If you’re a newbie at the gym or are considering joining one, first let me say, DO IT! Secondly, there’s no doubt it can be pretty intimidating. Trust me, I’ve been there. Between all the complicated machines, bulked up grunters and heavy weights clunking around, it’s easy to feel anxious about going to the gym. Initially, I remember feeling like everyone was staring at me, judging me. Whether it was trying a weird exercise that didn’t quite work or just trying to figure out how to use a certain machine, I’ve felt foolish many times in the gym. Everyone does at first! But don’t worry, it won’t last…
Having gym jitters when just starting out is perfectly normal. However, I want to share a few tips with you that will make going to the gym less intimidating and more fun.
Plan your workout ahead of time. When I first started going to the gym I had no idea what I was doing. This is a normal phase to go through so don’t be discouraged if you feel this way. It’s all a learning process, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. I used to go to the gym and just bounce randomly from one machine to the next without any real goal. However, I’ve found it’s so much more effective to plan my workouts before I get there. I write down what I’m going to do in my iPhone notes. I get as specific as the number of reps and sets and if I’m afraid I might forget how to do something I’ll Google a picture of the exercise and save it to my camera roll so I can reference it in the gym. Planning out my workouts makes me feel so much more confident because I go into the gym knowing exactly what I’m going to do and I don’t waste time trying to think of what to do next. Once you get more familiar with different workouts you can start switching it up and won’t have to plan so precisely.
YouTube is your best friend. Since we’re on the topic of planning workouts, YouTube is an amazing place to start. Many of the workouts I do I have learned through watching YouTube videos. There’s a huge niche of fitness gurus that post weekly videos of their workouts and healthy recipes. Find a few that work for you and start getting comfortable doing different exercises. You can also just search different workouts on YouTube depending on what area of the body you want to focus on (i.e abs, back, legs, biceps). Over time I’ve found some people on YouTube with whom I share similar fitness goals. I’ve learned to use them as guides to become more confident in my own workouts.
Start out simple. When planning out your workouts, don’t overwhelm yourself. There are so many different fitness plans and exercises out there. Find a few that work for you and stick with those for several weeks. Once you get comfortable with those you can start to add some new exercises into your routine or try new workouts altogether. Don’t feel like you have to start out lifting ridiculously heavy amounts of weight or doing overly sophisticated moves. It’s better to get comfortable with the basics and then build onto that foundation with more challenging exercises.
Educate yourself. This is one of the most crucial tips when it comes to purposeful gym time and satisfying results. Take the time to do your research and learn which fitness routine will work for you. What are your fitness goals? Why are you pushing yourself to get to the gym? Are you trying to lose weight? Gain muscle? Tone up? Maintain your health? Learn about macros, how your body works, what nutrients you need, as well as how muscle growth and fat loss occurs. Everyone’s bodies are different and everyone’s goals will vary, so find what works for you. Just because a certain routine is working for someone else, doesn’t mean it will give you the same results. Once you establish your fitness goals, you can figure out how much you should be eating, how often you should be getting to the gym, and what types of exercises will be most effective. A website with great fitness information, workouts, and healthy recipes is bodybuilding.com. Check out katyhearnfit.com to use the macro calculator, which will help you figure out how much you should be eating and exercising.
Wear something that makes you feel good. I can’t stress how important this one is! If you don’t feel comfortable wearing tight leggings and crop tops, then don’t do it. If you feel more confident wearing makeup to the gym, then go for it. Your opinion is the only one that should matter. If I feel self conscious about what I’m wearing I know I won’t have a good workout. Take the time to find gym gear that makes you feel your best and your workout will be that much better.
Find a gym buddy. This is just a suggestion because I know some people, myself included, prefer to workout alone. There’s nothing better to me than hitting the gym, blasting my music and letting everything else drift away. I don’t want to talk to anyone or be bothered by anything during my gym time. However, for some people, especially if you’re starting out, it might be a good idea to grab a friend and workout together. You can learn with your friend and it’ll be easier to branch out into new exercises if they’re by your side. Having a gym buddy can be motivating and can make those inevitable embarrassing moments much easier to laugh about, which leads me to my next tip…
Learn to laugh it off. Understand that every single person in the gym has felt foolish and embarrassed at one time or another. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you went to the gym knowing every single thing right away that would get pretty boring anyways. Half of the time no one is paying attention to what others are doing because they’re focused on their own workout. If something humiliating does happen, it’s okay, I promise! Learn to make a joke about it and move on. Don’t let your fear of being embarrassed hold you back from trying new exercises and pushing yourself.
Pick a gym that feels right. Lastly, find a gym that works for you. Take the time to tour gyms in your area so you can weigh (hehe) different options. There aren’t many choices where I live, but I have tried a few different gyms before sticking with my current one. Some things I considered when finding a gym was that it would need to have a variety of equipment, friendly staff, and a clean environment. I also love my gym because it’s never crazy busy, which gives me access to all of the equipment 90% of the time. The most important thing is finding somewhere that makes you excited to workout. My gym feels like a second home, partly because I’m there so often, but mainly because I feel comfortable there and you shouldn’t settle for anything less! Go with your intuition because if you don’t feel good touring a gym, I can promise you won’t feel good working out there.
Happy gym hunting and may all your fitness goals come true!