The gym, specifically the weight room, can be a very intimidating place. This is especially true for individuals who are just beginning their fitness journeys.
You have to remember, though, that the gym is a place where people go to improve their physical fitness levels. With that being said, everyone is there to work on themselves. There are individuals at all different points in their journeys, with different goals in mind, and with different strengths.
Strength training will allow you to achieve big things. Don’t let your fears interfere with your goals. Though it will take some time to get comfortable, confidence is key. Continue reading to learn what helped me acclimate to the world of lifting weights.
1.) Realize people around you aren’t focusing on you.
In fact, they probably feel the same way you do! Most people are so concentrated on their own workout and listening to music that they are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. People should not care what you’re doing at the gym. If they're watching you, maybe it’s because you're using a piece of equipment that they want when you’re finished, or maybe they are getting workout ideas from you.
2.) And if they do care, then that says a lot more about them than it does you.
You’re at the gym for you and nobody else. You’re not there to impress anyone; you’re there to work on yourself and your body. Don’t allow others to make you feel otherwise.
3.) Don’t compare yourself to others.
That girl who is squatting 200 pounds? She has probably been lifting weights for years. Just like you, she had to start somewhere and was in your shoes at one point. It’s easy to look at someone and think, “I wish I looked like that” and feel bad about yourself as a result. Don’t let that intimidate you; if anything, let that motivate you. Be proud of yourself for doing the best you can and know that with consistency, you’ll achieve your goals.
4.) Starting is the hardest part.
Any new environment, whether it be a new job or the first day of class, can often make us feel uncomfortable and fill us with anxiety. The good news is the first time will be the hardest and it will only get easier from there. Your confidence will build with time. Your workout library will expand. Each time you step foot in the gym you will feel more and more empowered.
5.) Use your resources!
If you want to learn how to properly perform certain exercises or simply need workout ideas, there are so many platforms with helpful content. Try checking Youtube or Instagram. Utilize the professionals who work at the gym, or just the friendly face working out next to you. Any decent human being would be more than happy to provide someone a spot or critique on form than watch them injure their body. Don’t be shy! The gym is full of people who are passionate about fitness and helping others become their best selves.
6.) Go with a friend.
No matter if your friend is more or less experienced in the gym than you, just having someone there to accompany you during your workout will make you feel more confident to try new things.
7.) Know what you’re doing before you get there.
Have a specific plan. Know what muscle group you’re working and the specific exercises you’re going to do. This will avoid aimlessly meandering around the gym, doing a set of this and a couple reps of that. Have a plan and stick to it.
8.) Wear something that makes you feel confident and inspired.
Don’t wear something that you’re self conscious in because it will make you hyper aware of what your body looks like as opposed to just focusing on your form and the exercises you’re doing. Getting new workout gear makes me excited to go to the gym and as a result, I have above-average workouts when I am really feeling my outfit.
9.) Pick and isolated spot in the gym.
There are so many great workouts that can be done with just one set of dumbbells or a resistance band. Grab them, take them to a less-chaotic part of the gym, and do your thing.
10.) Most importantly, be kind to yourself.
You are there and that's a lot more than most people can say. You are doing GREAT. Be patient; results will come.