Fear of the Gym – 9 Ways to Overcome It
Going to the gym can be scary, especially if you’re new to working out. The thought of going into a busy gym where you seem to be the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing can be overwhelming. You may have visions of walking into the gym, and everyone turning to look in your direction.
Can you picture the judgmental stares as the others check out your love handles and pot belly and think, ‘What is SHE doing here?’ The thoughts may even give you nightmares. The fact is, you are there to get into shape, same as anyone. That thought alone should keep you going. But no matter how your fear of the gym manifests itself or how strong it is, you can overcome it with a little preparation and a few tricks. Here are 9 of the best ways to overcome your fear of the gym.
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Choose a Gym That Works for You
Make sure you do your research when you go to choose a gym. Gym memberships can be a big commitment. Make sure the facility you choose has the equipment you need and want, and check out their group classes to see if they offer anything you might be interested in.
Always wanted to try Zumba (I know I have), and you see that the gym down the street offers a few classes at times that are convenient for you? Go for it! Knowing that a gym will meet your needs will help keep you focused, calm you down, and make going in on the first day that much easier.
Not sure exactly what you’re looking for in terms of a gym? Check out this article for some ideas.
Tour the Gym Before You Commit
If you didn’t tour the facility before joining (and I really recommend that you do), you will need to schedule a tour before you go to work out for the first time. Most gyms will be more than happy to give you a tour at your request, and many require it for new customers.
Here’s a list of some of the companies that have the best gym membership deals out there:
- Life Time Fitness
- Gold’s Gym
- Anytime Fitness
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Planet Fitness
The locations and availability of these companies varies (as do their monthly costs), but most offer a free pass you can use to try them out.
Another good, fairly low-cost option is your local YMCA. Don’t forget to look there in your search for the perfect gym.
Meet with a Gym Personal Trainer
If you are new to working out, schedule an appointment with a personal trainer. They can teach you how to use equipment, give you information about fitness or workout routines, and answer any questions you might have.
You’ll be way more comfortable on your first day at the gym if you have some idea of what you’re going to be doing. And it’s always better to go into these situations with some support, which is what a personal trainer can offer in addition to the fitness knowledge.
Research Equipment and Exercises Before You Go
If you choose not to make an appointment with a personal trainer, you’ll need to research the equipment and exercises, at the very least, ahead of time. This will give you some basic knowledge and will prepare you for your first visit.
Here are some sites to visit to give you some idea of the most common types of gym equipment and how to use it:
- Gym Equipment Guide For Beginners – Names and Pictures
- A Beginners Guide To Gym Equipment And Workout Accessories
- The Only 7 Gym Machines Worth Using
Plan Your Workout
Before your first visit to the gym, plan your workout. Have an idea of what you will do during your time at the gym, and you will be way more likely to stick to the routine.
If you’re new to fitness, choose a pre-made workout regimen to begin. Check with your gym of choice to see what they recommend. They should be able to guide you. Start slow, and you can always change it up later when you’ve gotten more experience.
Go During Non-Peak Hours
Choose non-peak times to visit the gym until you’re more comfortable. A less busy gym is a lot less intimidating than a busy one is. You will also be able to make it through your workout with less pressure, and you’ll be able to take your time.
Peak hours are generally mid-morning (between 8 and 11 AM) and early evening (4 to 7 PM). Remember those judgmental stares we were thinking about earlier? There will be a lot fewer of them if you don’t go to the gym during these hours. That’s why it might be better to visit a gym that’s open 24 hours a day, so you can be sure the gym will be open when there will be fewer people there.
Put Together a Rockin’ Playlist
Music is a great way to calm anxiety. You can listen to your favorite songs, or put together an upbeat playlist to enhance your workout. Here’s an awesome cardio workout playlist that’s available to stream on Amazon if you’re a Prime customer like I am.
Focus on your favorite tunes (or maybe the latest audio version of the book you’ve been dying to read), and you’ll be less likely to focus on the others around you. This will improve the mindfulness (and effectiveness) of your workout.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This is a biggie. Whatever else you do, try not to compare yourself to others.
You know those other people there at the gym? You don’t know where they were when they started, and you don’t know their story. Maybe they were once afraid like you are (and maybe the looks on their faces aren’t as judgmental as you think they are).
The only person you should worry about when you are at the gym is yourself. Compare your today to your yesterday (not anyone else’s), and gauge your progress on what you can accomplish day by day.
Don’t Let Fear Get in the Way of Your Health
Going to the gym can be scary for anyone, especially for someone beginning their fitness journey. I know. I’ve been there. But you can’t let that fear keep you from achieving your fitness goals. Use the tips in this blog post to overcome your fear of the gym. Don’t let that fear keep you from being the best, healthiest version of you.