The day had finally arrived: I was going to attempt a solo trek to the gym.
I opened my GPS and searched for the nearest Steve Nash Fitness World in North Vancouver – where I happened to be at the time. Not only does my membership get me access to any of the facilities, but I was only six minutes away. Perfect.
I walked into the gym, all fired up to try the new routines I learned with my trainers. That is, until I noticed that the cardio area had been overtaken by a group of fitness models. They were all wearing trendy spandex and dripping sweat like you’d see in one of those slow motion music videos.
“Gym-timidation” is a fact of life.
Whether you’re nervous about walking into a new gym, looking silly on a machine, or picking up weights in a section usually dominated by muscle-hounds, insecurity can get the best of anyone.
Here are some tips if you’re a newbie hitting the gym solo:
Walk in prepared
Creating a complete plan beforehand will boost your confidence and help you feel grounded if all the equipment options feel overwhelming. Write down your plans and time limit, then commit.
A gym veteran knows how to occupy space without impeding on others. Don’t completely tie up two pieces of equipment at once. If the gym isn’t packed and you want to give your circuit a try, go for it. Just make sure that you trade off using the equipment in between sets with others who may be waiting. Also, don’t sit on your phone or interrupt others mid-set.
If you don’t know how to do something: ask
Maybe you didn’t book a session with a personal trainer today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. If you’re unsure of how to use a piece of equipment, either ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing, or seek out the help of one of the Steve Nash Fitness World trainers walking around the floor.
Get in and get out
While walking into the gym alone can feel like a strange runway show, remember everyone is there for their own reasons and likely not paying attention to yours. While you may feel like people are noticing that you don’t have a clue how to operate the machines or swing a kettlebell – they aren’t watching. Unless you accidentally let the weights fall off the ends of the barbell and it sounds like a gunshot…true story.
The bottom line: Handle yourself the same way you would at work or any other area of your life that brings you confidence, even if it feels like a stretch at first. You deserve to be there. Now put on a good song and handle business.