When you’re entering a new environment, it’s only natural to feel a little scared or intimidated - and gyms are no different.
Watching people lift impossibly heavy weights and run for miles without breaking a sweat is enough to make the best of us lose confidence in ourselves, let alone a gym newbie.
Don’t let those worries fool you, though. Gyms are designed to be a safe space where everyone can join in to hit their own personal health and fitness goals.
So, to help you feel at home when working out, we’ve created a list of ways to help you feel less self-conscious and more self-confident.
1. Make the most of your induction
The first step on your path to gym confidence is your induction. Our friendly team will show you around the gym facilities so you can get your bearings, but will also walk you through the equipment available.
The whole point of an induction session is to make sure you’re comfortable using the facilities, so our team members want you to ask as many questions as possible to make sure you have the best gym experience.
We know it can be a bit embarrassing to admit that you don’t know how a specific machine works, but this is your opportunity to learn from an expert before you take them on solo. If there are exercises that you know you want to do in the gym, make sure you ask as you’re being shown around.
Just remember, everyone you’ll see in the gym was a beginner at some point and has been through an induction just like you.
2. Work with a PT
For a beginner, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the options gyms have on offer. Thankfully, personal trainers are a brilliant resource for new gym members, as they will take away any uncertainties you may feel when you step onto the gym floor.
PTs will begin by talking with you about what your fitness goals are and what you want to get out of the gym. This allows them to tailor a workout plan to your goals, where they’ll walk you through every exercise to ensure you’re can confidently complete every movement.
That way, you don’t accidentally embarrass yourself by trying out a new move your body isn’t ready for!
3. Go in with a plan
So, now you know what your targets are and you know how to safely use the equipment. However, going into the gym without a plan is a recipe for awkward pauses and lots of head-scratching.
To help you stay focused, make sure you know exactly what exercises you plan to do before you step foot in the gym. By planning out your fitness routine in advance, you won’t need to worry about anything other than your own workout.
For example, if you’re ready to do some bench presses but the weights room is too busy, no problem! You know exactly what your next exercise is, so you can move on and come back when it’s less crowded.
4. Pick your time wisely
Once you know the gym like the back of your hand and you’ve memorised your workout plan, it’s time to get stuck in.
It’s all too easy to be dissuaded by the sheer volume of gym members during peak times, which can knock your confidence if you’re not used to working out around other people. Begin by going to the gym during the week when it’s quieter, then you’ll be tackling the after-work rush in no time.
When it comes to confidence in the gym, the more visits you make, the better. Get into a rhythm and you’ll soon find it easy to saunter into the locker room no matter how many other people are about.
5. Buddy up
It’s easy to forget that you don’t need to fly solo at the gym - going for a workout with a friend is a great way to make the gym feel less scary.
Having a gym partner not only helps with your confidence but is also a proven way to keep you motivated. Gym buddies help us stick to our fitness routines when we’re feeling too stressed or worn down to workout.
You’ll notice right away how much more at ease you are by seeing a friendly face across the gym. Plus, you might be helping them overcome their gym anxiety, too!
If you have a friend in mind who isn’t currently a member, there’s no need to worry. Our Fitness Fridays scheme at Fitness First means you can bring a buddy to the gym with you for free every Friday.
6. Focus on yourself
There’s nothing more disheartening than working out and seeing the woman on the squat rack lifting twice as much as you or the guy who has been sprinting longer than you’ve been jogging.
It’s important to remember that every single person in a gym has experienced the same moment. You’re not at the gym to impress anyone else and you’re not at the gym to out-do anyone else. You’re there for your own fitness goals.
Stay focused on this and try to block out what anyone else is doing. Everyone is too busy with what they’re doing to watch other people in the gym, so just do the same thing!
7. Join a group class
You might find that once you begin to feel more comfortable in the gym that you’d like to try some new workouts or switch up your current routine.
By signing up to one of our Freestyle Group Training classes, our experienced instructors can introduce you to a whole new way of keeping fit. This is a great way to learn how to use familiar equipment in ways you’re unfamiliar with, so you’ll have more options when planning your workouts.
The best part of a class is that our instructors guide you every step of the way. The more classes you attend, the more confident you’ll become.
There are no skill requirements either, so everyone can take part!
8. Take part in an online class at home
If the idea of taking part in a class sounds appealing but you’d like a bit of practice before diving in, online classes are a great way to get you started in the privacy of your own home.
Fitness First have teamed up with Reebok and MTV to produce a series of dance-inspired workout videos led by professional dancer Danielle Peazer. Each video uses dance techniques to tone the body in just 10-minutes, so even busy bees can find the time for a workout.
The video workouts were created to be a fun, confidence-boosting way for women to get accustomed to class-based exercise before heading to the gym for the full experience.
If dance isn’t your thing, no problem. We have a whole range of online classes in our 10-minute workouts series, covering everything from strength conditioning to cardio blasts. By following an online workout from home, you can give yourself a great head start before your first group class, so you can feel comfortable working out to an instructor's guidance.
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