Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Overcoming intimidation at the gym

It’s not that I don’t admire those people who can lift triple their body weight and spend forty-five minutes on the rowing machine, but to me, the gym is a scary place, filled with fit people and large, bulky men, dominating the weights section. Unfortunately, a love for chocolate, biscuits, and tequila has forced me to accept that I have to go to the gym. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can. So here are five things that helped me  (mostly) get over that gym intimidation.

Find a gym buddy

This is the first piece of advice that everyone told me. “Find a gym buddy”, “go with someone”, and all that rubbish. Except it’s not rubbish. Finding someone with the same aims as you can really help your gym experience. For me and my buddy, it was simply to get fit. With my buddy, I can laugh at those scary bulky men, look at each other in despair when we’re sweating in spin and force each other to even turn up.

Attend classes

I am someone with zero motivation to work out. If I ache and I know I have one set of squats left, I just won’t do them. I’m also terrified of weights and gym machines. The solution to that? Classes. If there’s a friendly instructor telling me how to do everything, and everyone else is completing all the reps, it forces me to push myself.

Have an induction to the gym

One way to conquer the gym intimidation is to know what you’re doing. This is pretty hard when you don’t know what all the weird buttons do on the treadmill, or why the step machine is moving at fifty miles an hour. Gyms will offer a free gym induction showing you have to work all the machinery.  The scariest part of being in the gym is often not knowing what you’re doing and fearing looking like an idiot. An induction will help you know the equipment and make you feel more at ease.

Put it in your calendar

This is less likely to conquer gym fear, but rather force you to actually go to the gym. At the end of every week, my gym buddy and I schedule when we’re going to the gym. It might sound like an overkill, but it just means that we can’t chicken out or magically become busy. This minimises the chances of us saying we’ll ‘just go next week… or the week after’. If it’s in the diary, we’re much more likely to just suck it up and go. And let’s face it, the first step to defeating gym fear is actually going to the gym.

Find something you like

There are a lot of different ways to work out and a lot of different things on offer at the gym. Don’t worry if running is not your thing: it is definitely not mine. As my gym buddy and I waited for our first gym class, a group of elderly ladies started talking to us. They come most days and treat it as a social (they sit in the lounge area and bring bailey’s and biscuits for afterwards). They offered us a piece of advice, try everything at least twice. You might hate it because you’re not used to it, you might love it because it’s easy and then realise it’s too easy. Find something you enjoy, because if you enjoy it, chances are you’ll come back.

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