We all know that going to the gym on a regular basis is a part of a healthy lifestyle, but for some of us that is easier said than done. If you’re like me, you may have packed on a few kilos (or even stone) over the past years, and you probably feel like you’ll be out of place in the weight room.
After all, with all of those big bodybuilder types around, you might think that they are judging you, or that you simply don’t stack up.
After a long hiatus, when I started going back to the gym, I felt the same way. I was worried that I would look like a wimp when I showed up and started lifting what I was sure was a laughably small amount of weight. It took me a long time to get over these worries, but once I did I was able to smash my fitness goals.
The first thing you need to do? Get over this fear.
Sure, while a small minority of your fellow gym goers might be nosy or feel a sense of self-satisfaction when they see someone just starting out, most people just don’t care. Just like you’re not going to the gym to check out the other fitness buffs, they really aren’t interested in what you’re doing either.
The realisation that no one is scrutinising you should help you feel a lot more at ease, but if you want even more advice, check out these tips below. You’ll feel like the gym is your second home in no time at all – and you can get down to work.
Book a few sessions with a personal trainer
It’s completely normal to feel like a fish out of water when you first start going to the gym. You don’t know how to use the machines, the weights seem intimidating, and you are unfamiliar with the rules. It can seem easier just to stick with the treadmill and hope for the best. That is why a session with a personal trainer can be such a great idea. Not only will they analyse your specific needs and create a personalised fitness plan for you, they will show you the ropes and give you the full rundown of the facility.
Psych yourself up with some motivational music
Nothing can pump you up and get you psyched up for the gym like a dose of your favourite music. By choosing tunes that give you a boost of energy, you can overcome your worries about the gym and get down to the business of getting fit and healthy. And don't forget your headphones!
Head to the gym when it is less busy
Remember – the gym is likely to be at its busiest immediately before and after normal working hours, and you might even have to queue up for the machines and weights that you want to use. If you are already feeling a little out of your element, this might trigger the nasty feeling that you don’t belong, you'll feel like you need to rush setting up the machines, and worse, could actually hurt yourself. Until you feel completely comfortable in the gym, you might want to stick to later in the evening – or sign up for a gym that is open 24 hours a day. That way, you can use the machines without feeling like anyone is breathing down your neck.