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Gymtimidation, Schmymtimidation: Get over your fears and under the barbell

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Maybe you’re trying to switch up your routine. Or start working out. Or your home gym isn’t quite cutting it, because you’ve already started experiencing the amazeballs effects of resistance training, but you need more. More weight. More equipment. More variety. More support.

But…

You are struggling to take that last step to literally walk in the weight room at the gym and get. to. work.

I’ve got you! And I used to be you, in the same boat anyways. Even though I had been working out with weights already for years, and had even become a personal trainer guiding other people through workouts in the weight room, I only really became comfy in the gym in front of other people in the last couple of years. I had my form nailed down, knew how to create my own killer workouts, was quickly able to adapt to change should anyone be hogging any equipment I needed, but still. So trust me when I say, I get it.

No matter where you are at in your wellness journey, I am here to help you get over that fear-hump keeping you out of the weight room. That’s where the magic happens people, so that’s where you want to be. The sooner the better!

Let’s get to it.

Prepare

Interviews and exams are two stressful events I’m sure you can relate to. How does preparing for those things change how you feel? Preparation can kill, or at least tame, fear. This applies to stepping into the weight room as well!

Before you get started:

Get a gym membership (or a trial) if you haven’t already, and take a thorough tour of the weights area.

What kind of equipment is available to you? Where is everything located? If you do any exercises that require a lot of space, where can you go? You don’t need to memorize anything here, but getting familiar with the area will make you feel better than going blindly into an uncomfortable situation.

Have a workout plan!

I’ve certainly got you covered there, but you can also find lots of free options online or in various books. Make sure you meet yourself where you are. If you’re not comfortable with the moves in your program you either: a) find a program more suited to where you at now or b) hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to ensure you’re using proper form through various exercises. Many gyms offer deals to new members for this purpose – it’s in their best interest to keep you working out safely so you can keep coming back!

This is one of the times I will say you it would be a good idea to take it easy on yourself as far as the physical demands of your workouts go. If you feel more confident stepping into the weights area doing a workout you feel confident you can execute, that’s a great way to finally take the leap!

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Fear of judgment

People are at the gym to knock out their workouts not judge each other, but again, I’ve been there. I know how anxiety-inducing it can be to think about stepping outside your comfort zone in front of a ton of strangers. This is the primary reason people feel gymtimidation!

Here are some tips to help you deal:

Nobody knows where you are in your journey, nor do you know where they are in theirs. If you display body language that you’re confident, people will assume you know what you’re doing.

Invest in workout gear that makes you feel good about yourself!

Put on some headphones and a hat to block out reminders that you are not alone.

If you’re intimidated by anyone’s level of fitness, reframe that thought in your mind to think of them as inspirational! Take it a step further to ask people around you (who seem to know their stuff!) for help. You can make friends and learn a lot this way. Just don’t do this in the middle of a set 😉

Understand everyone screws up. If you make a mistake and have an unflattering moment in the gym, so what?!

Even I get grumbly at the gym when people don’t follow proper gym etiquette. Make sure you understand and adhere to at least the basics, because that is the one thing that matters that could give people fuel to be irritated about sharing their space with you: rerack your weights, wipe down equipment you use, don’t stand RIGHT in front of the dumbbell rack or park yourself anywhere you’d be blocking access to other equipment. It just basically comes down to respect – respect other people’s workouts and the space you’re in.

If it fits in your schedule, find out your gym’s off-peak hours and go when it’s less crowded. This tip also makes it a lot easier to perform your workout to plan without going over time.

Go with a buddy! Not only does having a gym partner make you more adherent, you are more likely to push yourself harder in their presence and get a better workout. They may know some things you don’t, and vice versa, but regardless, you can learn to dominate the weight room together.

Haters (maybe!) gonna hate. If you ever feel judged at the gym: First of all, you could just be assuming you were judged so why even let your mind go there? Second of all, are you really going to give a judgy jerk the power to keep you out of the weight room and ROB you of the endless health benefits of resistance training? I’m assuming you said heck to the no, so then that means it is pointless to even worry about it. The stress does absolutely NOTHING for you and is only depleting.

You do you.

This all just boils down to: you do you. Sorry, maybe I should have said that at the beginning so you didn’t have to read all the way through to the point? But knowing that isn’t enough. Implementing some of these tips should get you over the hurdle of getting started, because heck, diving into anything new can be at least a little scary.

One of the benefits of weight lifting is improved confidence. That combined with the fact that action erases fear, and you’ll have to stop yourself from strutting around the weight room in no time.

Once you need a NEW challenge, I encourage you to try something new in the weight room periodically to stretch your comfort zone until it gets comfy-cozy all over your gym.

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Do you have any other tips for newbies reading this blog? Questions? Drop them below!

 

Thanks for reading!
Caitie

P.S. You don’t necessarily NEED a gym membership. Here’s a post to help you determine the right choice for you.
 
P.P.S. If you know you want to strength train but feel clueless on where to start, read on… A few times a year I open up spots for my online group coaching program: Strength Training for Strong Women. Learn more here!

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