A few years ago i wasn't a gym go-er, in fact i probably only attended a few times a month. Yes i've always been very active but the gym wasn't my go-to choice to fill my exercise kicks, instead you would find me in the dance studio. Only in the last few years has my interest in the gym grown, hand in hand with the knowledge i have about it. So here i talk from experience when i say, when you don't know what you're doing, the gym can be a very scary and intimidating place. But why? Well often we are greeted by...
- Machines that look scary and robotic, that we have no idea how to use and look like they could crush us if not used properly.
- Intimidatingly big muscles.
- Overcrowding and mostly male population.
- People that look like they know exactly what they're doing.
- More likely than not, bad music.
There is no wonder why if you're new to the whole gym thing, you feel completely and utterly useless, not only embarrassed that people will be looking at you and judging but mostly just anxious at the thought of doing something wrong and looking like an idiot. You are not alone, odds are there are probably a lot of people (actually some of those you put in the-'People that look like they know exactly what they're doing" proportion) that actually just like you, don't really know what they're doing or haven't ever been shown what to do or how to do something but are just doing it anyway. I will be honest and say before i started my Personal Training course, when entering the gym i would walk straight over to the treadmill, have a steady 15 minute run, maybe a quick bike ride and then proceed to the floor area where i would do some bodyweight core exercises, all of which would require no equipment. The reason for this is because i literally had no idea how to use any of the equipment, resistance machines or more technical cardiovascular machines, so sticking to what i knew was a safer option. If you are having the same problems, hopefully the following 5 steps will help you finally get over your gym fear.
- Make use of your gym induction. As a newbie you should be entitled to a gym induction, this is where you will be shown around the gym by a gym instructor, he/she will help you get to grips with how machines work, introduce you to equipment and help you understand a little more what things do.
- Ask questions. There is always going to be at least one gym instructor on the gym floor at one time, they are there to help you with any questions you may have, as well as helping you with things like your posture and form. But unless you ask, they won't know you need help and will more than not leave you to it. As well as gym instructors there is also the general public, if you think someone may be able to help you then ask them, the ego boost will make their day.
- Know the best times to go. If you are easily embarrassed and prefer to have less of an audience when you're working out then knowing the right times to go is key. Going when the gym is quieter will keep your anxiety levels low and give you space to breath and be comfortable in your routine, giving you the confidence to 'do your thing'.
- Do some research. If you really do have no idea what you're doing, then let me introduce you to something called YouTube. If you know what you want to achieve but don't know how to do it, then chances are YouTube will have the answer along with a handy little video showing you a step by step guide to perfection. Do your research and find out the best exercises to achieve the perfect bottom or abs and know what you're doing before you even step foot into the gym, allowing your mind to have a clear focal point. Write down your plan and go for it.
- Train with a friend. Training alone can be boring especially when you're completely winging it and your training routine is pretty much the same every time you go. Training with a friend however can bring something completely new to the table, for one they may not have your fears and two they probably have knowledge on areas you don't. Sharing ideas, workouts, exercises and new ways of training can quickly boost your confidence and repertoire.
These 5 points are ones that have helped me personally during my exercise journey and ones that i will continue to make as i progress and learn. Even as a qualified personal trainer i still learn new things all the time and have questions i don't know answers to.
There is no time like the present and starting is the hardest part, keep in mind that you have to start somewhere and the more you go and find your routine the more confident you will feel.
If you have a question or would like my advise on anything to do or not to do with this post please don't hesitate to get in touch.
GO FOR IT!