A big part of a good workout is being comfortable at the gym. Some people avoid exercise all together because they are uncomfortable working out around other people.
I was one of those people. I wouldn’t even sit in the parking lot of a gym, never mind go in one and workout. When I finally did decided to join a gym, there were some things I did consciously to make myself more comfortable.
- Find the right gym
Finding the right gym is really important to being comfortable there. There are somethings that can narrow down your options like price and location, but make sure you’re comfortable in a gym that you pay for. You are paying for a service. There are different cultures at every gym. Don’t be afraid to ask around for trial periods. Most gyms will give you a free trial that lasts anywhere from a day to a week (In my opinion, if they DON’T let you try it for free, they just want your money and will probably be a pain to deal with anyway). Finding a gym that fits your needs is the first way to really be at home at the gym.
- Find the right clothes
When I say “right” clothes, I mean clothes that fit you and that are comfortable. If you are comfortable in a t-shirt and running shorts, stock up! Don’t wear something that is cute but not functional. For me, I find some shirts I have are a little too tight. I wear them anyways, but I notice that I either spend too much time finding pants that will hold me in the right places so I can wear the shirts or I’m really uncomfortable when I’m working out. That’s not something that should be on my mind at the gym! Make sure you’re wearing things that you are physically and mentally comfortable in.
- Learn the machines
Whether you learn them through personal training sessions or just by doing some research online, learn what they do. It’s hard to workout when you’re not sure what everything does, but if you get a chance to walk around the weight room and see each machine, you can look up how to use them online. If you forget, there’s always a little sticker on the machine that will remind you how to use it! One thing I do: I’ll look up exercises on bodybuilding.com as I workout. If I forget proper form or I want to find a different variation of an exercise, I just pull it up on my phone!
- Go in with a plan
Walk around with intention and you’ll look like you own the place. Write down the exercises in a notepad or on your phone so you can go from one exercise to the next without any wandering. You can pick a plan from the internet or make one up depending on what you want to work that day. If you are a beginner, I would recommend always getting some sort of insight when you’re creating a workout.
- Be confident
Most importantly, be confident. While it may feel like everyone is watching you, 99% of the time, they aren’t. The other 1% of the time it’s probably by accident. Everyone started somewhere and you are there to better yourself. Get in there, put your headphones in, turn your music up, and rock your workout! You are there and you are awesome for being there!
Even though it can be hard to gain confidence in a new gym- whether you’re experienced or not- it is worth the effort!