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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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,