When I started my journey it was summertime and I spent a lot of time walking outside enjoying nature. When the end of October hit and the weather got colder (and it started getting darker sooner), I knew I was going to have to take myself to the gym to keep the momentum going. Let me just tell you, November was not a good month on the exercise front. I went to the gym maybe 4 times that month, blaming it mostly on scheduling issues (more on that later), but really, I was just scared to go to the gym.
Why was I scared to go to the gym? I think there were a few reasons, but mostly I just felt awkward. I had never gone to the gym consistently for more than a few weeks at a time, and I usually just kind of wandered around aimlessly anyways because I didn’t really know where to start. Eventually I got it together and have been consistently going to the gym 6 days a week for the last couple of months. If you struggle with fear of the gym, here are some things that helped get and keep me there!
One of the things I worried about when I first started going to the gym was nervous about other people watching me or “worrying” about what I was doing. I’m here to tell you, nobody cares. Seriously, everyone in the gym is too worried about what they’re doing to be worried about what other people are doing, and if they’re worried about you, then they probably aren’t accomplishing much themselves.
Figure Out What You Like
I think it’s important to find out what you like, set your goals around that, and go from there. If you aren’t sure what you like try a few group fitness classes (recruit a friend if you’re nervous to go alone) and see if anything sticks. Ask friends what they like doing or start looking up stuff on the internet. Sometimes finding what you like takes a little trial and error, but it makes a huge difference. If you find something you like to do at the gym, you’ll be more inclined to go because you’ll be excited to do it!
Have a Plan
Sometimes part of the intimidation of going to the gym comes from just not know what you’re doing and where to start. Once you’ve gotten an idea of what you like to do and what your goals are, look up different plans centered around that activity. If you feel overwhelmed by all of the options online and have the means, consider meeting with a trainer! I had no idea what I should be doing as far as strength training goes, so I set up an appointment with a personal trainer, we went over my goals, and he gave me a plan to work on. I can’t afford to see a PT every week, but I set something up to meet with him about once a month to change up my strength plan. You may only be able to do every 3 months, or 6 months, and that’s okay! If you can’t afford a trainer at all that’s okay too, there are a lot of free and cheap fitness apps that you can use to help you start a plan!
I love my early morning crew at my local Y, part of what makes me excited to go every day is knowing I’m going to see my gym buddies! This may be harder if you’re more introverted, but don’t be afraid to talk to people at the gym. If you aren’t sure about a particular machine around you, ask someone nearby for help. Say hi as you pass people in the locker room or on your way out to the floor. I mean, if someone is obviously very intensely in the zone you don’t have to strike up a full conversation, but the more you go, the more likely you are to see the same people (especially if you go at a set time). Interacting with those people makes for excellent accountability when it comes to going to the gym regularly and also opens you up to meet some pretty awesome folks!