By Whitney Carlson
It’s true you can get an amazing workout at home, but having access to all the equipment a gym offers is a great benefit, so if you can join a gym, make the most of it. Use these tips to build your confidence to go into the weight room (or even the gym, for that matter).
- Join a small(er) gym. While a small gym may not have all the fancy machines and equipment that a larger gym has, and may not offer as many classes or even a pool, for someone who is shy, this can actually be a good thing. Being shy myself, I like that in a small gym there isn’t as much space to “learn my way around” and I know where everything is and how to use it. Can’t join a smaller gym? No worries.
- Go when it’s not crowded. Even though it might feel like everyone is watching you, trust me, they’re not. Still, if you’re able to go off-peak, that will help. Peak times are usually before work, during lunch, and right after work. If your schedule allows, go late morning or early afternoon to beat the crowds.
- Go at the same time every day. Any time that you can work out is the best time to work out. If this means morning some days and evening others, that’s fine, as long as you go. However, for someone who has a fear of the weight room, going at the same time each day is the best option. You’ll start to see the same people, and getting to know others (even just by face) will make you feel more comfortable while also making it easier to ask questions if needed.
- Find an empty room. Even though our gym is small, we do have one classroom. If it isn’t being used, I like to get what I need and do my workout in there. If your gym doesn’t have a separate room, find an out-of-the-way area that allows you some privacy to familiarize yourself with the equipment and workouts in general. This way, you’ll be able to focus on your workout instead of worrying about what other people think (although, again, they’re really not paying attention to you).
- Take a friend. While a partner isn’t necessary, and can actually be a distraction, having a friend along might take some of the pressure off. You can navigate the machines and not feel like you’re alone. If you do want a workout buddy, try to find someone who has your same intensity, goals, and schedule.
- Book a session with a personal trainer. I’m a Certified Personal Trainer and even I don’t believe that everyone needs a personal trainer. However, even if you don’t plan to work with a trainer all the time, see if you can book a session or two so that they can show you around and
explain how to use all of the equipment. Some gyms offer this for free. Learning properly from the start will help prevent frustration and possibly injury down the road.
You may also like: Have an Exercise Snack: Try the Standing 7- Minute Workout
Everyone has a bit of shyness when they first start. Just remember: everyone had a Day 1 at some point.