The gym, specifically the weight room, can be a very intimidating place, especially true for those just beginning their fitness journeys.
It's comforting to think about the fact that the gym is a place where people go to improve their physical fitness levels; 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, working out will improve confidence in every aspect of life.
Here are some actionable things you can do that can help you curb your gym anxiety. Read the post on Encouraging Thoughts to help boost your gym confidence.
Wear something you feel confident in. If you're not comfortable in your clothing, you'll be hyperaware of what your body lookslike as opposed to how you feel and how each exercise feels.
Plan your workout ahead of time. Know exactly what you're doing (exercises/reps/sets/rest periods) before going to the gym so there is not guesswork adding extra anxiety in the moment. This will help you avoid meandering around the gym doing a set of this and a couple reps of that, feeling (and looking) lost.
Learn and practice new movement patterns beforehand. Oh man, doing a new exercise is intimidating. Do your homework beforehand by watching YouTube/Instagram demonstrations and have them cued up in case you need a reminder when you get to the gym. Go through the motions at home (maybe even in the mirror to check for form) so you go into it as confident as possible. Don't be afraid to ask for help either!
Workout with a partner or trainer. A workout partner or trainer can hold you accountable and help you through programming and movement quality. Sometimes being with just one other person can help you feel a lot more confident.
Go at the same times each week. Having a regular gym schedule means you will mostly see the same people, which means (a) you'll make gym friends and (b) you'll be more comfortable due to the familiarity of the people, place and routine. You'll also learn what to expect as far as how busy the gym is, so you're not thrown off by any surprises.
Make your workouts "convenient". Do all barbell exercises before moving on to dumbbell exercises before moving on to cable ones, do you see what I'm saying? Maximize your time in each space instead of hopping all around the gym from equipment to equipment. Grab the bench in the corner and do your entire workout there (I encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone, of course, but this could be a great place to start).
Pick a few movements and master them. A reason why many feel intimidated in the gym is because they're not sure they're doing exercises correctly. You don't need an expansive exercise library to filter through; it's best to pick a few exercises (specifically compound exercises) and get really, really good at them.
Ask for help! Regular gym goers are genuinely some of the most supportive, encouraging people you'll meet. We all share a deep passion for fitness and are more than happy to share knowledge, advice, and encouragement to anyone who wants to hear it.