Okay, so recently it occurred to me whilst watching the programme ‘Big fat lies about diet and exercise’, that the gym can be a scary place. Whilst sat there on my sofa, my mum asked me if everyone in my gym was ‘healthy looking?’. I hadn’t really given it much thought before, as when I’m in the gym I’m there for me, but, after having a think, I realised that I’d never seen someone quite ‘overweight’ in my current gym. This actually shocked me. Not because people that are overweight need to attend a gym, it made me start thinking well maybe they don’t feel accepted, comfortable or confident in that environment and that’s something that should change. The gym is for everyone, no matter what shape or size!
It made me realise it can be quite an intimidating place. For me, the gym is a safe zone. I know what I’m doing and I’m confident trying new things. But that isn’t the same for everyone! It’s being put out of your comfort zone, if you aren’t used to certain machines you will just avoid them altogether, mainly because you don’t want to embarrass yourself, which I understand. Even though I’m a confident gym user, I can still relate, just in a slightly different way, let me explain…
I can feel intimidated too…
When I’ve been to get my nails done in the past (a rare occasion), I get the same uncomfortable feeling that some of you may get in a gym. Being in that environment surrounded by really girlie girls who have got immaculate makeup, glossy hair and shiny nails is very much the opposite of my look after a sweaty workout (we all know from Instagram I’m a SUPER RED tomato after every session). Now for some of you, you may be thinking I’m crazy to feel like that in a beauty salon! But it’s not the norm for me. It’s out of my comfort zone and it’s just not me. So I understand that weird feeling you can get in the gym, you’re out of your comfort zone, but how to overcome it?!
Top Tip Number One.
First things first! Book an induction/personal training session (usually the first is complimentary) to ask questions about equipment and training. This will be a 1-2-1 session where you can ask the trainer as much as you like and they will show you exactly how to work the machines and perform exercises you might not feel comfortable with. They can advise on weights to use and give you the right technique, so the next time you do it alone, you know you are doing it correctly, win win. If you have been a member of the gym for a while, you may have seen some PT’s around, if you feel you would like someone specific just ask the reception or the trainer themselves.
Top Tip Number Two.
Get a gym buddy. If you know someone who goes to the same gym as you, then team up and have a play around with some machines. Two heads are better than one! If you’re more of a solo gym attendee, then get one of your mates a free pass and you can have a mess around that way! You never know, they might join up too!
Top Tip Number Three.
Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. There are so many varieties of gym wear the choices are endless. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, whatever that may be, you will be less worried or paranoid about people ‘watching’ you. Which brings me swiftly onto my next point.
Top Tip Number Four.
Remember. Everyone is there for themselves. No one is watching you, and if they are, they are either just curious about the exercise you are doing or…checking you out! Neither of which are bad things. Just try and own it. As one of my favourite YouTubers says ‘Act confident and no one will question you’ Sarah’s Day. As much as you think people are watching you, honestly, no one is. Each person is more worried and focused on themselves and what they are doing, trust me on that!
Top Tip Number Five.
Last of all, if you are still struggling with the gym and getting used to the environment, try classes every now and then. They will teach you exercises, techniques and you might just find yourself a new gym buddy too! BUT! Don’t rely on classes. Yes, classes are a great way into the gym and exercise, however, once you’ve been doing the same class for a few weeks you need to switch it up and find another way to push yourself. Don’t use classes as a safety blanket, I know it’s easy to do. Try and do a few classes then get yourself out onto the gym floor, otherwise, it will always be a place of discomfort.
And that my lovelies, is it. Confidence doesn’t happen overnight but the more and more you put yourself in that uncomfortable position, the more natural it’ll become with time. That’s one thing to remember, it all takes time. Keep patient and keep working on it, you’ll get there. If there is anything specific that you struggle with at the gym, exercises, technique, random guys that try and hit on you, then comment below and I’m more than happy to help! I hope you have a lovely day!