Afraid of the testosterone-flowing, heavy-weight-pumping, grunty, sweaty land of free weights? I was, the first time I walked into a weight room. Like the “new kid at school”, I felt somewhat paralyzed by all the commotion, and the fact that I didn’t know my way around yet.
But, I promise the gym can actually become a fun, relaxing place for you to unwind if you just give it (and yourself) a chance. If you find yourself having cold feet about getting yourself to the gym to lift, try these 7 tricks for overcoming your fears so you can start your journey towards slim and sexy as soon as possible!
- Mentally commit to reaching your goals even before setting foot in the gym. What do you want to accomplish? What do you need to accomplish it? Well, you need to go to the gym, and you also need to resist the urge to scurry over to the cardio equipment with all the other ladies. Now, I understand that the men are sometimes big, scary, sweaty, and yeah… they may grunt a lot, but really it’s nothing that an i-pod loaded up with your favorite tunes can’t fix! And come on, if you want to reclaim that sexy body, you’ve got to reclaim your spot in the weight room!! Tell yourself ahead of time that you need to do this to accomplish your goals, and by the fourth or fifth time, you’ll start to feel a lot more comfortable in the land of sweat, testosterone… and yeah, the occasional fart or two.
- Be prepared for intimidation. Overall, the guys are usually extremely kind, polite, and even somewhat gentlemanly towards women who venture into the weight room. However, don’t be frightened if you get the occasional weird look, or if the guys aren’t always as polite as they should be. I promise you it will happen every once in a while. In fact, I myself am sometimes confronted with a mean guy with “roid rage” problems stealing my weights or giving me impatient “I REALLY NEED THAT BENCH” stare-downs here and there. Just the other day, some guy yelled at me for using “HIS” pull-up bar. Really?? I think he was just mad that I was doing more than he was. :)
- Wear something you feel comfortable in. If you don’t feel comfortable in a cut-off Nike shirt, don’t wear it. You should be 200% comfortable in the clothes that you work out in, even if it means treating yourself to buying a new outfit or two. If you aren’t comfortable, you will be much too concerned about whether everyone else is looking at you (they aren’t) to be able to focus on your workout. If you’re still not sure what to wear, do the “walk around the block” test: would you feel good wearing the outfit you’ve chosen on a walk through your neighborhood?
- After you walk into the gym, observe from a distance.Every weight room definitely has a rhythm. If the gym is busy, sit and stretch for a few minutes and just observe what is going on. This will help you get in the proper mindset to begin your workout, and will help you see where every piece of equipment is before you start. (Where are the free weights? Where are the benches?) You can also learn a lot about proper etiquette and behavior just by watching how everyone seems to interact (or not interact) with one another.
- Don’t be afraid to sweat!To be perfectly honest, working out hard usually isn’t all that pretty. That said, who cares if your hair gets a little messed up, if your eyeliner disappears, or if you sweat through your shirt. You are at the gym for YOU, not to impress anyone else. So, if you want to look amazing, prepare to work your butt off, and learn now to embrace the beauty of SWEAT.
- Bring some tunes. If you have an i-pod or mp3 player, load it up with your favorite feel-good music, and invest in an arm-strap designed to hold your tunes in place while you workout. Music will not only get you pumped up to work out and to work out hard, but will give you something to “hide” behind if you happen to get a little intimidated or frustrated. Is someone or something bothering you? Then just turn the music up louder and continue your lift!
- Don’t be shy. Sometimes it’s nice to just listen to your i-pod and ignore the world, but don’t be afraid to smile and say hello to someone. Talking to people (yeah, they’re mostly guys) in the weight room and even making friends will make you feel a whole lot more comfortable working out there. And, if there is someone using a piece of equipment you need for your workout, it never hurts to kindly ask them when they will be finished. This will give you an idea of how long you’ll have to wait, and will also (usually) ensure that you’re next-in-line. Whatever you do, don’t ever skip something just because the equipment is being used! Just move onto the next exercise until it frees up.
Overcoming your gym phobia may take a couple weeks, but don’t get discouraged. Remember these 7 tricks, be consistent with your workouts, and pretty soon you will actually look forward to your “YOU” time at the gym.
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