There is nothing more intimidating than walking into the gym for the first time, especially if you have never been there before. Yes, you want the benefits of working out, but stepping foot into the gym for the first time kind of feels like you’re a new kid in school and you’ve got head gear and acne. It feels like everyone is staring at you and you just want to find somewhere where you can blend into the background so no one will notice you. Maybe you’ve already stepped foot into a gym before and this is exactly how it felt, if so, these tips are meant to be your total survival guide.
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Most gyms will offer you a free tour before you join or when you first enroll. Even though you might be hyped up with anxiety and excitement, take the time to locate your safe zones.
Back room with low traffic = safe zone.
Cardio equipment in the corner with a TV = safe zone.
Pre-plan in your head where you can ease your way into working out. Don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed by the amount of options or the sweaty dudes grunting in the free weights section.
Another good idea would be to slowly observe the gym equipment. You can do this ahead of time at home by checking out a fitness app that walks you through how to use the machines, or by casually observing your pro-gym goers as they use the machine.
Doing this can help you see how to use certain machines so you can build up your confidence instead of fumbling around trying to figure it out.
If you already have a friend that you know is an avid gym goer, see if you can sign them on as a buddy for your first few days at the gym. Maybe treat them to coffee afterwards.
Going to the gym with a friend can make it so much easier, but it’s also difficult to coordinate schedules and to be honest, sometimes working out with another person can take you off your own rhythm.
Having a friend help ease you into your new gym routine can be super beneficial to building your confidence so you can sweat on your own terms.
You’ll often find that there are lower traffic times to go to the gym. Usually before lunch (10-noon) and after lunch (1-3) are some of the best times to sneak in a workout without having to share equipment with a ton of other sweaty people.
This isn’t an option for everyone, but if it is, definitely take advantage of it if workout out around a ton of pro-gym goers makes you a little bit more nervous.
Having a pre-planned idea of what you are going to do at the gym before you even go can give you so much peace of mind. There are two genius ways to do this:
The SWEAT app is great because you can select from a variety of trainers so you get workouts that actually fit your needs and fitness preferences.
You can choose from things like yoga, HIIT, weights, and pilates. (There are even at-home workouts if you can’t make it to the gym!)
A lot of times if you find a trainer on Instagram, they will share sneak peeks of their workouts with you. Like this Booty Blaster from Jen Heward.
When you pre-plan your workout you can go into the gym with a little more confidence and can plan out what you’ll need in your head.
One of the most common mistakes that women make when they are going to the gym for the first time is that they stick to the treadmill.
First of all, the treadmill will not help you lose weight or tone up as quickly as the weights will. Second of all, does anyone actually like cardio?
You are allowed to enjoy yourself at the gym, it doesn’t have to be torture (contrary to popular belief).
Here is an example:
Remember, you do not have to be at the gym every day to be successful and you don’t have to be burned out and exhausted either.
Like we said, if you want to build your confidence it’s a good idea to have a buddy. When you can’t get a friend to help you out, having a pre-planned workout by a professional can be so helpful!
Yes, most gyms allow you to work one on one with a trainer, but let’s face it, that’s not always in everyone’s comfort zone or budget!
Something a lot of people tend to allow themselves to believe is that if you are going to workout you need to sweat, get red in the face and bring yourself to the brink of death.
If you are brand new to working out, be patient with yourself. Just getting in the habit of walking through the door every day (or every other day) is a HUGE feat.
Instead of putting the pressure on yourself to be a pro the second you step foot in the door, make a decision to spend 10 minutes on the treadmill and 10 minutes with light free weights. Then, go home.
Give yourself time to adapt and change so you don’t burn out and quit!
If no one has told you yet, the scale is the devil and will never actually measure your success or weight loss more accurately than HOW YOU FEEL IN YOUR OWN SKIN.
Do not let a number on a scale (or anything outside yourself) dictate how good you are allowed to feel about yourself on a day to day basis. That is a losing game.
It’s also important to remember that if you are starting a new goal, like being an avid gym goer, the best way to ensure your success is to set your goals from the inside out.
This is something James Clear talks about a lot in his book, Atomic Habits.
For example, if you say, “I am trying to lose weight.” You have set a surface goal for yourself.
When you are planning a goal from the inside you’ll say something like, “I go to the gym every other day,” or, “I’m a healthy person.”
By allowing yourself to identify with an entirely changed self, you are more likely to stick to your goal and enjoy doing it!