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Feeling awkward and afraid to join a gym is normal.. you're not alone!

‘I’m so awkward, I’m afraid I will trip or won’t know how to use the machines’
Does that feel like you? Along with some of these common thoughts:

  • I don’t know what kind of clothes to wear.
  • I was useless at sport at school, this is going to be the same
  • I don’t like the way I look. I’m too fat to use the gym!
  • I don’t know how to lift a weight, I’ll look stupid..
  • What if I break a machine?
  • What if it’s crowded and I have to stand around waiting to use the equipment.. I’ll feel so uncomfortable.

If these are thoughts that run through your head, don't worry, it's not just you. The majority of women and indeed a lot of men, all feel the same. Most of us don’t have the time, energy or motivation to become a gym junkie and in reality those ultra keen exercisers are the minority within the gym rather than the majority. If you try and put these kind of negative thoughts aside, you will be suprised that most gym users have all felt the same at one time or another. Read on to find out some clever ways of sofening the blow of the first few sessions at your new gym until you get your confidence up and you start to feel at ease.

Safety in Numbers!
Persuade someone in your family or a good friend to join you in the fitness journey, as there’s no better motivation than a gym buddy! All of your feelings of anxiety will fade if you have someone to share it with and even see the funny side together. The added benefit of course is that you are much less likely to dip out of attending the gym if you have made a commitment to someone. Once you and your friend are into a routine that works for you both, you won’t even think about cancelling, you will look forward to the next session together.

Start Slow
Once in the gym, head for a piece of equipment you feel comfortable with, something like an exercise bike is a good place to start. Just make a promise to yourself to cycle for just 5 or 10 minutes. Most equipment has a ’quick start’ button, start pedalling and press this once, that is all you need to do to get going. This will give you a chance to look around and get your bearings. Most gyms will offer a gym orientation or gym induction, join one and you are likely to come away with at least 5 or 6 simple exercises that you could remember to do on your own. Dont worry about what anyone else is doing, just follow a simple routine until you feel comfortable to take on more.

Hire a Trainer
A good way to feel at home is to meet with a Personal Trainer for the first session or two. When you select them, get in contact via email or phone to establish their personality and style of training. Explain that you are completely new to the gym and you just want to learn the basics. You need to feel at ease with them, and able to ask any questions, even if you think they are stupid ones! So be careful in your selection and choose someone you feel understands your needs and who can adapt to you, after all you are the client!

Before you know it, the feelings of being out of place will fade and you will start to see physical signs of improvement in your fitness and you will feel the benefits of your gym membership. At that point you need to congratulate yourself as you have taken the hardest step, the first one.