​What’s Your Mindset? How To Feel Confident In The Gym

By Kevin Jones

August 8, 2018   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

A friend of mine who recently shed 50 lbs shared his new diet. This lifestyle change not only helped him lose weight, but it also eliminated his need to take his high blood pressure medication. As far as his physical exercise, he made small adjustments to his activity level that included daily walks with his little Jack Russell Terrier.

I told him that if he wanted to go to the gym with me, I would be happy to show him my routine. I could even introduce him to some of the guys there. He declined.

“Oh no, I could never feel comfortable in the gym. I don’t even know what most of those machines do.”


gym motivation

This is not an uncommon mindset. People worry about going to the gym for a number of reasons, including the embarrassment of doing something wrong or for the way that they look.

How can someone get past their gym-phobia and start enjoying time spent there?

It is all about improving our gym confidence.

Maybe you have recently started attending the gym but limiting your activity to the treadmill or elliptical. While these are great tools for producing sweat, they are easy to plateau on.

To improve your cardiovascular strength (endurance) or your speed and see a continued growth in calorie burn, even if you wish to do a majority of your exercise on a treadmill or elliptical, you still have to build muscle. Excessive cardio will always burn calories, but a high-calorie burn will burn muscle tissue as well as fat tissue.

If a smaller, trim body is the goal, this might be fine. But if you’re hoping for a changed physique with a muscular appearance, you’ll need to become comfortable with weights.

Hands down, one of the most intimidating sections of the gym is the free weights section. This is primarily where you’ll find super ripped guys and girls putting in their gym time.

But that’s WHY they look the way they do.

They learned a thing or two about using free weights and started their journey, just like you, in strength training.

Use Education To Start Overcoming Gym Anxiety

Instead of stumbling into the free weights room and pumping a few hand weights until you get bored, study up!

There are so many fitness experts online sharing free information. Check out Youtube and put together a playlist of simple exercises you can perform in the free weights section.

If they’re hard to remember, take your playlist to the gym. Instead of paying for a personal trainer, you can train with experts online.

Hire A Trainer To Get You Started

If you’re lacking confidence in navigating the gym on your own, signing up for a few training sessions might just be the tool you need to get started. Trainers are an excellent resource for learning the ins and outs of the gym — from equipment location and how to use different machines to diet tips and workout formulation.

At the very least, you can definitely ask them to show you how to use a piece of equipment if you are unsure. Part of their job as gym trainers is to make sure their gym attendees do not injure themselves and bring on a lawsuit.

Watch What Other People Are Doing

The first time I went to the gym, I had no idea what I was doing. But I knew what I wanted my body to look like. So, I found the guy who fits that description, then I kept an eye on him.

By seeing his routine, I was able to build my own. I would research these exercises to make sure I understood how to do them correctly and work them into my own schedule.
This isn’t always a good idea.

There are many people in the gym (just like you) who don’t actually know what they are doing. They may seem like they’ve got it down when in reality, they are putting themselves at risk for injury. This is another great reason to research their techniques at home instead of hopping on the machine once they’re done and mimicking what you’ve seen them do.

Strike Up A Conversation

gym conversation

Sure, it’s intimidating waltzing up to the guy who is obviously strong and well versed in gym lingo. But I’ll let you in on a little secret — they want to talk about it.

People who spend a lot of time at the gym to achieve their toned and muscular physique aren’t bashful. Whether it’s pure pride or the simple enjoyment of helping others take the journey they themselves have found success on, these people are typically overjoyed to share some words of wisdom.

So, ask a few questions about what they’re doing. See what advice they offer you. I know if you walked up to me in the gym and asked a quick question, I’d chat your ear off and walk you through my whole routine. So, buyer beware!

In the end, your confidence will build naturally as you become more familiar with the gym. So, go ahead and prep yourself. Spend time at the gym and allow yourself to settle in before deciding how intimidated you should be. With these small bits of advice, you won’t have a hard time overcoming gym anxiety.

See Also: How to Stay Motivated at The Gym

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is a freelance writer, researcher and fitness instructor/consultant. Kevin has written extensively in the fitness and health industries, writing for companies such as NordicTrack & other influential health and wellness brands.

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