Scared of the Gym - Overcoming Workout Intimidation

Hey y'all! Can you believe we are already more than halfway through May?? Where has the time gone? This week's topic came from an idea from my sister - gym or workout intimidation. I think we all have experienced this at some point in our lives and if you haven't, then you need to just go away and be awesome alone haha...I jest. I recently experienced this when I started back at the gym at my apartment complex. It's not a huge gym, maybe 700-800 square feet of space with cardio machines, free weights, and a few weight lifting machines. But it had been almost 2 years since I stepped into any form of gym or public workout setting. And I was scared. It was a Monday so I knew people would be in there after work. What if they saw me and thought, "What's this whale doing in here? Boy is he doing that workout wrong? That's now how you're supposed to do that." I have an oddly irrational (or maybe not) fear of being one of those memes or videos that people make fun of other people at the gym. Not gonna lie. But I also am not a gym expert and really don't know what I'm doing most of the time. You can google your ass off for workout how to's or videos but because you haven't done them yourself, you have no idea if you're doing them correctly.

Here are a few ways that I overcome this fear:

  1. Just do cardio. I mean, we all know how to walk on a treadmill, ride a bike, or semi-know how to use an elliptical. Just do that! Now for me, this isn't so easy because I'm 99.9% sure I'm over weight limit for those machines and that usually draws more attention to me (insert cry-laughing emoji). So I will just a do a quick walking warm up and listen to some awesome pump-up music to go do weights.
  2. Stick to free weights or dumbbells. Now, this one you will want to do a small amount of research on for form purposes. You don't want to injure yourself with incorrect posture or form. But honestly, I throwback to old high school days or even watching TV and do bicep curls, shoulder fly things, and tricep curls (kickbacks? push-backs?). I at least know how to do that for the most part. One cool thing my friend showed me was to do bicep curls but do them in 7s. You do a mini/half curl from the bottom to the middle 7 times, middle to top 7 times, and then full curl 7 times. It burns so good!!
  3. Get a workout buddy! This is my favorite one because I have done more with my friend, Meredith, at the gym than I ever would alone. She's a great distraction from being nervous of others looking at me but she also makes me comfortable so my guard is down. But it's great to workout with a buddy because there is no judgement, we are both sweating our asses off (usually), and we still get to spend time together that isn't around a meal. My favorite activity to do with her was going to Spin Class. I really miss spin, it's hard as heck, but it was so much fun. I would NEVER go by myself because I'm too chicken :) Case in point.
  4. Hire a personal trainer. If you have the financial means for it, hire a personal trainer or go to a group activity that is more one on one (similar to Camp Gladiator or OrangeTheory). One nice thing is that this person *usually* genuinely wants you to become better. They will correct your form, they will show you what and how you need to do it, and the only reason people would be looking at you is because they are trying to figure out the exercises you are doing for themselves - not that I have done that in any way, shape, or form. :)
  5. Grab some great tunes and do you! Let's be honest, other than those guys who have arms larger than my thighs or the girls who are super toned and thin, almost no one knows what they are doing. If they did, they should be focused more on their workout than looking at you! And hey, I have had a workout I've either seen on Biggest Loser or on a cool video on Instagram that I don't quite know how to do and I've asked one of the trainers for assistance or one of the regulars I see often. They would be willing to help you! (And if you are single, it's a great way to meet people!!)

I know it's not easy and it's definitely scary to put yourself out there. But maybe you are actually really good at doing a workout or enjoy a class that you never would've known had you not tried. And now-a-days, there are so many fitness apps and blogs that you can find great workout plans on that will do step by step - if that's your personal trainer, by all means do it.

I hope some of these suggestions help. It's hard for things to change overnight but I want you to remember this: you are taking that step for you and no one else. You are entering that gym for you and no one else. You are making this change for you and no one else.

As the great American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, television personality, and author RuPaul Chales once said, "If they aint payin' yo bills, pay them b*tches no mind."

LOVE you all!