5 Ways to Beat Gymtimidation

I can remember the first time I ever worked out at a commercial gym. The machines looked like space ships, there was grunting, everyone seemed to know exactly what they were doing (and had the biceps to show for it), and I felt like everyone was going to judge me if I did anything wrong (Spoiler alert: most of them don’t know what they’re doing either! 😉 ).

It was easy to fake gym confidence and just hop on the elliptical or treadmill. It’s hard to do cardio wrong. Lucky for me, those days were short lived. My boyfriend at the time took a weight lifting class and he really helped me find my gym-groove. He pieced together basic weight-lifting workouts I could do weekly. Soon after that, I was working at Equinox in Westwood, LA. At that point, I could put together a circuit and keep good exercise form (my dance background definitely helped with this). But, I was hungry for more. Any chance I could get, I would sweet talk a trainer into taking me through a workout. With some extra research on my part (my eyes were always glued to the latest Women’s Health or Shape magazine), I was able to confidently start piecing my own workouts together.

5 Ways to Beat Gymtimidation

As a trainer, and now in gym management as a Membership Advisor, I’m exposed to the many reasons people are afraid to join a gym or pick up a pair of weights. I get it! Going to the weight section of the gym can feel like the first day of high school. It’s frickin’ nerve-racking!

Well, not anymore. I won’t let you miss out on all the amazing benefits of strength training (increased metabolism and fat burn, improved bone density and posture, sexy, curvy muscles, and reduced chronic pain, to name a few) just because a stupid voice inside your head says you can’t do it! Because guess what, chica, you absolutely can! Today is the day you let go of your gymtimidation and start looking and feeling your best.

Here are my 5 Top Tips for Beating Gymtimidation:

5 Ways to Beat Gymtimidation

1. Set up your free assessment with a personal trainer.

Most gyms offer a complimentary introductory assessment with a personal trainer. This is a perfect opportunity to meet with a certified professional who can orient you to the machines that will help you reach your individual goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! This is an opportunity to soak up as much information as you can. Ask about the number of sets and reps you should do, how frequently you should train, amount of weight you should lift, and, most importantly, ask them to help you find proper form!

2. Get a buddy.

If you’re nervous to use new equipment by yourself, grab a friend! Having a workout buddy gives you moral support, another set of eyes, inspiration, and makes working out more fun. Don’t have a fit friend? Make some! You’d be surprised how many people in the gym are just hoping to find someone to sweat with. Group exercise classes are a great place to make new gym friends and also learn some new, guided exercises!

3. Look the part.

They say dress for the job you want, not the job you have. You may be a gym newbie, but looking like a pro can help you start to feel like one. Treat yourself to some new workout garb that makes you excited to go to the gym. I love a good pair of high-waisted spandex leggings, a cute tank, and some bright shoes. It’s simple, comfortable, functional, and totally flattering. Suit up!

4. Do your research.

You may not have trainer friends like I did, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have access to information! That’s one of the reasons why I created this blog. I think reliable information about fitness and health should be on hand for everyone! You can find a lot of simple and effective workouts and fitness tips here at Life in Spandex. I also put more tidbits on my social channels – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Go follow me to stay up to date! Have a question, but can’t find it? Ask me :). Either leave a comment on one of my social profiles, in the comment box on this blog post, or email me at lifeinspandex10@gmail.com. I am always happy to help!

5. Invest in a coach.

A lot of people see investing in a personal trainer or fitness coach as a luxury. However, if you’re very new to exercise, are uncoordinated, or have a history of injuries or any other health issues, it’s a necessity. My number one rule to fitness is, “Don’t get injured” (learned from my dad’s wisdom). The chances of injury are heightened if you have no experience weight lifting. I always recommend that my clients see me at least two to four times per week for the first four weeks until I can gauge their technique and progress. If they are dedicated and able, they can try going down to once a week after that and do assigned workouts on their own the other one to three days. This ensures that exercise progressions can be accurately adapted and their form is safe enough to reduce chance of injury. Investing in a professional will help keep you accountable, teach you proper form, and see result quicker!

So tell me, are you avoiding joining a gym or picking up a set of weights because of gymtimidation? Or, how have you gotten past it? Spill the details in the comment box below!

Health and happiness,


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Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
  1. I think it is a good idea to get an orientation session, if offered, when you first join a new gym. I also like to attend a variety of classes and visit at different times of the day/week to get a good feel for the place. I also like to check on their camera/electronics/privacy policies cause this is important to me.

    1. All such good advice Elle!

  2. I must admit gymtimidation is part of the reason I hate gyms. But I have to admit there are advantages to going there. I like your suggestions, though. I might try them. Maybe 😉

    1. Yes do it!!! Don’t let fear get in the way xoxo

  3. This is so me. I workout consistently at home. But when my husband wanted me to do cross fit with him I nearly made myself sick over it. So intimidated.

    1. Nooo Jodi you should do it!!! Anyone who would judge you is an idiot.

  4. I definitely get gymtimidation (love that term haha) and tend to stick to to the weight machines. These are great tips that I can apply. Thanks!

    1. Girl you best snap out of it! 😉 haha you’re welcome xo

  5. Weight training is so important. And I do remember being confused by the different machines so it was nice when I actually got a trainer to show me how everything worked and a good starting weight for each machine.

    1. Trainers are the best 😉

  6. I needed this post right now- I have been slacking. I love the “dress the part tip” as well as bring a buddy. Both really help. <3

    1. Thanks Julie!! Today’s as good as any to get back on it right??

  7. What always got me was they try to make you run before you can jog, metaphorically. They refused to keep in mind that just because someone isn’t morbidly obese doesn’t mean they can run at 5 mph right off the bat.

  8. Really sad when those fit, slim and trim people give us people who need to lose some weight the oh my gosh what are you doing here look. Makes a person feel real good about trying to work out.

    1. I’m so sorry you’ve experienced that! That makes me so angry. Everyone’s fitness journey has to start somewhere. We should be supporting each other along the way

  9. Great tips! No matter how many times I go, I always get gymtimidation! Thanks for sharing, hopefully it helps 🙂

    1. I hope it helps too, Victoria!!! Just remember, most everyone’s in the same boat. Xoxo

  10. You are the best trainer that I have ever worked with! I loved the workouts you created for me, I just lack the motivation to go to the gym. Even though I was feeling pretty comfortable, for some reason I’m still intimidated going alone. Hope to get inspired by your blog and Facebook! Lynn

    1. Thank you Lynn! I miss you! Texting you back now 🙂

  11. Omg I really needed these tips. I’ve shyed away from the gym all year long. It’s really time to get back into the game. Thanks for sharing! xo, sharon


    1. You’re so welcome Sharon!! I’m so happy I could inspire you to give it a shot. Let me know if I can help with anything else 🙂

  12. Setting up an assessment is always a great idea. Taking group ex classes also helps to feel more comfortable and workout with friends. Great tips.

    1. Thank you Deborah! I love group exercise. It’s so much fun to have the energy of the classroom help motivate!

  13. Great tips! I think the hardest is being scared you are doing the lifts wrong. I get so nervous on my deadlifts and don’t want to look like a total newb. Sometimes the gym makes me sooo vain. You are killing it as usual <3

    1. I still get nervous when I’m trying something new too! You just gotta remember there’s only one way to get better… Practice! Thanks girl, you’re the best xo

  14. I go with my husband! he knows how to use the machines and he helps make sure I am doing the right workouts for my body. I love it!

    1. You’re so lucky to have a good workout partner like him!! #swolemates haha

  15. Totally intimidated! Joined a new gym 2 weeks ago and hired a trainer to set up a circuit for me on the free weights, but haven’t gone to any classes yet!! Going to try to get over the hump and go to one yoga and one spin this week. Wish me luck!!

    1. Girl you got this!!! Practice makes progress so be patient with yourself. Happy to hear you hired a trainer! Xoxo

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