If you’ve never stepped foot in a gym or worked out in front of others, going to the gym can be a bit intimidating. Suddenly you’re hyper aware of all the mirrors and you can’t stop noticing everyone working out around you. These distractions can seriously affect your confidence.
Although joining a gym is certainly not necessary to live an active lifestyle, it can be extremely helpful. Self-consciousness should definitely not stand in the way of living healthy. Here are a few tips to help you feel confident at the gym.
1. Look Good, Feel Good
This sounds like a given but it’s totally true. Obviously you’re at the gym to get a good workout, but it helps with confidence if you’re already feeling good about your look. Pick out some workout clothes that you like and that make you feel good (Target has great selection). Some people like wearing leggings and a sweater and others like wearing just a sports bra and shorts. Choose whatever you feel good in and just know that everyone else is just wearing what they feel good in. There are no standards and nobody has to match.
2. Plan Ahead
Plan your workout and set times to either complete each section, or to complete whole workout. For example, I want to do 30 lunges, 15 deadlifts, 15 squats, and 15 box jumps in 4 minutes or less. You could even do minute by minute workouts, or set a big block of time. The point is, plan your entire workout and give yourself a time limit. Otherwise, you might not feel pressure to finish and you will meander around and get distracted. Having a plan helps so much and helps to not waste your time. I see people at the gym all the time who are on their phone in between sets, so it takes them nearly twice as long to finish their workout. Wouldn’t you rather spend 40 minutes in the gym instead of over an hour? If you really grind while you’re there, you will have so much extra time. Having a plan helps you to focus and you’ll look like you know what you’re doing. Fake it ’til you make it! When I spot people wandering between weight machines, it’s obvious they feel uncomfortable because they don’t know where to go next.
3. Stay Focused
The gym intimidates a lot of people because they think other people are watching or judging them. You end up focusing on everyone else instead of yourself. The whole point of the gym is to focus on yourself! If you prefer to go to the gym alone, try these two things: put in headphones and give yourself a time limit. Listening to music or podcasts will help you tune everyone else out and giving yourself a time limit will help keep you on track with your plan.
Or, go with a friend! That way you guys can just focus on each other and on your own workouts instead of everybody else around you. When I first started going to the gym at my university, I used this strategy and it helped enormously when I realized that no one cared what I do at the gym, and I shouldn’t care what anyone else does at the gym.
These three tips help so much with feeling confident the gym, but above all, don’t be worried about what others think. I know people say that all the time, but everyone is just there to get a workout. We’re all sweaty and red and tired, but we all do it because it feels so good and it’s good for us! And you know what? If you’re still not convinced you’re a gym person, workout somewhere else, like the beach!