How To: Feeling Less Intimidated In The Gym

The truth is that the gym can be an alien and intensely intimidating environment, especially for somebody that has never been before. I sometimes still have days where I get a little intimidated when working out and I have been going regularly for well over a year now! One of the main reasons that people seem to put off going to the gym is down to a lack of self confidence and feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive of putting themselves in an awkward situation and also feeling like all eyes are on you. Do not fear, I am here to share a few hints and tips from my past experience to help you feel a lot more relaxed and comfortable when working out in the gym:

Stop comparing your beginning to someone else's end

When you first start going to the gym, its easy to slip into that 'compare yourself to everyone that is better than you' frame of mind which can be a little off putting, especially when you are not exactly confident about your own appearance of body shape. Its important to remember that everyone has to start off somewhere, there is no way that you are going to be the fittest or strongest, or have the best body to begin with, but there is no reason why you cant use everyone else's progress as your motivation and inspiration.

Try not to worry about what other people think

This one is a big factor of intimidation in my opinion, as a lot of people are put off by the fact that other people will be there and will be able to see you. Its important to remember that people don't specifically go to the gym just to judge and mock other people. Chances are that everyone will be so focused on their own workout (probably trying to show off) and worrying about their own insecurities or the way that they look, that they will be too busy to even notice you. Sometimes pretending you know what you are doing, walking around with your shoulders back and head held high can fool yourself (and everybody else) into thinking you have a little more confidence, try it out!

Don't give up

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is giving up because they don't see a spontaneous transformation in their appearance or fitness, or they don't give themselves enough time to adjust to the atmosphere of the gym. It took me a while to see any changes at all in myself and it really makes you want to give up when you're putting in all this effort and not seeing any positive results from all of your hard work. You will start to gain muscle and improve your fitness gradually at first and then eventually all at once, stick at it and I guarantee that once you start to see changes in your body, your motivation to work out and confidence in your body will start to flourish.

Create a soundtrack

Music is always a huge motivation and confidence boost in pretty much any situation, including the gym! Most gyms will usually have music playing but its usually some pretty awful house music in my gym so I tend to take along my ipod and a pair of comfortable headphones to allow me to get lost in my favourite songs, which is really useful for helping you to zone out into your own little world as you work out, preventing you from getting stressed out about everything happening around you. An upbeat playlist can also help to put a spring in your step and improve your mood which is proven to inspire you into an improved performance in the gym too, so its pretty much a win win situation as far as music goes.

Plan ahead

Intimidating and stressful situations can sometimes lead to a brain overload, leaving you forgetting what you are doing, especially if you pretty much have the memory span of a goldfish to begin with *cough*. Be sure to plan the order of your workout, which pieces of equipment you need to use, which weights or intensity levels you are going to try and how many sets or repetitions of each exercise that you are going to attempt. Take a notebook or sheet of paper with it written down if you need to, and always have a back up plan or alternative exercise in mind just in case somebody else is using the piece of equipment that you need, saves you from standing around worrying like a lemon.

Choose a quieter time to work out

Sometimes it just really helps if you feel less like a little sardine packed into a small area of the gym with all eyes on you, so pick a less busy time to use the gym if you need to. I'm sure that the people at reception would be able to tell you when the best times to avoid the rush are, but usually lunchtime and early evening tend to be the times to avoid.

Clothing is key

I see so many people in the gym making the mistake of wearing uncomfortable or baggy clothing which is constantly distracting them from their workout. It can be really tempting to wear baggy clothing that hides your figure but if you have to constantly readjust or worry about what you are wearing then it is going to take away your focus from the workout. Make sure you always wear an outfit that you feel comfortable in, something tight or loose fitting, but definitely not too baggy or itchy. Buying a new gym outfit that makes you feel secure and good looking can boost your confidence by huge amounts!

One final point is to just go out there and try to enjoy yourself, life is too short to constantly worry about what other people think of you, I know that I always say this but I think that it is so important to believe in yourself, you can do anything that you put your mind to!

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