It’s easy to feel intimidated and out of place at the gym, especially when joining a new one. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere and this feeling is perfectly normal—and the more time you spend at the gym and focus on getting yourself settled in, the easier it gets. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the facilities, get involved in classes, and develop a comfortable routine to shake off those new-gym jitters and build your confidence.
- Ask for a tour. This will give you an overview of the facilities and help you learn where everything is and what options are available. You can even schedule a tour before joining the gym, just to make sure that it’s a good fit.
- You can call ahead or just ask the person at the front desk, “Hi, I’m new here. Could I have a quick tour?”
- When on the tour, take note of the equipment or machines that you prefer so you can easily find them later.
- The tour is a great chance to ask any questions you may have about the gym.
- Brush up on the gym rules. Different gyms may have different rules about noise and behavior, so make sure to read over those rules beforehand. Often, gym-related anxiety comes from not knowing what to do. Having a working knowledge of your new gym’s etiquette can help you feel more assured and comfortable.
- Knowing the rules can also help you avoid awkward situations. In some gyms, grunting and making loud noises is against the rules and could lead to you being asked to leave.
- Bring a friend. Having someone to talk to can lighten the mood and make you feel less self-conscious. Try bringing a friend to work out with for your first few gym visits until you feel a little more comfortable.
- Avoid peak times and go during off-hours. Take advantage of times when the gym is empty by using that time to familiarize yourself with the layout and equipment available. This will give you more privacy and time to familiarize yourself with the gym until you become more comfortable.
- Sign up for a group class. This is a great way to learn the basics without too much pressure. The group setting will let you blend in and learn along with everyone else.
- Classes are also a great way to meet people, as they provide a common point of interest for striking up a conversation.
- Classes vary depending on the gym you join, but some popular classes include yoga, water aerobics, dance, Zumba, cycling, Pilates, and mixed martial arts.
- Introduce yourself. The gym is a great place to find a workout buddy or just someone to say hi to. Having a friendly face will help you feel more at home.
- Introducing yourself to class instructors is a great way to make connections as well. Having that small connection can also help motivate you to keep coming to class and working out.
- Ask questions. If you’re not sure where something is or how to use a certain machine, don’t let that stop you. Ask a fellow gym member where the sauna or weight room is located. Ask a staff member to show you the proper form and correct way to use the machine.
- This will also help you avoid injuries and ensure that you’re getting the best workout possible.
EditDeveloping a Routine
- Find a time that works for you and stick with it. Develop a routine that suits your schedule, and the more you follow that routine, the more comfortable the environment will feel. If you prefer to work out in the off-hours, continue doing that, or try a workout during peak times once you feel comfortable enough to do so.
- Working out at the same time every day or week will also help you recognize regulars and employees and find more friendly faces.
- Build up your skills and comfort level before adding new elements to your workout. Once you’ve established a basic routine with the classes and exercises that fit your needs, let yourself become confident in these activities before trying to master too many new things. Adding in new activities gradually will help keep you from getting overwhelmed and discouraged.
- Sign up for a personal trainer. Feeling clueless and trying to figure out what to do each time you go to the gym can be a source of anxiety. If you’re having a hard time finding a groove when working out, a personal trainer can help you figure out a routine that works best for you.
- Having someone guide you through the workout process helps you know that you’re doing the exercises right and can boost your confidence.
- Even just five sessions can teach you some new exercises and take some of the guesswork and stress out of working out.
- Wear workout gear that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
- Don’t be afraid to ask other people how to use a particular machine.
- Ease into a routine gradually. Try to add one new machine each day.
- Remember that you’re not alone–everyone starts somewhere. It’s okay to feel insecure when starting out.
- Make sure to ask an employee if you’re not sure how to use the equipment. They can show you the proper form and usage, which will help prevent injuries.
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