I meet a lot of people who are scared of the gym, and I get it.
Gyms are scary, risky places.
Even as a personal trainer and powerlifter I still have moments of terror when I’m in an unfamiliar gym. Over the Christmas break we were staying with friends in Croydon and we went to do a training session in a gym there.
Now when we walked into this gym I had one of those moments. It was full of big sweaty men, half naked women and a whole load of machines that I’ve not had a whole lot of experience with and I was like ‘oh crap, not really sure about this’.
Then my lovely anxious brain starts going into overload, it’s like: “First problem, where do we put our bags? If we put them here are they in the way? People are looking at me. I’m not dressed right for this gym. Why is the music so loud? I’m not gangster enough for this place.”
And my monologue continues on during my training session: “Where do I stretch? Am I using this machine right? I’m going to end up on a Gym Fail video. Can I use these weights? Is anyone on that machine over there? People are looking at me (again). I’m squatting in the wrong place. Where do I do abs here? Why are there mirrors everywhere?”.
If this sounds familiar ad you’re like me you might be wondering how to get past those thoughts and fears so here are a few things you can do:
1. Think about why you want to go to the gym. This might help you rationalise things and get you past your fears.
2. Recognise that your thoughts are just thoughts. A lot of the time we have these thoughts as a way of keeping us safe. If we’re not sure about going to they gym it’s logically a risky activity for our brains. So the thoughts are there to discourage us from doing something that we’re perceiving as dangerous when in reality the only danger is what we’re creating for ourselves!
3. Find a gym buddy. You don’t have to do the same exercises together but just having someone familiar with you can help a lot. And if you make a mistake or do something wrong you have someone to laugh it off with. If you don’t have a gym buddy a class might work for you instead.
4. Speak to the gym staff/personal trainers. Most of us really just want to help you feel comfortable and have a good time at the gym. If we can help you use a bit of equipment or point you in the right direction for your training we’re happy.
5. Think about what you want to do before you get to the gym. Having a program or plan in place will have you feeling more confident, help you make the most of your session and keep you from wandering aimlessly looking for something to do next.
It’s so natural to worry about looking out of place in an unfamiliar environment. you’re probably (definitely) not the only person in the gym having those thoughts!!
For more help with combatting gym fears and getting into training send me a facebook message or email firstname.lastname@example.org