Starting a fitness journey can be tough. It can also feel defeating, frustrating, frightening… and a whole slew of other emotions.
I know this because I’ve been there before. That’s why I can say with certainty that I understand the fear you have of walking into the gym for the first time. I recognize the anxiety you may be feeling for working out in front of other people. And I realize that working out isn’t something that comes natural to most women.
But starting a new exercise program doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing experience. In this blog post, I’m helping you make the transition from couch potato to gym regular.
Overcome your fear of the gym (and start feeling like you again!) by using these 10 Stupid-Simple Hacks!
10 Surefire Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Gym
1. Take Notice of the Gym Atmosphere – For many of us, the thought of stepping foot inside a new gym is well beyond our comfort zone. Still, that doesn’t mean visits to the gym ought to be uncomfortable.
Take notice of your surroundings- Is the price of membership affordable? Are the locker rooms clean and inviting? Are the staff members friendly? What about the class schedule- are there classes listed that spark your interest?
Gyms are not a one-size-fits-all kind of place. Don’t be afraid to shop around, visit a few and find the right ‘fit’ for you. After all, if you’re going to be spending a good chunk of you’re time there, you might as well make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
2. Avoid Peak Times – If the thought of trying to get a good workout in while a cluster of other individuals do the same is enough to make you sweat, consider hitting the gym during its less busy periods.
You’ll have more access to available gym equipment and may even feel less self conscious without an audience of people there to watch you exercise.
As a general rule, most gyms are busiest immediately before and after the office work day- think early mornings and early evening. Skip the crowd by choosing to workout mid-morning, late-afternoon, or after 7 pm.
3. Bring a Friend – Have you ever noticed how much more likely you are to make a fool of yourself when in the company of a good friend as compared to when you’re by yourself?
Invite a friend to workout at the gym with you. You’ll find it easier to get in ‘the zone’ and you’ll be too busy having fun with your bestie to even worry about what others are thinking.
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4. Ask for Help – You may think that the gym staff is just there to check guests in, clean up messes in the locker room and keep an eye on the gym floor, but I promise you they are trained to do so much more.
In most every gym, employees are trained on how-to properly operate any and all equipment. So the next time you’re baffled on how a certain cable machine works, or you can’t figure out the proper settings on your cardio machine- grab a staff member, they’ll be happy to get you started.
5. Work with a Personal Trainer – In the beginning, it may seem like you’re spending a lot of your hard-earned money making this fitness thing happen. And after calculating the cost of personal training sessions, you may be tempted to skip ’em altogether.
But don’t be so quick to count out a personal trainer just yet.
Sure you can find plenty of free information on the Internet these days- workouts to get you started; exercise videos that demonstrate any number of movements; tips & tricks the pros use and more… However, these things won’t get you a hands-on training experience with a real fitness professional.
A professional that can correct your form, show you ways to prevent injury, and get you started on the right fitness plan that will get you closer to your desired goals.
Consider hiring a personal trainer for 5 sessions in the beginning to get you started on the right track and then going on your own.
6. Join a Group Fitness Class – Looking for something a bit more social than your standard one-on-one workout? Considering joining a group class and get a great workout in with a group of men and women who share similar interests as you.
The great thing about fitness classes is that you get the opportunity to workout under the supervision of an experienced instructor without the hefty price tag of a personal trainer.
7. Write your Progress Down – As a gym newbie, I had a million and one things going through my mind. There was so much to remember: the correct way to breathe while exercising; the proper form for each movement; tempos; speeds and more. What frustrated me more than anything was when I started utilizing weighted exercises in my workouts.
That’s because I could never remember what weight I last used for each exercise. I wasted a lot of time relocating just the ‘right’ weight for me. And ultimately, my inability to remember all those numbers just prolonged my ‘newbie’ phase in the gym.
Do yourself a favor, whether you enjoy slinging dumbbells or cardio is more your style- write down your workouts each day to not only track your progress by to help jog your memory for the next workout. You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple task will make.
8. Start Slow – While I firmly believe that you should leave your ego at the front door regardless of your level of fitness. It’s particularly noticeable when new gym members decide to lift weights beyond their strength and ability.
Performing movements outside your fitness level isn’t just about bruised egos either. You are opening yourself up to injury and a whole host of other problems when you push too hard, too fast.
Don’t be ashamed to start small. It’s a fact: using light weight or even scaling to body weight in a resistance training program can be more effective in producing results if the exercise is completed with proper form.
9. Be Gentle with Yourself – The whole ‘no pain, no gain’ is a motto that I wish would retire from the fitness world.
The truth of the matter is that fitness is not a punishment. Choosing to be fit and healthy should be a celebration of all the things which our bodies are capable of. Becoming fit isn’t about beating ourselves up.
Exercise is the process by which we uncover our ‘best selves’; a way to nurture our body and soul. So be mindful of your approach to tackling your fitness journey.
Being hard on yourself won’t make the process any easier. Relax. Take it one workout at a time.
10. Minimize Distractions – The easiest way to quiet your nerves and those negative thoughts flying around in your head?
Drown ’em out. Wear headphones and crank your favorite playlist, play a motivating podcast, or choose to do work on your reading list and listen to an audio book- anything to distract you from the hundreds of things going on around you as you workout.
You may just surprise yourself with how much more enjoyable working out can be once you get in ‘the zone’.
Working out- like most new things we try- can appear intimidating at first, but avoiding exercise isn’t the solution you’re looking for.
The truth is, we have to face our fears in order for our anxiety to have a little less hold on us.
Wishing you all the best on your fitness journey!
Here to Support YOU! XO- Britney (ms.fit.farmer)
P.S. Want even more (free) help to conquer your fear of the gym and achieve stellar results on your fitness journey? Enter your email below to get instant access to my entire library of fitness resources 🙂