Going to the gym isn't always that easy for everyone. Laziness, plans or just a general lack of interest can easily get in the way. But then there are those who truly want to, but have a straight up fear of following through. They wonder, will people look at me funny? Will they judge me? Do I even have the right outfit?
If you're this type of person, then perhaps you just need some helpful tips to get you past the hump. Check out these helpful thoughts from Dr. Michele Kerulis
, Professor of Sport & Health Psychology at Adler University, and Will Lanier
, NYC Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor.
1. Come up with a plan of attack.
“People are more likely to meet their goals when they have them specifically written out,” Kerulis says.
2. Write down your goals and bring them with you.
“If you get online and search a 20-minute workout, you’ll find a billion different exercises you can do,” Lanier says. “Print out the workouts or write them down and take it to the gym with you. That way you’ll have a clear sense of what you’re doing, and you’ll feel much more confident than if you were to wander aimlessly coming up with a routine on the spot.”
3. Pick the right gym for you.
Kerulis says that in order to find a place you genuinely want to workout at, you need to check the cleanliness of each gym, the friendliness of the staff and the types of classes they offer.
4. Consider a boutique gym.
“Feel free to ask questions of the staff and let them know that you’re new and are trying to get accustomed to the gym,” Kerulis says. “Most of them will be very open to helping you out. And it will also allow you to get to know them, making the gym a more inviting place for you.”
5. Make sure to do a walkthrough of the space and equipment.
Note where everything is from the locker room to all of the equipment. Being aware of your surroundings makes way for confidence.
6. Be mindful of the brand of machines in the gym so you can look up instructional tutorials online later.
“Equipment can be extremely overwhelming. I have a career in fitness and there are still pieces of equipment that I don’t know how to use,” Kerulis says.
7. Get a workout partner.
“A workout buddy is such a value to have,” Kerulis says. “If they have a little bit of experience that’s great because they can help you through the learning process. But even if you’re both newbies it’s awesome because you’re in it together.”
8. Make sure to take advantage of your free personal training sessions early on.
Most gyms offer this service. It's a great way to gain some knowledge on exercise and the muscles you're working for those solo sessions.
9. Workout during off peak hours.
This way you won't feel so intimidated by a large crowd.
10. Peek in on a class.
If you're too intimidated to take a class just yet, simply peek in on it to get an idea of the vibe for when you're ready.
11. Find something fun to train for.
“Training for something fun, maybe a 5k, will not only give you something to work towards but it will also show the progress you’re making,” Kerulis says. “It could be what motivates you to push past the anxiety.”
12. Don't shy away from asking for help.
“They have smaller environments and tend to be less intimidating because they’re a bit more friendly and personalized,” Kerulis says. “At a mainstream gym, you won’t have an instructor greeting you and helping you through a class."
13. Conquer one part of the gym at a time.
Start where you're most comfortable to build your confidence. If you are typically a treadmill type, then opt for that and expand to new territories as you become more comfortable in your environment.
14. Use headphones.
“Just making a great playlist and having a familiarity with what you’re going to listen to once you get going can ease some of the anxiety,” Lanier says.
15. Check out online groups associated with being new to fitness.
Try a Reddit fitness newbie group
, a Quora thread, or Meetup.com.
16. Look good to feel good.
“Just looking good will give you more confidence and take away some of the anxiety,” Lanier says. “Motivate yourself by wearing a new outfit. Buy a pair of new sneakers. You always feel better with a new pair of sneakers on.”
17. Only compete with yourself.
"You don’t know everyone else’s story or how they got to where they are today,” says Kerulis. “So stay concentrated on your own workout and your own progress.”
“Your journey is not their journey,” Lanier adds. “And your starting point is a different point in their timeline. Where they are and where you are, are two different places. You can’t compare yourself to someone else. You have to accept the fact that you’re each on your own path.”
What do you think of these tips?