Written by Erin Lawinger. Media by Kelsey Neier.
For many, the hardest part of working out isn’t cardio exercises or lifting weights, but simply walking into the gym. In other words, the gym can be intimidating.
Open spaces, confusing machinery, salespeople, and longtime exercisers can make a gym seem like a scary place. For someone who wants to get into shape but would rather do it in a more private setting, a gym with equipment lined up for all to see may be daunting. Treadmills, ellipticals, and weight machines can be confusing, and the fear of looking stupid creeps in. Building up the courage to join a gym and then being confronted by an aggressive salesperson can deter someone especially if they’re shy. If these examples aren’t intimidating enough, seeing longtime exercisers can make one feel out of place. Beginners often forget that the regulars were once newbies as well.
Whether one is a regular or beginner, everyone is at the gym for the same reason. It ultimately comes down to obtaining a healthy lifestyle. So, here are five tips for avoiding gym intimidation.
1. Avoid peak hours
Gyms are usually ghost towns during the afternoon and after 8pm. Many people try to work out in the early morning before work or around dinnertime after work. If it’s possible to work around these times, one can escape getting in the way of other exercisers and focus on themselves.
2. Plan ahead
Have a game plan before walking into the gym. Having a plan allows for the avoidance of aimless wandering, so one can go directly to the machines.
3. Research online
Conducting research online assures a beginner on what and how to do certain exercises without causing injury. It may also help with comprehending how particular machines function. YouTube tutorials demonstrate exactly how a machine is supposed to be used.
4. Bring a friend
By bringing a friend, one can stay motivated. Doing cardio or lifting weights together can be encouraging. It is an easy way to alleviate discomfort.
5. Be confident
Confidence is key walking into a gym. The most important thing to realize is that most people are focused on their own routines and not on what others are doing. So as long as it looks like one knows what he or she is doing, they’re set.
The gym doesn’t have to be intimidating. Everyone is ultimately there for the same reason. Even regulars were once beginners, and the first step to conquering gym intimidation is to start.