Exercising is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s important to take the time during the day to get enough exercise. A very easy way of doing this is by going to the gym for just half an hour and getting some exercise in. But, going to the gym for the first time can be daunting and many people give up before they even go for the first time, out of fear and anxiety of going to a place where everyone looks like they know exactly what they’re doing. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and here are some ways that you can overcome that anxiety and start working towards a stronger and healthier you.
Get friendly with the staff
People who work at the gym, be it receptionists or trainers, see new people coming in frightened every day. Remember that it’s in their interests to keep you coming, and the only way to do that is to make sure that you are comfortable and feel good while you’re there. When you go in for the first time, tell them that you’re a bit nervous and ask them to give you a tour of the gym. You’ll feel much better once you know where everything is and what the unwritten rules are. They might also introduce you to some of the regulars if they are there, which will help you feel more comfortable when you go the next time and see the same faces who know who you are.
Don’t go alone
No task ever seems as daunting once you’re not doing it alone. Find a friend or family member who is willing to go with you to the gym. Even if their plan isn’t to stay there for long, having someone with you for the first few workouts until you get the hang of things will mean a lot. If they don’t have any gym experience, you’ll go through the process of learning together, and if they are regular gym rats, they will be able to show you around and tell you how everything works.
Look the part
Everyone knows that you don’t have to have special clothing for the gym. You can exercise in literally anything appropriate, but it feels better to go there looking like you belong and you know what you’re doing. You don’t want to splurge on a whole closet before you know what you’re going to be focusing on during your workouts, but getting some basic pieces like a sports bra and trustworthy women’s gym tights will be useful no matter what you decide to do.
Join a group
As we said, everything is easier when you’re not doing alone, but it gets even simpler if it’s a whole group going through it together. Plenty of gyms offer a wide variety of group classes, often without added cost. Find one you like and start attending. The commitment to the group will keep you coming back, and making friends there will make it easier to get to know the gym as much more than just the place where you go to work out. If you haven’t been exercising for a while, or if you’re unfamiliar with that particular exercise, find a beginner’s group, which will also have more people who are probably just as clueless as you are about the gym life.
Get over yourself
The nerves we feel are all in our head, and by worrying about it more and psyching yourself out, you won’t get anywhere. Firstly, you will want to make sure your motivation never falls flat. Think about why you want to go to the gym (and keep in mind that people who go to get healthier and stronger rather than to look good usually get better results) and make an inspiration board that will stand somewhere where you can see it often. Next, if you’re in a habit of talking yourself out of going to the gym, prepare your gear the night before and go to the gym early in the morning before you even have the time to think about it. Even better, meet up with someone there, so that you can’t give yourself excuses not to go. Lastly, make sure you are doing the exercise you enjoy. Working out releases dopamine just like food, and when you become aware of that and realize that it’s something that makes you happy, you will have a much easier time going.
Gym anxiety will only be there for a little while in the beginning, and you should keep in mind that the pros you see there in the gym once felt the same way. Use it as inspiration to push yourself forward and keep imagining how great it’s going to be once the gym becomes a place you feel comfortable in.