Maybe you have felt this way before too. Perhaps for not the same reasons, but you've felt awkward, intimidated, or simply different/new/other at the gym.
Well let's pop those inflated negative thoughts with a few reframes that I find helpful anytime I am trying something new, feeling out on a ledge, or just a little uncomfortable in new and unfamiliar territory.
1. GET HONEST ABOUT THE FEELING
Feelings are a little bit like monsters under the bed.
The longer we go avoiding them, the scarier they get.
So take a long hard look at what you're feeling - maybe even write it down. In my case I told my husband, "I feel totally weird on camera. Everyone is going to be distracted by how pregnant I am versus what I've normally looked like for the past 7 years on camera."
As I said it, I heard myself. Well yes, they are going to see how I look -- because this is how I look.
But is that really why people are watching the video?
And, is that really why other people are at the gym?
For the most part people are pretty focused on themselves. Yes, there are always jerks in life. However, most of the time people are caught up in doing their own thing. The fear is likely a little bigger than the reality.
2. CONSIDER WHAT THE FEELING PREVENTS YOU FROM EXPERIENCING
You're at the gym. What did you want to feel when you were there?
Confident, strong, accomplished?
If the intimidation of being at the gym with people who seem to know a lot more about equipment, exercises, and training than you do is absolutely normal.
Guess what? They were new too once.
The feeling of belonging is a strong one. But fitting in isn't the same as belonging. Fitting in often includes some level of conforming or transforming oneself to fit a mold.
But, baby, you're not here to fit anyone else's mold but your own.
Remember what you really wanted? Confidence. Strength. Accomplishment.
Are you really going to let the fear of the gym get in the way of those things? They are absolutely within reach for you!
When gym-timidation is holding you back remember the monster under the bed. It's not so scary when you look at it straight on, so don't let it block you from getting the things you really want.
So take action, even if you're scared. Your health, confidence, and well being are totally worth it!
Not to sound too cliche, but 'just do it'.
3. ASK FOR SUPPORT
Most gyms offer FREE tours, and some even offer introductory sessions with trainers or floor staff to get to know the equipment.
Take advantage of these opportunities. You might enjoy it so much that you're inspired to pay for a few personal training sessions.
Getting acclimated with the layout and the equipment of a gym will help you feel calmer when you're trying something new. With a little bit of knowledge you're also more likely to perform the exercises with more safety, and better form. Talk about a win-win.
Plus, walking around the space with an employee will help you feel like you belong there too. Let the confidence they demonstrate in the gym rub off on you. They are there to help, and if I know anything about people in the fitness industry - they are OBSESSED with helping people start a new fitness regimen.
Literally, we live for that sh*t.
NOW, TAKE STOCK.
When you leave the gym after confronting your gym-timindation get into the car, crank your tunes, and pat yourself on the back.
You just did something absolutely outstanding for yourself, and you did it scared.
Experiences that are worthwhile in life often start with actions that are done scared.
Every time you visit the gym the experience will get a little easier and easier - well emotionally. I can't guarantee training will get easier. In fact, it should get harder - if you're doing it right ;)
Soon enough you'll be pumping reps like a pro. One day you just might see someone out of the corner of your eye that looks a little intimidated. You can smile at them, offer support, and perhaps make a gym buddy.
We've all be new before, and the gym is a place where new people should 100% belong.
Body. Mind. Spirit.
Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 22 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 13 years I have worked as an instructor, a wellness business owner, the Founder of Practice Everywhere, and now I am embarking on a new adventure to expand how we define our Personal and Public Practices.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜