainer. Even if you can only afford a few sessions, they can introduce you to the equipment and basics of how everything works, and even help you develop a step by step plan to reaching your overarching goals. Totally worth the money if you ask me! If you can’t afford it though, don’t trip! You can still be successful–hard work and consistency are the most important factors, and money can’t buy those.
- Start following fitness people on Websites, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. I’ve gotten a LOT of my workouts from fitness enthusiasts on YouTube, and nowadays its easier than ever to find so many different people and workouts anywhere you want to look! Be inspired!
- Bring music. Who doesn’t feel confident when they’ve got their hype songs playing in their ears when the walk onto the floor? Make yourself a whole playlist of your hype songs and OWN that gym floor!!!
- Remember that the hardest part is truly just getting yourself there. Once you get started and begin your workouts, the time flies by and you will be way less focused on what everyone else is thinking of you.
- Keep in mind that everyone starts somewhere. Everyone is at a different place on their fitness journey, but every place is good! Find the fittest person in the room, and remember that they too started out just like you. Let them inspire you, not discourage you!
- Remember that failure is a stepping stone to success. So maybe you bravely got on that machine then totally couldn’t figure out how that guy was JUST doing it, even though you watched so intently from across the room, then hop off red-faced, hoping nobody saw. Its fine! It’s really not a big deal. Nobody there is perfect, and that includes you. You shouldn’t expect yourself to try something totally new and execute it perfectly every time. Have some patience with yourself, and don’t take yourself too seriously!
- Force yourself to make going to the gym a habit. Anything becomes way easier when it is a habit more than a chore that takes lots of thought. It generally takes 21 days of consistency to form a habit. This doesn’t mean you have to go EVERY day of the week, but plan the days you intend to go then stick with them! Every one! Before you know it, you’ll have a habit, and going to the gym will simply become part of your routine.
- Take classes! A lot of gyms offer free classes with the membership, and this is a great benefit to take advantage of. Here you can learn how to do a lot of workouts that you can take away and do on your own later. Also, you have an instructor to watch and make sure you are doing the movements correctly. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic way to build community and make new friends that not only help keep you accountable–but make going to the gym 10x more fun!
Most of all–Have FUN and train HARD!!!
What are your best tips for overcoming the first-time-gym-fear?