Between the high-tech machines, mirrors, and weights, the gym can feel like an overwhelming place. I remember my first time in the gym. I walked in and immediately felt out of place. I was confused about the machines and felt like people were staring at me. It wasn’t long before I left.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you’re not alone! And the great news is there are several strategies that can help you prepare and reduce gym-related anxiety. Here are some of my favorites:
- Choose the right gym: Tour different gyms in your area to find the one you feel the most comfortable in. Some things to consider when choosing a gym include location, size, and services offered.
- Once you choose your gym, familiarize yourself with it. Ask one of the staff members to show you around so you know where everything is, who can ask questions, etc.
- Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-oriented) Setting smaller, attainable goals that you know you can follow-through will help to increase confidence. Gradually make each successive goal more challenging. Starting off with goals that we can’t realistically achieve will only lead us to feel worse and likely quit trying.
- Plan your workout ahead of time! Make sure you plan workouts that are appropriate for your fitness level. Planning will allow you to focus your time and get the most out of your time at the gym.
- Attend group classes. Try going with a friend or sign up for personal training sessions. Being there with others will help you not feel alone, plus with the classes and training sessions, your workout is already planned for you!
- Create music playlists with your favorite tunes to help you get energized!
Remember that everyone is there to improve how they look and feel; no matter what their starting point or current fitness level. If you’re still not ready to go to the gym, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways that you can be active. Pick up an active hobby, do at-home workout videos, or exercise outside. Any small steps in the direction of fitness can only serve to benefit you!