A personal trainer reveals how to overcome gym intimidation

gym intimidation
Don’t let fear keep you
from fitness.

20th Century

  • Some people are intimidated by the gym. 
  • Personal trainer Jim White told INSIDER his tips for
    overcoming common gym fears and general gym
  • When all else fails, remember that you’re there to
    workout and get healthy just like
    everyone else. 

Motivating yourself to get to the gym is one thing, but feeling
comfortable and confident there is another. Body
shaming in gym marketing
and on social media is,
unfortunately, widespread and a reason why some people avoid the
gym entirely. But you shouldn’t let your fear of the gym,
intimidation of the machines, or negative self-talk keep you from
reaching your fitness goals. 

ACSM exercise physiologist and personal


 told INSIDER that it is possible
to get over gym-intimidation and start crushing your
workouts with confidence. Here are some of his tips for getting
over the fear ASAP. 

Take a tour. 

There are only so many pieces of equipment in one gym and taking
the time to get a tour from a professional will give you the
chance to ask questions without feeling awkward, according to

“Ask about different equipment and how to use it,” he said. “Also
ask about the dress code and what they recommend to bring with
you for your workout. Being familiar with the gym will bring

Don’t go during peak hours. 

A crowded gym is not an ideal time for newbies to try out
equipment and get acclimated. Heck, a packed gym isn’t fun
even for people who know what they’re doing. So it’s worth going
to the gym during weird hours. 

“Ask [or] call the front desk to see when their least busy times
are so the first few times you go, so you can get used to
everything in the gym and not feel like you’re in everyone else’s
way,” White said. 

Bring a buddy with you.

Exercise is always more fun with friends. White said having a
shoulder to lean on, both physically and emotionally, can give
you an extra boost of confidence in the gym. 

“Having someone to talk to [or] be with can help take away from
uncomfortable feelings,” he said. “This can be someone who
is already familiar with the gym or someone who will also be
starting their fitness journey who will be in the same situation
as you.”

Additionally, some studies have shown that working out
with a partner
that is equally or more motivated than
you can even lead you to workout more. 

Plus, if you go with someone who also just started working
out, you won’t feel like the only clueless person. 

Plan your workout beforehand. 

calendar planner
Write out your plan before you get to the


You know where the equipment is, when you’re going, and who’s
going with you to the gym. Now you have to figure out what you’re
going to do. 

You will feel less uncomfortable if you have a plan and
you aren’t just [sic] wandering around trying to figure out what
to do,” he said. “Do your research ahead of time, save the
pictures or videos onto your phone, and know what you’re going to
do going into the gym.” 

White recommended using YouTube to find workout ideas.
There are also workout plan resources online from trusted
sources like the
National Academy of Sports Medicine
 (NASM) and

the American Council on Exercise

Test out a trainer. 

Not everyone has the ability to afford a trainer, but White
recommends it if it’s in your budget . 

“They can get you into a normal routine and make you feel
comfortable because they show you how to do everything,” he said.
“And you will always have someone there with you.” 

Having this trusted professional with you will also allow you to
worry less about injuries and will allow you to get some feedback
on your programming. Some gyms might even offer you a free
consultation when you join, so take advantage of it if you

Bring your own playlist.  

making your playlist as long as your workout.


There is almost nothing more motivating than a good playlist.
Research shows that
music can distract your brain
and make you workout harder,
especially when listening to faster music, HuffPost reports.

Picking out your own songs is especially important. According to
a study done by professors at Brunel University,
songs that
you personally find motivating have the power to improve
your physical performance
because they are linked with
certain positive memories. 

And if social interaction is an issue, White noted that
keeping your earbuds in will also make people less likely to talk
to you.

In the end, White said that the most important thing to remember
is that everyone is at the gym for the same reasons. 

Every person in the gym once had
their first day, and many of them probably had mixed feelings of
starting their fitness journey there as well,” he said. “However,
since they went through it themselves, they know how it is.
Everyone is working towards their goals, and knows everyone else
is too. Do not feel discouraged – just go for it.” 

Read the original article on INSIDER. Follow INSIDER on Facebook. Copyright 2017. Follow INSIDER on Twitter.



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