There's no doubting that the gym may be intimidating at times, with 80 percent of people dropping out within the first eight weeks of joining owing to discomfort or 'gymtimidation.' According to a recent poll conducted by Sport England, the most common source of gym phobia is the fear of being judged, with one in five males stating that their biggest concern is not knowing what they're doing and avoiding free weights or machines for fear of appearing silly.
So, whether you're new to the gym, want to improve your strength in the weight room, or just need a confidence boost at the gym, personal trainer Emily Cole offers five ideas to help you overcome your fears and achieve amazing results.
1. It is critical to plan ahead of time.
It may seem self-evident, but make sure you have the essentials before going to the gym. Call beforehand to see if your gym provides towels and if you'll need a padlock for the lockers. Bring a bottle of water and gym clothes that makes you feel comfortable and allows you to move freely. Once you've figured out the essentials, you may concentrate exclusively on your session.
2. Schedule a tour and induction at the gym.
Gymtimidation can emerge from a fear of the unknown for newcomers — I know I did when I initially started. Don't be hesitant to get a tour of the gym floor and locker rooms from a member of staff to familiarise yourself with the layout. Any concerns you may have about utilising the equipment and getting started can be alleviated with a gym induction. You can learn how to utilise machines that are new to you, discuss your goals with the fitness coach, and get training recommendations. Aim to leave with a simple routine that you can follow on your own and that encourages you to try new things.
3. Get the timing perfect
The prospect of a crowded gym or locker room can be scary. One method to get around it is to schedule your workout at a less busy time of day — I like an early morning workout. You may also schedule your workout after the evening rush hour or take a slightly later lunch break.
4. Put your mind to the task.
Setting out on the gym floor with a game plan can not only make your workout more productive, but it will also give you confidence. Make a list of your workout exercises, including how many sets and reps you'll perform, and familiarise yourself with them (if you get stuck, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube).
5. Take an exercise class.
Do you feel like you don't have the courage to do it alone? Consider enrolling in a group workout class. Working out with others is a terrific motivator (especially if you're competitive), and you can ask the teacher to examine your form if you're unsure about technique on certain routines.
6. Concentrate on you
Make an effort not to focus too much on other people. It's possible that what works for them won't work for you. Everyone is focused on themselves and their own session, so remember that no one is evaluating you! When my confidence is low, I try to walk into the gym with purpose and recite a positive mantra to myself, such as "I am strong, I can smash this session." Have faith in yourself and your abilities, but always ask questions if you're unsure — we're all here to support one another.
7. Connect the cord
It has been proved that listening to music while exercising improves your performance. It encourages you to work harder, puts you in the 'zone,' and, most importantly, serves as a diversion from the workout - win!
8. Make gym friends
You'll frequently receive complimentary gym passes, which you may use to bring friends to the gym with you. Making friends at the gym, on the other hand, is a lot easier than you might imagine. It's common for members to attend the same sessions every week, so it's easy to strike up a conversation on a regular basis. Making friends on the gym floor can be a little more difficult, but it is possible! Don't be afraid to use a piece of equipment if you want to. Instead, offer to help out during the rest periods of the other person - it can just start a dialogue.
9. Schedule a complimentary PT Induction.
A personal trainer may give your workout an edge by creating a more tailored programme for you, focusing entirely on you and your technique, and empowering you to train on your own. You may only require a taster session in which they may introduce you to various sorts of exercise, such as weight training (which has numerous benefits but can be the most intimidating area of the gym), and push you beyond your comfort zone.
10. With weights, use trial and error.
If you're not sure the weights to use, start light and work your way up. You want to choose a weight that is challenging by the last 2-3 reps but not so hard that you lose your form.