Everyone has experienced the dreaded awkwardness of getting back to the gym after a long hiatus, or the first couple of weeks ever stepping foot into a health club. It’s scary – but you’re not alone (especially around the New Year)! Whether you’re intimidated by rock hard bodies or just feel like a lost puppy roaming around the gym, here’s a bulletproof guide that will help you feel right at home in no time.
1. Bring a friend
Find strength in numbers. Bringing a friend to the gym can keep you from feeling like all eyes are on you. Instead of walking around with a lost face, friends can keep you smiling with engaging conversation and help you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings. Most gyms offer extra guest passes at signup or throughout the duration of your membership. So ask a friend to come along – you might even land yourself a permanent workout buddy.
2. Just ask
You’ve probably already taken an initial club tour, but all of the information might be hazy at this point (“how do I use that exercise contraption again?”). Don’t be shy – ask away! Chances are that your questions have been asked many times before (there’s no stupid question). Whether you’re curious about when group classes are being held, how to use strange looking equipment or you just need extra assistance in getting fitness results – trainers, membership counselors and front desk staff are always eager to help. Getting to know the employees at your health club will help you feel the comfort and support you need to get a good workout in.
3. Plan your workout
As the old saying goes “If you fail to plan, plan to fail”. When nerves kick in, you’re likely to draw blanks when it comes to navigation around the gym and just give up & leave. Contact your nearest trainer and ask them to show you a quick 15 or 30 minute routine – that’s what trainers are for! Keep your new plan in your smartphone fitness app or typed in your notes, and follow up with your trainer friend for a more personalized approach. Planning ahead will help keep you focused and less concerned with what’s going on around you.
4. Dress the part
Look like a pro, feel like a pro. Think about it – would you feel more confident giving a big presentation in jeans and an old tank top, or a fancy suit? Walking around the gym in your old college t-shirt wont boost your confidence or help you overcome your anxiety. So go ahead and splurge a bit – those shiny Nike shoes and fancy Lululemon top will give you the extra confidence you need to workout a little harder, and for a little longer.
5. Take a class
Join the club. Fitness classes automatically put you into a group mentality that’s hard to find on the workout floor. Not only that, it’s almost impossible not to meet a few new friendly gym-goers before and after class times. Starting a new membership by attending various group fitness classes is also a sneaky way of becoming more familiar with navigating new territory – on your way to and from your spin or yoga class, check out where all of the equipment and machinery is laid out so you don’t have to wander when you finally feed ready to crush it on the workout floor.