It’s easy to feel intimidated when you’re new to working out or you join a new gym, but don’t let that stop you in your tracks. Chassidy Smothers has the tips you need to smash your fitness fears.
While I was in the Army and stationed overseas in South Korea, I developed a great habit of filling my free time with exercise. I could literally see the gym from my barrack room, so I had no excuse not to go. But when I got there, I would only do cardio because I was so afraid of the weights room. It was almost completely full of men and I had no experience lifting weights.
I was afraid of doing an exercise wrong and looking foolish, so I avoided it for two years. It wasn’t until I was stateside again that I realised I had to overcome this fear if I really wanted to develop my confidence and change my body. Here’s what helped me do just that.
Have a plan
Know exactly what you want to do in the gym ahead of time. You can research how to do each exercise properly before you get to the gym. This will help you avoid the anxious feeling of not knowing if you’re doing something right.
Because of my experience with this very feeling, I created my @WorkoutsbyChassidy Instagram database. It has more than 100 exercise video tutorials showing the proper techniques and forms, as well as complete fitness programmes. Bodybuilding.com/exercises is another great resource for beginners. Review your programme and exercises before you get there and you’ll arrive at the gym with confidence.
Get into the zone
I recommend finding your zone by creating a playlist that helps you escape your surroundings. Add tracks that you feel motivated by, tunes that get you excited or songs in which you can lose yourself while listening to them. I like to pair loud music with a great pre-workout supplement. Some pre-workouts are designed to not only give you an extra push and pump, but also to help you focus.
Keep your eye on the prize
That prize is you, so don’t allow your eyes to wander. Concentrate on what you’re doing and visualise yourself attaining your goal. Avoid looking around at others, because you don’t want to become discouraged if you don’t look like them. Heck, they might be doing the exercise wrong and you don’t want to imitate that, so stay focused on your own actions.
See the gym for what it really is
For some reason we get it in our heads that everyone in the gym is judging us. We think we have to be perfect before we even arrive, but the gym actually is the place for us to make progress and to work to become better. Everyone is there to improve in some aspect.
My last tip for overcoming gym anxiety is to constantly remind yourself that despite how you may feel, everyone started somewhere. Other people are not judging you for being new or imperfect. On the contrary, you have the respect of others for being there and striving to become your best self. There are others who haven’t even made it that far.
Find health tips and more in every issue of TRAIN for HER magazine.