“I’m too scared to join.”
“I fear the gym.”
“I can’t open a membership because I don’t look good enough.”
Getting to the gym can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to start and when you’re feeling not so confident about yourself. It can feel scary when you enter a gym with the intentions to sign up and the story concludes in you walking out because a few people there were looking more fit than you and scared you off. I get it! But you have to remember that the whole point of joining a gym is to get you closer to your goals, whether it’s to be healthy or to look like the next fitness model in the magazine. Don’t be intimidated because your personal progress should be above everything!
1) Do your research.
When you go through the process of beginning to search for a gym to open a membership, make sure that the gym has all the right qualities that will aid you and your fitness goals.
For example a few things to consider:
Environment: Do you feel comfortable? Is it a gym you can see yourself so thrilled to go to that waking up
won’t be so challenging? Is it clean? How do you feel when you’re there? How do you like the atmosphere?
These are a few very important questions to ask yourself. You DO NOT want to make the mistake of opening up a gym membership and feeling like you it isn’t for you mid way through. You will then have to go through the torture of losing your hard earned money for canceling the membership. Cancellation of memberships break the contract which means you have to pay a cancellation fee ….which simply sucks. So before anything, make sure you are comfortable with the environment.
**Short story time: I once got the “lunk alarm” pressed on me. I think the majority you know what gym I’m talking about. I then cancelled my membership because for one, I’m a small girl deadlifting 180 lbs, i’m sorry it was so hard for me to stay quiet. What do you want me to do? Squeal like a mouse? Anyways, I cancelled the membership and had to pay a fee for doing so. Lesson learned? Oh yes. And the lessons get passed on to you!
Amentities: Equipment, personal trainer, classes, sauna.
What are your fitness goals? Does the gym have essential equipment available for you to reach your goals? Is the equipment outdated? Are you looking to just live lean and shed some weight using cardio machines? Or is it also important that your gym has a squatting rack so you can build a more tone looking body?
When I signed up for a gym membership, I made sure that the gym had a squatting rack. I refuse to use a smith machine to squat and risk injury to my body later on down the road. Find what your fitness goals are and make sure the gym has the equipment that need to aid you to reaching your goals.
Does the gym have a knowledgeable person trainer who knows science, form and your body well so they can guide you to where you need to be?
It’s so important to be a part of a gym where the employees know what they are doing! It’s critical when you start lifting to have someone who knows perfect formation so you can become knowledgeable in ways to prevent injury. It’s also important to have personal trainers who can assist you and spot you when you’re lifting heavy or performing new exercises that you are not used to.
Does the gym have classes available?
Variety is key when you’re leading a fit lifestyle. There should always be variety in the foods you eat to the exercises you perform. You DO NOT want to be doing the same things over and over again. This will cause exhaustion and a plateau in your progress because you’re not shocking your muscles for one and you WILL get bored for two. You need to have fun with it and taking classes like BodyPump and yoga can help you with that.
Does the gym have a sauna?
15 minutes in the sauna after a workout can help to revive your strained muscles and keep you from feeling sore.
Are you swimmer? Are you a basketball player?
Maybe if you like to swim then find a membership where a pool is available. If you like to play basketball, find a membership at a gym with a basketball court.
It all boils down to YOUR needs. Find your needs and align the checklist to see if the gym you want to join can match up to that. If not, look elsewhere. But comfortability with a gym is key! Once you find a gym that you are comfortable with, you are less likely to feel afraid of it.
Once you figure out what gym works for you start devising a workout plan. Do your research on websites like Bodybuilding.com or even YouTube Channels like ScottHermanFitness where there are tons and tons of videos as well as information to help you learn perfect form. Write down the exercises that you’d like to perform. Let’s say you made your workout schedule based on a split body part routine, so Monday you’re doing shoulders. Research specific exercises for your shoulders. Write them down, practice the form without the equipment and then bring them into the gym with you! Now you know what the machines look like, you know how to perform the exercises and you have no reason to be afraid.
3) Be Confident.
Be confident when walking in the door. Do NOT think that because you are a girl that you’re secluded to the cardio section. Do NOT let men ferociously curling 75 lb dumbbells intimidate you! Go directly to the equipment that you researched and start performing your exercises. Remember that you’re going to the gym and getting fit for you not anybody else. So being intimidated by people who may look more fit than you will only hold you back. Be confident.
4) Blast up the music.
Before you head into the gym, turn on mobile device or music player, put on your headphones and blast it up to a hard core song. This will give you more confidence and concentration on what you came to the gym for to begin with. It will also keep you from distractions and allow you to be solely focused on YOU. Utilize your phone. Use amazing music apps like Tunigo where there are workout playlists already made for you. I personally like the Power Workout playlist when I’m lifting my weights. Music like this keeps me aligned with my fitness goals and helps me concentrate on completing my workout efficiently.
5) Fake It Til You Make it.
My final point is for you to realize that your world is based off of the realities that you create in your head. IT’S ALL A MENTAL GAME. You feel intimidated by fit, professional looking athletes, and you think they’re judging you but really they’re way to focused on working with themselves to even stare around the room. Pretend that you’re a fitness model and use that pride to get you to where you need to be. Don’t dwell on other peoples appearances because you will get caught up and lose the motivation to continue.
It’s also important to keep in mind that 90% of the fit looking people you see in the gym were once just like you.
I know sometimes when you’re new to the gym that it can be an overwhelming experience and as a result, it has been keeping you from wanting to go at all. But once you do your research and find the gym that suits your needs, once you learn the exercises, once you find CONFiDENCE in yourself— I can assure you that you will walk in there like a bag of money.