Part of feeling confident in the gym is realizing you belong there regardless if this is your first time in the gym or your 100th time. For some, the hardest part of working out isn’t about the aerobic classes, cardio equipment or walking onto the gym floor — it’s as basic as just having the confidence to walk into the gym.
I started weight training at the age of six with some rusty dumbbells at home and by the time I was eight years old I was already working out in the gym. I remember the first day I walked into the gym how intimidating it was being in an all-male adult environment and not having a clue how to use any of the equipment. Like many novices I had not yet worked on building ‘gym confidence’ so I felt very uncomfortable in the gym. A survey by Sports England discovered that 75% of women wanted to be physically active but were afraid of being judged for their physical appearance and ability.
To achieve your health and fitness short and long-term goals in the gym along with being able to develop an effective exercise programme that works for you, one must also build gym confidence because your mind and body need to work together for you to be successful.
Three Tips to Build Gym Confidence
1) Identify your gym requirements. The most important thing before you first step into the gym is identifying your needs that will match your gym requirements and your health and fitness goals. These are some of the types of questions you need to ask yourself. What type of gym are you looking at? Do you feel uncomfortable working out around the opposite sex would you prefer a women-only gym? Do you want to go to a boutique gym like a personal trainer gym or would you prefer a chain gym and hire a personal trainer once you join? What type of exercise do you enjoy i.e. yoga, aerobic classes, weight-training, cardio equipment? Making sure you have chosen the right gym that you’ll feel comfortable to train at each week is the first step in boosting your gym confidence.
2) Hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer can play an integral part in your fitness programme and building your gym confidence. With a qualified eye, a good trainer will help motivate you, boost your confidence working out in the gym and provide that little bit of extra inspiration to overcome plateaus and correct your technique (which will lessen your chance of injury), as well as monitor and adjust your programme as you reach each short-term goal.
3) Beat the crowds by training off-peak. Boost your confidence in the gym by beating the crowds by working out during off-peak times. Usually off-peak weekday is between 9am and 4pm, and all day over the weekend. Make sure you ask your gym when is off-peak — another perk is that off-peak memberships are cheaper. Training during the quieter times will help you learn to feel more at ease with the gym environment while you’re learning to familiarise yourself with all the equipment.
Make sure you keep your feelings and anxieties about working out in the gym into perspective. Don’t be afraid to be the newbie in the gym; remember that everyone was in your shoes once and at any given time there are newbie gym goers just like you. Don’t ever think you are alone in your feelings of lacking gym confidence at the beginning.
Amazin is a Prana Samyana meditation Yin Yoga teacher and performance coach having trained Olympic athletes to special forces. She is also a former natural competitive bodybuilder and the first Vietnamese internationally published health and fitness author and DNA fitness trainer. For more info, click on amazinlethi.com