When I first started going to the gym, I was afraid to fool myself with weight. I felt like everyone was watching me move wrong, and their heads were smiling at me. Not to mention the weight category was very male-dominated and seemed scary as a woman.
So instead of hitting the weights, I stuck to the safety of the cardio machine for a long time.
After a few years, I slowly began to overcome my fear of the gym and learned how to lift weights safely. Today, I am a personal trainer and even participated in a bodybuilding competition! Safe to say I am no longer afraid of weight.
Here are my tips for overcoming “gym-timedation” and building confidence in the gym.
There is a plan. Follow a guided routine that tells you what to do and teaches you the correct form, ideally with video. This will help you to feel confident about yourself as you go through the practice.
Take off your weight from the side. If lifting weights in the middle of the gym floor is not your job, move the dumbbells to the side area or to a corner room where there is a little more privacy. Build confidence to take the right steps with good form and then move to a more public area once you feel comfortable.
Go with a friend. A friend or partner can help you gain more confidence and less fear initially. Bonus points if your friend picks up and can show you how to use the tools properly!
Work with an instructor. If your budget allows, a personal trainer at your gym can show you how to use the equipment safely and teach you how to move with the right form. This can help you build confidence when you are working alone without your trainer. Even just a few sessions can go a long way.
Remember that people are looking at themselves, not at you. Most people in the gym are busy or on their phones. Just like when you go home and think about everyone you see in the gym… neither do they. Instead of focusing on everyone else and what they are thinking, shift your focus to you, your body, and your mind-muscle connection.
Lastly, keep in mind that everyone in the gym was a beginner. Everyone, like you, has to make themselves better. You deserve a place in the gym just like everyone else there!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as an alternative to medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your health problems or conditions. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.