Beginning your gym journey can be unsettling. I am by no means a gym expert, but there are some things I have found that have eased my transition into the gym.
Determine Your Goals
Before you can begin your gym journey, you need to know what you want to achieve in the gym. Your goals will help you decide what membership to buy as well as what gym to go. It will also help in the gym when it comes to planning your workouts and feeling comfortable and confident with what you are doing.
If you want to use the gym casually, just to keep active, then pretty much any gym will suffice. Your choice of membership will likely be influenced by price and the times you can access it.
If your goals are much more specific, for instance bodybuilding, then you may want to attend a gym that offers personal trainer sessions in your membership so you have additional support.
In summary, knowing what you want from the gym will help you to make a decision about where to go as well as boosting your confidence in terms of what to do.
Encourage A Friend To Join
Even once you have established your goals it can still be daunting to go to the gym alone for the first few times. Don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t feel comfortable to go alone for a very long time – that is completely normal.
I found it much easier when I had a friend join me at the gym. I felt less self-conscious as I knew we were in it together and, if we used equipment incorrectly or looked silly, we had each other. On top of that, I had someone I could ask questions to and not feel embarrassed about asking them. So, if you have a friend who is interested in joining a gym, or even better is already in a gym, go with them!
It is important to note, however, that no one in the gym cares about what others are doing. If someone approaches you saying you are doing something wrong, they are likely just trying to help rather than mock you. After all, you can seriously harm yourself in the gym if you don’t carry the right form.
Remember The Internet is Your Best Friend
When it comes to learning how to use certain machines and perform certain exercises the internet is there to save the day. I’m definitely too scared to ask anyone at the gym how to do anything. Where the confidence to ask for help is lacking, you can always seek help online.
YouTube videos are excellent as they can act as visual as well as audio aids for learning how to use equipment properly and safely.
A personal favourite of mine is Fitbod, a free fitness app available on iOS and Android devices. Fitbod allows you to plan workouts, giving you the option of choosing each muscle group you want to work on. What’s even better is it provides a short video for every exercise! In this way you are able to organise your workouts as well as feel confident and comfortable by following the videos.
Be Kind To Yourself
Throughout this process you have to remember to be kind to yourself. It is inevitable that you will get things wrong, or have a day where your stamina feels incredibly low and you can’t even manage 10 minutes on the treadmill. That is normal.
I have definitely had those days. I have even had days where I’ve entered the gym, used a machine for 10 minutes and then left because my body wasn’t feeling it that day. In the same way that we have days where we are in good moods and others where we are in bad moods. Our relationship with the gym is the same. Some days are good, others not so much.
If you’re worried about embarrassing moments, don’t be. Chances are you will do something wrong and that’s fine. For weeks I had been doing a seated row on a cable machine in the same way that you row on a rowing machine. That is the completely wrong way and I could have seriously injured my back! I probably seemed a fool however I learnt from that and I am now confident in my seated row.
Joining a gym should be to improve your physical as well as mental wellbeing. There is no use being hard on yourself for doing things wrong or skipping the gym. It’s a learning process, the best you can do is give it your all!