Do you have a fear of fitness clubs? Here are the top 8 ways to overcome this fear and have the courage to get up and get to the gym!
This may come as a surprise to you, but I’ve always felt a little awkward in fitness clubs. I’ve been training since I was 14 years old so this doesn’t make much sense — but it’s the truth!
I think most people feel this way, perhaps this is why the atmosphere at most clubs has a contagiously awkward vibe. Here’s the kicker though; I sometimes even feel awkward working out in my own fitness
club. So strange! However, I’ve managed to find some things that work for me, so I can work around the awkwardness I sometimes feel in a fitness club.
What the Hell Am I Doing Here?
Well, if you don’t have a plan and/or a purpose while you are at the gym then you’re bound to feel uncomfortable as you stumble through your workout. Not only do you need a workout plan of the day, but you also need to feel comfortable executing that plan; knowing the machines, form, technique etc. are crucial. This comes with experience, so it’s wise to start off with the basics, but to always be adding new and challenging exercises to your workout program.
These days it’s easy to come up with new exercises and plans with the unlimited resources available on the web. On the other hand, the most readily available resource for workout ideas is actually right in front of you. People learn best by observing other people, so checking out what other people are doing in the gym is a great way to learn the ropes. Just make sure you’re looking (and not staring!) at the people who know what they’re doing.
In most cases it’s obvious who knows what they’re doing in the gym by their physiques alone, but if you have any doubts then watching personal trainers bring their clients through their workouts is probably the best way to learn proper forms of exercise.
When Is Happy Hour around Here?
I prefer to work out in the afternoons; simply because it is when gyms are the least busy.
Typically you’ll find gyms are busy from the mid-morning until noon and also from mid-afternoon until early evening. Early mornings, afternoons or late evenings are typically the least busy times for most clubs. Minimizing the amount of people in a gym, minimizes my distractions and makes me feel more comfortable in my surroundings. Mind you, socializing is one of the best add-ons to working out, so going it solo isn’t always a good idea either. Socializing can make the gym experience more like a true club; where there are like-minded people doing like-minded things. The vibe is always good when people come together in unison.
Where Is the Safe Spot?
The cardio area of a fitness club is the least intimidating place to be. You’re using a machine that you only need to turn on and then adjust the particulars, or if you choose to run a program; it can even do that for you. Most people socialize while they’re on cardio machines, whereas on the weight training floor it’s mainly independent work people are engaged in. People are also busy doing repetitive work on cardio machines so nobody is standing around idly between sets; which can create more awkwardness.
I like to start my workout in the cardio area and then build up the courage to move out into the more intimidating places of the gym — like the workout floor. Just make sure you don’t get stuck in the cardio routine rut, where all you do is cardio without ever making your way out into the “steel jungle” or the strength equipment areas of a gym. I’ve seen too many friends get stuck in this rut and also stuck with their results!
Creating Your Own Little World… Music sets the mood for the mind and mindset is one of the most important pieces of a successful workout. Music allows me to get focused and also creates a sense of euphoria, which allows me to be more courageous in the gym. It’s such an important piece of the workout, that I find it difficult to work out without it. It just feels like something is missing.
When I strap on the earphones I tune out the outer world and enter my own little world; it certainly is an escape and turns my workout into something like a meditation. Music selection is also important, I like dance music that is rhythmic and repetitive; this allows me to flow through my workout and gives me the energy to go the extra mile.
Me and My Fitness Buddy…
Workout partners work wonders when it comes to making a gym a non-intimidating place. Company is comfort and it’s no different in the gym! The challenge is finding a workout partner who is going to work well with you. I used to go through workout partners like I went through underwear because it’s challenging to find a good fitness buddy.
You need to find someone with the same workout schedule as you and most importantly someone who won’t let you down by not showing up for their workouts. If you can find this special friend, the two of you can create something special by motivating each other towards excellence. More than likely the person you’re looking for is already a member at the gym, they’re just waiting for you to invite them to your next workout.
Me and My Trainer…
Trainers turn an intimidating gym into a sanctuary because of the focus they demand from you whilst you’re working out. Trainers don’t allow you to feel uncomfortable around others in the gym because you’re already so uncomfortable with the gruelling workout they have designed for you! Workouts are work; and humans tend to work better when they’re instructed what to do and then coached and motivated to see it through. So is the case with the personal training experience and I’ve never felt more comfortable or focused in a gym when I’m with a trainer.
I’ve Never Danced When I’m Sober…
Getting yourself into a fitness class is another great way to break down the fear of fitness clubs. From dance inspired classes to strength, cardio, spiritual or flexibility classes, the variety is abundant and so are the different groups of people you will easily meet in these classes.
Who would have thought that I could actually dance outside of a night-club and be completely sober! This could be the case for you if you were to try a dance inspired fitness class. Fitness classes are much like personal training, but they have the dynamic of a group which makes many people feel more comfortable. In fact, some people feel less intimidated in a group then they do one-on-one with a trainer. Fitness classes forge relationships and fitness buddies in the easiest way.
Is He Staring at Me?
Most people don’t know what to do between sets, so they do what comes most natural; stare at other people! I get so uncomfortable when stared at, but wait a minute — I’m noticing that I’m being stared at because I’m looking at the person who is staring at me!
How I avoid the awkward stares is by staying busy between my sets. Things like stretching or getting down on a mat and doing some abdominal work both improves my productivity during a workout, and keeps me focused between sets. Moreover, when I’m busy I am not staring at other people staring at me!
To conclude; courage is like a muscle. You need to train it consistently and repetitively in order for it to become strong. Such is the case with overcoming the fear of fitness clubs. So get up and get to the gym – again and again!
Inspire to Aspire,
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