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Who me, go to the gym? Eeeeek, that’s scary!

the_new_gym_by_bbbelly-d5biqsbDoes the thought of going to the gym fill you with dread? Think it’s just a buncha guys who look like this?

Starting a gym routine can feel like you’re the new kid at school. Everybody’s looking at you. You don’t know where to sit at lunch. Your outfit seems hopelessly uncool.

It’s natural to feel awkward or intimidated. Nearly everybody does in the beginning.

Here are three recurrent concerns of “gym newbies” and how to overcome them:

“Everybody’s looking at me.”
This is probably the number one objection I hear about going to the gym. You know you need to exercise, but you’re uncomfortable with your body. You’re scared that people will be watching you … judging you. But here’s the thing: take a look around and you’ll notice that most people are just doing their own thing. They’re busy with their workout and all the other things that occupy their thoughts. They’re probably not giving much thought to you or what you look like. And if they are well, as they say, “that says more about them than it does about you.” Right?

“I don’t know what I am doing.”
This is the second most common concern I hear from gym newbies. A few tips:

  • The first time you go visit the gym, go in your regular clothes so that you are clearly there just to check it out – no expectations.
  • Take a tour. Check out the equipment, get your bearings. It’s worth 30 minutes to take a guided tour of the facility and get a rundown of the classes offered. Many gyms also offer a free consultation during which you’ll learn how to use the machines. You may even get an initial health assessment and goal setting, but bear in mind that the usefulness of this information is determined by the competence of the person giving it. Translation: they’re not doctors so don’t take their evaluation as such.
  • Use the buddy system. If you know someone who goes to the gym regularly, ask him or her if you can tag along when they have a day to explain things to you. Most people will be ecstatic that you want to get started and, frankly, flattered you asked for their help.
  • Hire a trainer. Even just for a few sessions. You’ll learn proper form and gain confidence.

“I feel like I am walking in late to the party.”
This was one of Marilyn’s scary thoughts, and she’s not the first person I’ve heard express it. Even I’ve felt this way when joining a new gym after moving to a new city, and I’m a personal trainer! So what do you do? Here’s the way I see it: if you walk in and it seems like people feel like they belong, then you’ve chosen a good gym! When members feel a sense of belonging you can bet they’re happy and they’re gonna stick with their workout routine. Maybe instead of viewing this as a threat (“I don’t belong here”), view it as a challenge (“I can’t wait till I belong here!”). Because if your gym is that kind of place, then you will soon find a place there, too.

These are just a few of the scary thoughts people have about joining the gym. If they’re yours, I hope you found the advice helpful. If you have others, post them in the comments below and we’ll help you tackle them!

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