The intimidation factor of the gym can be a very real and a very scary thing for a lot of people and I totally understand it. I came up with a list of tips I found may be helpful to those that need a little push in the right direction. Comment below if you have additional tips!!
- Schedule out your gym time ahead of time – Sticking to a routine will help you to form a habit, get used to going, and make it more likely to continue on with your healthy routine! If you’ve tried to workout after work/school and it’s just not happening, schedule your gym time BEFORE so you know it’ll get done.
- Prepare the night before! Pack your workout bag and/or lay your workout clothes out so they’re ready to go (my biggest failure in the mornings is deciding what I’ll wear to the gym… it’s not ok how long this takes me). The more steps you have done the night before, the less you have to do in the morning and the quicker you’ll get to the gym without mindless distractions!
- Bring a friend with you – working out with friends is an amazing trick to help keep you accountable going to the gym / getting a good sweat in. It can also make things much less intimidating and overwhelming when you have someone by your side.
- Everyone’s eyes aren’t on you – Even though it may seem like everyone is watching you at the gym, they’re not. Most people could probably care less and would rather look at themselves in the mirror (no judgement here, I do the same!!). Pay attention to what you want to accomplish at the gym and get in and out.
- Be consistent – the more you continue to go to the gym, the more comfortable you will be with the equipment and others around you.
- Switch it up! Look up fun and interesting workouts / circuits to keep things ever changing! Switching things up is good for your body and helps keep you from getting bored with your training sessions. Although it’s not the best for everything, Instagram offers a key resource in watching other trainer’s routines– I find so much inspiration through it.
- Bring the beats – Create a solid workout playlist beforehand because you know when you hear good pump up songs (hello, Drake & Post Malone), you feel like you can do anything. Spend some time before the gym setting up an awesome playlist that will get you motivated and keep you pumped during your workout! Youtube videos / podcasts are also perfect for when you’re on a cardio machine– makes time go by so much quicker! Click here for my workout playlist on Spotify.
- Drink plenty of water – This doesn’t only apply to beginners at the gym… this applies to anyone and everyone! Drinking enough water helps you stay hydrated, perform better, recover quicker, and ultimately, stay healthy. Aim for 3-4 liters per day.
- Set goals for yourself! Whether that be upping your weight, going to the gym “x” times a week, or being able to do a pull-up, any goal small or large is so beneficial to have. It’s actually helpful to have a mix of short- and long-term, attainable goals. This will allow you to pay attention to your progress along the way and see what you still need to work on.
- Start slow – For the beginners, getting to the gym even once per week is a huge feat in itself. Don’t overdo it by forcing yourself to go more than you’re used to right away, leaving your body extremely sore and unhappy. Every few weeks, add on an extra day of working out!
- Start with stretching – It’s extremely important to warm up your muscles before any sort of exercise, especially if you are a newcomer to the gym. I recommend 5-10 minutes on a cardio machine, with a jump rope, a mix of high knees, burpees, butt kickers, etc. to elevate your heart rate and get your body moving.
- Fuel yourself properly – and at the right time! You don’t want to be too full or too hungry when working out. Aim for a light snack 30-90 minutes before your workout, or even a fasted workout immediately following waking up in the morning for maximum fat burning. Some people may do better with nothing in their tummy before training, and others need a full meal prior in order to have the energy for a sweat sesh. It’s very individual, but I suggest finding out if you’re a morning person or night owl when it comes to hitting the gym. Post-workout is also key. Aim for 20-30g protein. I find smoothies are my favorite to pack in extra nutrition (leafy greens), whole foods, and quality protein. It’s also easier on digestion after you workout. Check my Glow-To Smoothie here for an example of a well-balanced smoothie.
- Going at non-peak times – If you’re intimidated by others at the gym, your best bet is going when it’s less crowded, during non-peak hours. Every gym is different, but typically anytime between 10am-2pm or after 8 or 9pm is less busy.
- Don’t be afraid of weights!! Resistance training and weight lifting are SO important for muscle tone, bone strength, and overall health. If you’re unsure how to use a certain piece of gym equipment, ask a staffed personal trainer to show you around, or look up Youtube videos on technique either from your phone at the gym or when you get home.
- Find out what motivates you and what will get you there – Getting to the gym is usually always the hardest part. Find out what it takes to make it easier on you and to physically GET YOU THERE. Whether that’s a new pair of stylish workout clothes, setting your clothes out the night before as mentioned above, going immediately after waking up to get it out of the way, signing up for a workout class to keep you accountable, etc.
- Fake it till you make it! Remember that you are your biggest critic. YOU are the only one who may notice the lack of confidence in the gym. Be kind to yourself and make it a habit of giving yourself positive affirmations.