Walking into a new gym or a group class can sometimes be intimidating. I know when I decided to join Dragonfly several years agoI was so scared. It took me months of driving past the studio before I actually signed up. I figured surviving the first class was going to be a long shot, but I knew I needed to make changes for myself. I remember driving there for the first time and thinking that was the quickest 6 minutes of my life. How did I get here so quickly? I wasn’t ready for this! I sat in my car for what seemed like an eternity and thought about of all the reasons I could think of not to go in. Eventually I quieted those voices…well, brought them down to whisper and walked through the door. (A secret between you and I, I can sometimes still here those voices. It’s human nature.)
Inside there were all these new faces, equipment I had no clue what to do with (kettle what?), and the coach’s explanation sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking to me. I was so scared that everybody was looking at me and laughing at my lack of coordination, how out of shape I was and that I would never be able to remember all the moves I had to do. Well, in reality…all the moves were on the board so no need to remember all of them (whew), and all the new faces were friendly faces (and recognized the deer in headlights look I had and understood). The trainer’s explanation actually sounded nothing like Charlie Brown’s teacher, and most importantly they were beyond helpful and encouraging.
The biggest thing I figured out and figured out quickly was, no one other than the trainer was looking at me. So no one was laughing at me, no one was judging me or wondering why I was here. In fact it was the opposite! Everyone was pretty much focused on doing their workout and when they were looking, it was to cheer me on and tell me “You got this!” And guess what, I survived my 1st class and many classes since that first day.
Suffering from gym intimidation is a very common thing and the reason why many people never get the courage to start a workout regimen. Here are some things to remind yourself of when feeling nervous about starting a workout routine or returning after a hiatus (due to any number of reasons):
- Everyone has had her first day in the gym. Even if you feel like you are surrounded by people who know exactly what they are doing, just remember at one time they were in the same place as you and had to learn how to do all the movements with proper form. So don’t worry — one day in the not so distant future you will look like an expert to someone coming in for her 1st class.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The only way we learn is to ask questions and make sure we have a good understanding of the information.
- Set some goals for yourself. Make sure they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound) goals. If you are a beginner to working out then keep your goals simple. If you are returning to the gym after a long hiatus then make sure you are realistic with your goals.
- Take your time and get comfortable with the movements. You are taking the time to invest in yourself, so don’t blow through your movements and not get the full benefit of each one. Who cares if you are the last person done with the workout. You are here for you, not everyone else.
- SO with that being said, my biggest tip is – You are not competing against anybody. You are here today doing the best workout that you can do for this particular day and that is it.
Like the saying goes “every journey begins with one small step.” Each day you walk into the gym that is your small step for that day of your journey. Some days will be great, other days not so much. It’s o.k., that is how it goes sometimes. Just do not stop putting one foot in front of the other. I think you will surprise yourself how far you will go in a month, few months, or year’s time.
You Got This!