Stepping your foot into a gym for the first time can be intimidating for a lot of people. I mean, hell, it can be a pretty daunting experience the 4th, 5th, and 12th time too. I have a membership at two gyms, a small one and a larger one, and I still get anxious using the weights and machines at the larger gym. I am shy and I have my own insecurities, but the only way to put those to bed are to suck it up and work out anyway. When I joined a gym for the first time 6 years ago, I felt like a baby deer trying to take its first steps. I walked in clueless and everyone else seemed to know exactly what they were doing. But the reality is, they were all first-timers at one point, and they got to where they are now by taking that first step. You can too! The tips below helped me overcome my initial fear and still help me on days where I’m just feeling off.
Wear a Baseball Cap
Baseball caps are lifesavers for days you need to run to the grocery store but your hair is a mess and you don’t have time to put on makeup, right? So you throw on the cap hoping it will conceal your identity. The same concept goes for the gym. And bonus, it keeps the hair and sweat off your face.
You don’t need to wear skin-tight compression shorts to work out. If you feel uncomfortable in a pair of shorts, wear capris or even cropped sweatpants for a looser fit. A pair of basketball shorts are a good option too. When I first started going to the gym I wanted to look good so I would spend a stupid amount of money on cute workout clothes and pile on makeup. It may sound ridiculous to me now, but it’s what got me started then so if that’s what will help boost your confidence, then go for it. But keep in mind, if someone is paying enough attention to you to notice the way you look, they aren’t working out hard enough. Since I know you are, you won’t notice them, so you win anyway ????
Don’t Forget Headphones
Listening to music helps you focus on you and not the distractions around you. Plus, it can deter people from coming up to you to small talk and if you’re socially awkward like me, that’s a huge plus!
Go With a Friend
Trying something new can be a little less uncomfortable when you have someone doing it with you. You can spot each other to make sure using the machines correctly and working out with great form. Not to mention, you’ll also have an accountability partner.
My biggest mistake when I first started working out was going to the gym without a plan. I would walk in, put my bag away, hop on the treadmill, and then wander around trying to decide what to do next. I would get so overwhelmed, I would say screw it, and leave. Don’t do that! If you can’t afford to purchase a training plan from a Certified Personal Trainer, there are plenty of great ones from bodybuilding.com. If you don’t know what the workouts are or how to do them, they have a fantastic video resource demonstrating how to do everything. The plans even link to the video of the specific workout. I used this SO many times until I became knowledgeable and comfortable enough to form my own plans.
If you need a starting point, here are my favorite plans:
- The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner’s Guide to Fitness
- Jamie Eason Post-Pregnancy Trainer (this plan is great even if you aren’t post-pregnancy and want something geared toward a beginner)
- Erin Stern’s EliteBody 4-Week Fitness Trainer
Most importantly, try not to compare your beginning to another person’s “during.” We all have to start somewhere. If you keep at it and put in the work, the results you see mentally and physically will give you the confidence you need to push harder and before you know it, you won’t be the “newbie” anymore.