Getting Comfortable in the Gym
Updated: May 26
I used to be terrified of the gym.
When I first started going, I didn’t know what to do or where to start. I was extremely afraid of messing up or looking like an idiot. I had it in my head that if people saw me doing something wrong, they’d know that I never really went to the gym.
I’m not here to tell you that I’m now completely comfortable with doing anything I want in the gym, because I’m not. I’m still scared to bench or use certain machines. The point is, I’ve made myself comfortable enough to show up and give something a shot everyday.
First things first, if you really can’t stand the thought of working out in front of other people, it’s all good. Just start somewhere – your room, basement, or even back yard. If that works for you, great.
For my gym people, here’s my advice..
Pick a gym that you like. Going to the university gym was freakin scary. There were a million people there and 500 different things to try. I didn’t want the people in my math class watching me do burpees, so I switched gyms. The gym I switched to is closer to my apartment, it’s primarily older people (that I don’t care to impress), and its not as crowded. It made me so much more comfortable, and I started to go more because it didn’t take forever to get there.
Bring headphones. If you pick the right music, you’ll be 10 times more motivated. Also, turn your volume all the way up. You can block out every other person in the room, or at least your thoughts that want to concentrate on them.
Remember that no one really cares what you’re doing. People don’t go to the gym to watch other people. They go to make themselves better, therefore they are only focusing on their work to do that. They don’t care that your face looks like a tomato or that you can’t do 10 push-ups.
Join a class. Classes are awesome when you don’t know what to do. You can go just to get some ideas to personally work on if they aren’t really your thing. You can also go to make friends. Or you can choose to do them because you’ll have a set schedule and pre-planned exercises.
Start with the workouts you’re comfortable with. Okay, so you can’t do 10 push-ups. Modify them, and do 5. Try 3 un-modified. Or, don’t even do push-ups, you can do an easier exercise. If you know you’re good at running, start there. Just start with whatever gives you enough confidence to be there.
Gradually try new things. Once you work on something for a while, it obviously gets easier. You mastered the 10 push-ups? Okay, try 10 burpees. You can do the same workout that you’d normally do, just change up 1 or 2 things to move forward.
Bring a friend, but don’t become reliant. On a positive note, going with a friend can be comforting and make workouts more enjoyable. They can also keep you accountable. But they can also do the opposite and quit on you, and unintentionally hold you back from going or doing your best. Just be careful with who you pick. Make sure they have similar wants/goals, and be able to realize if something changes.
Remind yourself that you are the priority, not other people’s judgements. You’re going to better yourself. Don’t let your perception of other people’s opinions affect your want to make a change. They do not matter more than you.