Are you wanting to make the gym a new hobby this year but you’re struggling with gym anxiety? Does your heart rate increase just thinking about hitting the weight racks?
We get it – the gym can be an overwhelming place and if you’re afraid to go at it alone, don’t worry this is normal. From feeling out of place, not knowing how the hell all the different machines work, what you should be doing, or how to perform the exercises without either falling over or injuring yourself in front of your gym crush.
In this short guide, we’ve going to give you all the things you need to get started, and overcome gym anxiety of feeling like a complete newbie beginner to a regular gym goer in no time.
Gymtimidation: What causes it and how to deal with it
Now you’ve probably heard of intimidation but what about ‘gymtimidation’?
If you’re not a regular gym goer then you’ve probably experienced feeling the following:
- Thinking the guys in the squat rack are looking over laughing at me whilst I’m exercising because I don’t know what I’m doing.
- Finding the treadmill in the far corner of the gym so no-one can see how unfit I am if I can only run a minute or two.
- Walking into a new class not knowing what equipment I need, what the class is going to entail and whether I’m actually going to be able to survive the whole class?
Here’s the thing, you need to remember that everyone was a beginner at some stage. I remember not long into my first gym membership forgetting to put the clips on the bench press getting stuck under the bar and then proceeding to have the plates slide off and flip me off the bench. Not my best moment. However, this didn’t put me off, despite the embarrassment of everyone in the gym knowing me as that guy that got stuck under the bench press and flipped himself off the bench landing in a heap on the floor.
Don’t worry, everything you’re feeling is normal and that’s okay, here’s your complete guide to making yourself feel a little more comfortable in the gym as a beginner.
7 Tips for becoming more confident in the gym
- Train with a friend. Get yourself a training partner to go along with for support, sharing your journey with someone can help not only keep you accountable to go regularly, but help remove the anxiety of going at it alone. You can also check out each other’s body positioning, try new classes together or even split the cost of hiring a coach!
- Go at quieter times. If the thought of working out in a busy gym intimidates you as you’re not sure of your routine or where everything you need is, then perhaps try a quieter time?
Not training in peak hours will give you a chance to get comfortable in the gym environment without the added stress of finding equipment that’s available. This will give you more space so you can focus on your workout and less chance of feeling self-conscious.
- Have a plan. Walking into the gym without a plan is like getting in your car and starting driving without an idea of where you’re going, you’re going nowhere fast.
Now if you can’t afford a coach there are plenty of resources online to find a training plan to start, this will allow you to think about the equipment you’re going to need to use, where it is in the gym so you can walk in having pre-rehearsed everything you’re going to do removing that little voice in your head telling you “you don’t belong here”, you do, the gym is a place for everyone!
- Find yourself a friendly gym. Environment goes a long way and finding a gym with friendly staff, a great community and welcoming faces who are happy to help goes a long way. Take a few trials, get a feel for the gym and the members, chat to them if you can and ask about their experience and if they’d recommend the gym, different classes or even trainers!
- Have your nutrition plan dialled in. If you’re new to the gym, you’re probably thinking what the hell do I need to eat? Do I need to invest in protein shakes and start shaking up my post workout protein in the changing rooms to fit in?
Pre and post workout nutrition can help make sure you are fuelled for the gym without feeling like you have a lead weight in your stomach. Aim to eat roughly an hour and a half prior to going to the gym, if you’re going in the morning perhaps some low-fat Greek yoghurt, chopped banana and a little honey, cinnamon and some blueberries would be a great high protein, carb and low-fat option that shouldn’t sit too heavy. If you need an extra boost an espresso 30–40-minute prior should do the trick too.
Afterwards, some form of lean protein and a good amount of carbohydrates will aid recovery, use the 1:4 ratio of protein to carbs ie. 25g protein, and 100g of carbs in your post-workout meal. Whether that’s some grilled chicken thigh with a wholemeal pita and quinoa or brown rice salad or if you’re on the go a banana, some Nutri-grain and a ready-to-drink protein shake will refuel you and aid in recovery.
As a given rule try to opt for lean protein sources, some carbohydrates and lower-fat foods around training as fat can be slower digesting and your body will utilise the carbohydrates during the workout and refuel glycogen post workout which is your stored carbohydrates.
- Take small steady steps. Overwhelmed by the thought of not being able to run a marathon? Setting small goals for each session is smart, instead of thinking about the end goal break it down. Instead of thinking about running a marathon, think about running 5km to start with, if that’s too daunting try running for 5 minutes, walking for a few to recover then repeating initially to build up to it.
Slow and steady wins the race and if each week you’re progressing in some way, don’t sweat it. Remember you’re in this for the long haul not the short haul, progress takes time so don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations to start with, start with the minimum and fall in love with the process of seeing progress.
- Hire a coach. Investing in a trainer initially is one of the best investments you can make to be successful in your health and fitness journey. Not only will they assess where you’re currently at, but they will also give you a structured tailored plan to help get you from A to Z whilst educating you on how to use the equipment, get you comfortable in the gym and accelerate your newbie status to gym goer in no time. Reach out to book your consultation with one of our Crunch PT’s. If you’re not sure how to choose your trainer here’s a link to your blog on what to look for in a trainer.
Go from gym rookie to regular
It’s totally normal to feel self-conscious and uncertain when starting out in the gym. But with the right mindset, a good environment, and the right plan, you can go from a newbie to a regular gym goer in no time.
Remember to be kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. With time, effort, and patience you’ll be able to achieve your health and fitness goals just remember to focus on yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.
Everyone’s journey is different, and progress takes time and isn’t always linear, if you have a moment of doubt just remind yourself why you started this journey and that your future self will thank you for it.
Try and be consistent and if you miss a day, don’t worry about it just pick things back up the following day and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you, and be beaming with a newfound confidence and love for fitness!
If you want to supercharge your results you can claim your one-day free pass to crunch fitness here alongside a free consultation with one of our friendly staff to ensure you feel more comfortable in the gym and assess what best routine, exercises and programme is going to ensure you are heading in the right direction to your goals.
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Crunch Fitness Virtual Assistant