Picture this: You've made the decision to get fit and join a gym, you sign up and buy yourself some new runners. You're feeling very proud of yourself for taking charge of your fitness. But when you arrive at the gym for your first workout, you feel kind of self-conscious. You wonder if people are watching you, judging your form or thinking your choice of clothing is really daggy.
Suddenly you're filled with dread and all motivation to work out vanishes.
If you've ever felt like this, we promise you are not alone. 'Gymtimidation' is real life thing - and it's preventing way too many people from experiencing the joys (and health benefits) of exercise.
The good news is, gymtimidation is mostly in our heads so you really have nothing to fear. Don't let feeling self-conscious stop you from achieving your fitness goals.
Here are our top eight tips to beat it:
1. Say hello
It may feel scary, but befriend and chat to the trainers and instructors and let them know you're new. Start by making small talk and let them know your goals, how long it took you to walk into the gym and that you're new to the fitness side of things. These guys are experts and here to support you - that's why they're there. They'll guide you with machines, technique, can create a routine for you and even help you with nutrition questions. Plus everyone loves (and needs!) a gym buddy.
2. My eyes are up here
It's time to let you in on a little secret. No one is actually looking at you at the gym. Shocker I know. People go to the gym to focus on themselves and their goals, they're too busy concentrating on their own workout to notice yours. So just remember that the guy next to you couldn't care less about your huffing and puffing as you squat. So relax, and sweat like no one is watching. And if they do look at you, they're probably just jealous of your awesome technique or great leggings. If you're still nervous, bring a pal and you can train together.
3. Give me a F, give me an I, give me a T
It's time to be your own cheerleader. The busier you keep your mind getting yourself pumped and amped for your workout, the less time you'll have to be nervous about it. Play the most epic song you can think of (hello Beyonce) and walk in with sass and get ready. Your self cheering doesn't stop when you walk in the door either, set some alarms mid workout with encouragements and the support will help you stay motivated and focused.
4. Invest in some good active wear
It's no surprise that we love cute activewear, and it's also no surprise that when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you're more likely to want to work harder (and are less likely to care what others think). We vote you buy some stylish and quality activewear that makes you feel amazing. Buying clothes specifically for the gym can help make you make working out a priority. It's one of the best parts of going to the gym – shopping for new sports bras and leggings!
5. Commit to a Class
If you're not sure where to begin when you step foot into a gym, try a class. Sometimes the weight room or the cardio room can evoke the fear inside you, so take away the opportunity to second guess anything and head to a class.
The instructor will tell you what to do and will keep you motivated and supported throughout the workout. Not sure which class is for you? Try them all! From boxing to HIIT to dance to spin, you'll never get bored.
6. Plan! Plan! Plan!
Knowing what you want to do at the gym will help you focus (and stop you from worrying what others are thinking). Our KIC program includes a complete breakdown of every workout which means you can take us to the gym. You'll become more efficient with your time, too. Plus, think of the sense of accomplishment you'll feel once you've smashed out a workout. You'll look like a serious pro when you're smashing one of our workouts.
7. Grab a friend
Grab one of your like-minded gal pals and head to the gym together. Being accountable with another person means you're more likely to stick to your plan. This way you can learn about health and fitness together as well as having extra support and motivation.
8. Write down and focus on your goals
We all have to start somewhere. So, who cares if you can't run fast on the treadmill or lift heavy weights? You're there for you! Focus on your long-term goals and remember that each gym sesh is a step to reaching them.
Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw are the founders of KIC (Keep It Cleaner) health and fitness program.