Perhaps you’ve at the beginning of your fitness journey and have signed up at your local gym to get started. Maybe you’ve been working out at home for a while, but want to try training in the gym to mix things up. Or are you a regular gym-goer who is switching to a new facility or changing the time of your workout schedule

Whatever stage you’re at, all you know is that you can’t shake the feeling of being nervous. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

Gym nerves are perfectly normal. After all, you’re going into a new environment, with new people, and depending on your fitness level, working out or using equipment might be a brand new experience too. 

Rest assured, it will get easier, you’ll figure out what to do at the gym and the nerves will settle, but here are our top nine tips to help you feel more comfortable. 

Know that how you feel is normal

In any gym, it’s easy to look around and think that everyone knows what they are doing, but remember, how you feel is just a natural part of being a beginner. Everyone was a beginner once and would have felt the same way you do. Chances are, there are a few beginners around you too!

Be kind to yourself and have patience as you adjust to the new environment or learn how to use the equipment. Soon you’ll be walking into the gym without a second thought.

What To Do At The Gym

Focus on you

While you’re figuring out how the elliptical works, deciding which dumbbells are the right weight or learning to squat with good form, it’s common to feel self-conscious. 

Although it might take time to build your confidence, know that everyone is focused on themselves and their own workout. No one is judging you and you’re doing great! 

With clothing, think comfort

Sure, treating yourself to some brand new activewear can provide a great boost of motivation, but going to the gym definitely doesn’t mean you need the latest outfit, or to wear what everyone else is wearing. 

You want to be able to do your workout without any outfit hassles, so pick something that feels comfortable and won’t need constant adjusting (fixing your tights after every squat is NOT a fun time). Whether that’s leggings, shorts, sweat pants, a singlet, baggy tee, crop top, makeup or bare face - you do you.

Ask an expert

The gym staff are there to help and support you, so if it would make you feel more comfortable, don’t hesitate to speak to a staff member and ask for a tour of the facilities or for some help using the equipment you’re unfamiliar with. 

If your gym is busy, it can pay to contact them beforehand to organise a tour. There’s absolutely no shame in being new and they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Covid safety

If you’re keen to go to a gym but are worried about catching Covid or protecting others around you, ask the staff about their social distancing measures, cleaning, and any mask policies. 

Most gyms should have free wet wipes in each area, and it’s good gym etiquette to wipe down your equipment when you’re finished. 

What To Do At The Gym

Have a game plan

Once you know where everything is and how to use each piece of equipment, a great way to ease any nerves is to have a plan of what you will do when you get there. 

Do you need to visit a bathroom or locker room first to get changed or store your belongings? Will you be warming up on a treadmill, stationary bike, or perhaps a rowing machine? What equipment do you need for your workout? Do you need to bring any of your own equipment, such as a yoga mat or sweat towel, from home? Where in the gym will you do your training session? If the equipment, machines or area you want to use are occupied, do you have a plan B?

When you’re going into a brand new environment, feelings of uncertainty are very natural. Knowing where you’re going and what you’re going to do can help give you a sense of control, certainty and confidence.

When in doubt, start light

In any gym environment, there are going to be people who can lift heavy weights. Try not to compare yourself - your day one might be their day 500! If you’re not sure which weight is right for you, it’s always a safe bet to start with something that feels light - you can always increase the weight if it’s easy. This will help you nail your form and avoid injury too.

If it’s your first time using a barbell, you can even use the bar on its own without any extra weight plates. All Sweat programs give weight guides for each exercise too if you’re not sure where to start. 

Prepare an awesome playlist

Music can work wonders when it comes to shifting your mood and tuning out any distractions. Carve out some time to put together a playlist that will make you feel energised and confident.

Ask about women-only areas

Many gyms now have designated areas for women, which can provide a lot of comfort and be an enjoyable place to exercise if you’re feeling a bit nervous. Simply look online or ask a staff member. 

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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