7 Steps to Overcome Gymtimidation

You’re ready to make a change in your life and you want to join a gym, but there’s a fear or intimidation that stops you from even walking through those doors. Never fear! Here are seven steps to help you overcome your gymtimidation:

1. Find the right gym

There are a variety of gym options out there. Most will offer some sort of trial membership. Give it a try for a few days and get a feel for the gym. Each gym has its own personality. I’m a member of a 24/ 7 type of gym with multiple locations and each location has its own vibe. A trial is a great way to check out the vibe of the gym, the equipment, and the staff. Choosing the right gym for you can make a world of difference. Find one that makes you feel comfortable and motivated to reach your goals.

2. Start Small

Not sure where to begin? Hop on an elliptical or a treadmill. They are great ways to begin your fitness journey and depending on the setup of your gym, can often position you well to observe others and begin to decide what other things you’d like to try. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. You shouldn’t expect to run a marathon right away or bench press your own body weight. Start small and gradually build. Doing too much in the beginning could lead to injury and setback.

3. Bring A Friend

There’s strength in numbers so help yourself overcome your gymtimidation by having a friend come along with you. Anything you fear is easier to overcome with someone by your side. The added benefit is that you have someone there to help keep you accountable for reaching your goals and you can do the same for them! You might also be able to get some sort of reward for referring your friend to join.

4. Trainers/Classes

If you’re unsure where to start, consider personal training or classes offered at your gym. Trainers are there to help you with your specific goals so you’ll get advice on how to use equipment, proper form, and tips for your diet. Classes are a great way to get started by learning how to use certain equipment and they are a great way to meet people, which is especially great if you don’t already have a gym buddy

5. Technology

As an introvert, I’m not big on classes and busy gyms. Technology makes it easier now because there are a ton of videos and fitness apps you can get for free or a small cost. While they certainly can’t give you the expertise of a trainer or a class, they can definitely make you feel more comfortable trying equipment for the first time or getting you out of the same old routine.

Wearable technology is another way to connect in a new way. Here's one of my favorite fitness trackers with a modern mobile app!

6. Avoid “Rush Hour”

Peak hours at gyms are usually mornings and late afternoons, right before people go to work and after they finish work. Consider going during the workday or later in the evening if your schedule allows. Having fewer people around will allow you to try equipment without people waiting on you and making you feel rushed. Google is a great resource to show you popular times at your gym by each day of the week so that you can find some non-peak times to workout.

7. You’re Not The Only One

Finally, the most important thing to remember to overcome gymtimidation is that everyone else at the gym has had to overcome it as well. They were once the beginner and had to overcome their fears. Don’t be intimidate by the giant guy grunting as he lifts his hundreds of pounds of weights. Everyone is there to better themselves.  You aren’t the first one to enter a gym and feel uncomfortable and you won’t be the last. Everyone has to take that first step and you should be proud of yourself for showing up and putting in the effort. That’s the most important thing to remember and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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