Getting in shape can be very difficult for a lot of people. Sometimes, a healthy diet is not enough to shed the unwanted pounds, and even daily home exercises can show little to no results. When this happens, most people believe that going to the gym is the solution, so that they can burn away calories while also chiselling their bodies into their dream figures.
Attending a gym for the first time can be a stressful and intimidating experience for a whole variety of reasons. In this article, we have teamed up with our good friends at Rec Xpress to discuss some of the most common challenges for newbie gym-goers as well as how to fare well against them.
The Large, Open Spaces
As a general rule, people like to keep their privacy. However, it is hard to keep your work-out private at the gym because it is mostly made up of open spaces and everyone else can easily see your routines. The areas for exercising are usually open for everyone, with cardio machines, treadmills, elliptical trainers and even weighing stations set up for sharing. As such, it can be quite difficult to go a day at the gym without worrying about interacting with other gym members, even more so for people who identify as introverts.
In order to beat this feeling, you might want to consider signing up to a smaller gym first. A smaller gym means there will be fewer people to work out with, and that can serve as a good start until you feel more comfortable doing your routines in front of other people. You can also try scouting the gym for hours where there are fewer people than usual so that you will work out with a smaller crowd. A smaller crowd also ensures that there will be higher chances for you to use every equipment available. Additionally, getting familiar with the equipment can also be challenging for most first-timers, so learning how to use basic gym machinery at a smaller gym can be better than visiting a large fitness centre only to be embarrassed upon finding difficulty running the treadmill.
Aggressive Gym Trainers and Advertisers
Have you ever been approached by fitness advertisers while strolling at the mall, or simply walking by one of the fitness establishments? Gym trainers and advertisers can be quite aggressive at times, and the unwanted pressure can scare people off instead of recruiting them. Ideally, you will tell them firmly if you are not interested and move on, but not everyone has the courage to do that, so instead a lot of people end up signing memberships when they are not even sure they can commit. If you find yourself cornered into signing a membership, always consider whether you can actually take the pressure from these people on a weekly (or daily, even) basis since they will be the same people present every time you visit the gym to work out. The short-term fix of signing up can be greatly outweighed by the long-term consequences if you end up joining a gym prematurely.
Choosing the Right Gym
Another reason why some people lose interest quickly after a session or two is because they were not able to scout the right gym for themselves. There are different types of gyms, each serving specific purposes for fitness. You need to be clear with your fitness goals first so that you will have greater chances of finding the proper gym – there are gyms that cater better for powerlifting, gyms with trainers and facilities better suited for women, and gyms built for group exercises, among others. Visit several gyms until you find one that you feel most comfortable with, as it will be an important factor in how consistent your sessions will be.
The Solo Experience
If you still feel too anxious about going to the gym, the next best thing would be to not do it alone. Bringing a friendly face with you can make the experience a lot more bearable, and it is always less embarrassing to try out new things together than alone. If other gym members or trainers start to be intimidating, you and your friend can rely on each other for motivation and strength. Exercising together also lightens the mood since you won’t feel too pressured with finishing because someone is there to wait for you. As an added bonus, a lot of gyms offer better deals when signing up in pairs or larger groups.
Remember that you are going to the gym to improve yourself and not to impress anyone else, so it is important that you feel no pressure from other gym members. Besides, nobody expects you to be a certified gym rat from day one.