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6 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Going to the Gym


written by Michelle January 8, 2018

Getting fit is one of most popular New Year’s resolutions, especially for those of us who had a fun, but perhaps overly indulgent holiday season. Working out for the first time can be scary, especially if you’re thinking of joining a new gym. The thought of going into a busy gym where everyone seems to know what they’re doing except you be overwhelming.

You may worry that experienced gym-goers will be judging your fitness level or body type. You may be intimidated by the variety of machines and equipment. No matter how your fear of going to the gym manifests itself, you can overcome it with a little preparation. Here are 6 simple tips to help you conquer your fear of going to the gym.

Choose the right gym for you – Take the time to research potential gyms before committing to one. Most gyms offer free trial passes that let you test drive their facility before making a long term commitment. Make sure they have the equipment you need, and if you’re interested in group classes, see which ones they offer and make sure the schedule works for you. Knowing that a gym will meet your needs will help calm your nerves and ensure that it’s a good fit for you in the long run.

Take advantage of the tour and free orientation session – If you didn’t tour the facility before joining, make sure you schedule a tour before your first visit. Most gyms also offer free orientation sessions or initial training programs for new members. These can be excellent opportunities to familiarize yourself with the gym’s layout and to learn how to use a few key pieces of equipment, which will increase your comfort level and get you started.

Make an appointment with a personal trainer – If you are brand new to working out, schedule an appointment with a personal trainer. Over the course of a few sessions, they can teach you how to use equipment, set you up with a fitness or workout routine, and answer any questions you might have. Being knowledgeable will help you be more confident in the gym and will ensure that your workouts are as safe and effective as possible.

Plan your first few visits during non-peak hours – Choose non-peak times to visit the gym until you’re more comfortable. A less busy gym is a lot less intimidating than a busy one. You’ll be able to make it through your workout with less pressure and you’ll be able to take your time.

Wear headphones during your workout – Music is a great way to calm anxiety, increase your confidence, and help you focus inward. Bring your favourite playlist, grab a set of headphones, and find something upbeat to workout to.

Don’t compare yourself to others – Try not to compare yourself to others. You don’t know where anyone else started, and you don’t know their story. The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself. Focus on making today better than your yesterday, and gauge your progress on what you accomplish.

Going to the gym can be scary for anyone, especially for someone beginning their fitness journey. Don’t let fear keep you from achieving your goals. Use the tips above to overcome your fear of going to the gym and be proud that you took the first step.

Michelle Vodrazka
Owner, PRO Trainer, Nutritionist

Michelle Vodrazka is an internationally recognized personal trainer, fitness instructor, nutritionist, with over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. She is a national fitness competitor and best-selling author of three healthy eating cookbooks.