overcoming gym intimidation
HELLO FIT FAM!
Welcome back to another blog post! I've been working super hard the past few weeks on the Take the Cake launch and my Youtube Channel¿ that I have now (never thought I would jump to YT!) so I haven't had much time to sit down and write a post. But this blog is super important to me and it's a great way for me to share my top tips and tricks when it comes to fitness, school, and just life in general. So ya girl is back and ready to go!
I've gotten a TON of DM requests for a post on gaining confidence in the gym and battling the oh so dreaded GYM INTIMIDATION! This is such an important topic, especially if you're just starting out in fitness and you're new to the gym environment. But don't worry! Everyone has been there and experienced this at one point or another so you are not alone. Let's go through some concrete ways that you can work towards being more confident in the gym so you can get these gains!
Sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy the post!
overcoming gym intimidation
it's a real thing, and here's how to deal
Gym intimidation, or feeling anxious about going to the gym and working out in front of other people, is a super common feeling to experience. When I was first starting out, I was always worried that other people in the gym were secretly judging me or that they could tell I had no idea what I was doing. Fitness and working out should be an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one. So let's attack each of the most common anxieties one by one so that we can work towards our goals in the gym!
Intimidation #1: When I Get to the Gym, I Don't Know What to Do!
Explanation: Feeling lost or unsure while in the gym is a super common experience. There's a ton of equipment and at times a good amount of people, all of whom seem to have it all together when it comes to their form, working the machines, and their workout. Not knowing what to do in a gym setting can be super intimidating, so let's go through some solutions to help.
Solution: The main solution for feeling lost in the gym is to go in with a plan. If you enter your workout room with a set list of exercises that you've written out and already gone through in your head, you'll feel a lot more comfortable moving around the gym and executing that plan. Before heading to your gym, or even in the locker room of your gym, take a moment to sit down and plan your workout. Is it going to be focused on upper body, lower body, or full body? Which exercises are you going to do? How many sets and reps of each exercise will you perform? Knowing the answers to questions like these before even stepping foot in the gym can be a tremendous confidence boost! Having a plan takes away any uncertainty that comes with what you'll do in the gym that day, and if you ever forget or need a quick reminder of what's next, you can always check your plan wherever you wrote it down!
My Personal Experience: I have always been someone that needs structure when it comes to working out. Like many of you, it makes me super uncomfortable to show up to the gym and not know what I need or want to do. Ever since I started my fitness journey, I've followed a concrete workout plan. The first one I followed was a 16 week gym guide that I purchased and every program since then has been one that I've designed personally. That just goes to show that no matter what level of fitness I'm at, I absolutely 100% NEED a plan. I need a calendar that shows me when to do what. I need an exercise guide that shows me which exercises I'm doing for which workout. I need it all! Not everyone is like this, but I think having a set plan has helped me avoid this part of gym intimidation while on my journey. I still to this day write down my entire workout in my workout log book the night before I go to the gym so that I can feel confident and prepared once I step foot inside.
If you're someone in need of a structured workout program, you can click HERE to browse some of my programs!
Intimidation #2: When I Go to the Gym, I Feel Alone or Singled Out
Explanation: Going to the gym and feeling singled out is super real. Usually it takes the form of being the only female at the squat rack or near the big weights, but it can mean a lot of other things as well.
Solution: Luckily, there's a great way to smash this intimidation! Fitness is not always best done alone! Try going to the gym with a workout buddy or try taking some of the classes offered at your fitness center. Bringing a friend along can immensely reduce any anxieties that come with being alone in the gym, because now you have a friend! And this friend is right there with you doing the same workout routine in the same space as you. If you also find yourself getting caught up in Intimidation #1, you now have a friend with you who can help you out or reassure you. Or! Your friend also has no idea what to do next and you two can laugh about it, talk it over, and decide what's next, all without having to feel like you're alone in being uncertain. Support systems while on your fitness journey are so important to success! So if you're feeling lonely or singled out, grab a gym buddy and get your sweat on!
My Personal Experience: The main way this intimidation has manifested for me is when I was just starting out and needed to use the squat rack. It was super intimidating to walk over to the racks where there was always a pack of men banging out their insanely heavy bench presses or deadlifts. I felt as though I didn't belong and even worse, if there was a male waiting in line while I was using the racks, I would feel like I needed to hurry up so he could get his workout in. OH NO NO NO. The way I overcame this intimidation was by remembering how strong I am, even if I had never squatted in my entire life. Just because someone else is farther along in their fitness journey does not mean that yours is any less significant. Once I got this idea in my head, I never felt that way again. From that point on, if I needed to use a bench or a rack, I used it. Unapologetically. Because even if I'm not lifting 400 lbs, I'm still here in the gym trying to get better and get stronger, same as everyone else.
Intimidation #3: I Feel Self-Conscious and Judged While in the Gym
Explanation: This is one of the biggest insecurities that people face when going to the gym. It can stem from Intimidation #1 (not knowing what to do in the gym) or it can take the form of feeling embarrassed to perform certain exercises in the gym that may look weird to others. Regardless of how it takes form, it's one of the largest intimidations that people face and it's often the one that keeps people out of the gym.
Solution: Combatting this intimidation may take a bit of time, but it is completely possible. Start by remembering that every single person in the gym is there to work on themselves and improve themselves. Every person probably has something they're insecure about or an area of their body they feel can be stronger. And no matter how advanced someone might seem, they had to start from square one at some point in their life. Reflecting on this truth can really help with this intimidation over time. When you actually look around in the gym while you there, you'll see that most people aren't actually looking at you or what you're doing. And that's because just like you, they're in the gym trying to reach a goal they've set for themselves. If thinking about these concepts is a bit difficult for you, and you're looking for a quicker fix, you can try going to the gym at non-peak hours. Usually the rush-hours for the gym are in the morning right before work and in the evening right after work. If you have a flexible enough schedule, try going during midday or later in the night. Since the gym will be emptier, you can take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with the gym environment and layout. You can take note of where certain machines are and how to properly use them so that in the future, you won't feel as lost when using the equipment.
My Personal Experience: So this is the intimidation that I've experienced the most while on my fitness journey. In the beginning, I was nervous about doing absolutely anything in the gym in fear of being judged by a gym-pro. I was nervous about using machines, using incorrect form, or using too light of weight. Additionally, if you've watched any of my Instagram workout videos, you know that I sometimes do some weird looking exercises lol. They're super effective, but they can definitely look odd in the gym or even a bit sexual (which is NEVER the intention). When I was first starting out doing those types of exercises, I felt super embarrassed, uncomfortable, and worried what other people would think. And the way that I got over all of these insecurities was by following what I just outlined above! I remembered that everyone else was in the gym to improve just like I was. I decided that focusing on my goals and getting to where I want to be is more important than worrying about what people think about me performing a certain exercise or using a piece of equipment in a certain way. I turn up my music loud, walk with confidence, and literally block out everyone else. I do me. If they choose to look, okay! I'm still doing me. Still working on me. And still improving ME.
Alright fit fam! I really hope that these tips can help you out if gym intimidation is something you're struggling with. Just remember that you are not alone in what you're experiencing. Almost everyone has felt some of these feelings at one point or another in their fitness journey, including me. We are all working towards being better versions of ourselves, and we should do so unapologetically. You are special, worth it, and STRONG. I am always here for support along your journey (and I'm sure other members of the fit fam are too!) so always feel free to reach out by leaving a comment below or messaging me on Instagram.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!