Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Too many people... I don't know exactly what I'm doing... I feel like that one person won't "stay in their lane"...
We've all heard those common phrases when referring to being a gym-goer. They can be demeaning and frustrating. Trust me, I've been there. But the good news is, pretty much anyone who's been going to the gym for a while has been there too so you're definitely not alone on that one. But still, it can be frustrating when you do not feel comfortable or confident at the gym. So here are my top 5 strategies for overcoming any gym fear in the future:
Location Location Location. You have often heard it before in real-estate terms, but the location of the gym is critical. If the gym you decided to go to is not in a desirable area or too far from work or home, it might make it more challenging to stick to a schedule. Remember, after a long day of work, if you're not feeling like driving 30 min. for a gym, then it might not be a good idea. When there's added animosity toward working out, it may make you feel like you've wasted time, money and energy and regret trying to better yourself (which is never EVER good). Oftentimes when I'm new to an area, I try to stick to a 15 min. and under rule. This is good for safety, gas, and motivation.
Gym Environment. This might sound cliche, but the environment you're putting yourself in is important. Just like location, if you do not like the environment in which you may be spending 6+ hours a week in, then it could lead to problems. A really great tip I have done time and time again is to take advantage of a free trial or week pass. Most gyms offer them because they understand that spending time, money and lots and lots of energy is not worth it if you hate your surrounding. No gym ever wants you to feel like they're not making you the happiest gym-goer ever. Therefore, if you're not happy at your current gym, it may be time to find a new one and change it up -that's come in handy for me a few times.
Navigating Machines & Gym Equipment. So you're new or bored with the gym's equipment or plans, you have options! Many gyms offer a 1-2 FREE (yes I said free) training session with a personal trainer. This is a great option if you're looking to make connections, switch up training or trying to get out of your comfort zone! Personal trainers are great guides to help tailor specific workout plans and also help you understand how to properly use machines, dumbbells and other gym equipment. On the same note, there are also usually little pictures and descriptions on the machines to help you facilitate training, but if you're ever unsure, asking someone or a gym staff member is never a bad thing. Also, YouTube and Google are great sources for information on machines and workout plans, I really liked YouTube when I was first starting out to actually visualize myself doing the same workout.
4. Gym-Timidation. We've all seen those commercials for gyms who advertise a judgement free zone, right? Although most gyms work hard at making sure their clients are happy, there can be microaggressions or just situations where you don't feel super comfortable or happy. If this is the case, I always like to find "my area". This means an area where I predominantly workout in. Sometimes gyms have studio rooms or training areas open to the public too. This can be a great option for people who prefer privacy. Also remember, if something happens when another gym-goer says or does something that makes you uncomfortable in any way, be sure to mention it to a manager as they appreciate people trying to make their establishment a better place for everyone.
5. Training Partner. When I first started at the gym, having someone to help keep me accountable was super helpful. I especially liked it because two brains are sometimes better than one, which is really nice when navigating new machinery or workout plans. If you're struggling to find a workout partner, maybe try making small-talk with someone at the gym. More often than not, they would love to help and workout with you. Also, taking gym classes is a great way to meet like-minded people!
~I really hoped that my tips have resonated with you in some way. Remember, we all struggle at the gym. I have been going every week for the last 6 years and I still have areas to improve upon. If you're interested in more content, be sure to follow me on IG: @EnergizingBB.