Gyms can be intimidating for various reasons but before you write them off, follow these 5 tips for building confidence in the gym.
There is a formality to the 4 walls of a gym that directly contributes to your success. It is a destination – a designated area for specific work. Home gyms are fantastic for convenience and flexibility, but the average person limits themselves if they avoid the gym. Fitness centers have a plethora of equipment that is designed specifically for the exercises you perform on or with them. They take into account load distribution, body size, and movement angles. In one of our locations, we have 3 different leg press machines! Why? It certainly isn’t because we forgot we already had one and bought another! It’s because each one is slightly different in how it stresses the body.
Barbells, dumbbells, cables, machines, kettlebells, and everything else are all tools at your disposal.
The great thing about having so many tools is you can always get the job done!
Tip #1 – Commit to consistency
If you don’t do something consistently you can’t say it doesn’t work. You’ve got to give the gym a fair shot so start by committing to working out regularly. Simple, right? We’ll worry about what to do in the gym next but it starts with the commitment to working out consistently. Some gyms require a 12 month contract and others are month to month. There are some big named purple gyms that market the lack of commitment required. Um, excuse me? How else would you ever see results?
YOU must be committed to the gym in order for the gym to work for you. Just because you pay $10 a month doesn’t mean you’ll get stronger or lose weight. It just means you forgot to cancel what you weren’t committed to. Start with 3 workouts per week, each an hour. You’ll already be more confident walking in the doors because it is something you decided to do and you just took the first step to succeeding.
Tip #2 – Plan a strategy
The biggest reason we see people fail to get results is not for a lack of effort – it is a lack of strategy. Contrary to what many believe, sweat and soreness are not indicative of results. If you don’t know how to strategize your time and effort optimally, consult with a trainer! I take my car to the mechanic because if I try to fix it myself I’ll end up needing to ride-share everywhere! The same is true for your fitness strategy. A professional is always better than an amateur.
Plan out what you’ll do on those 3 days in the gym from start to finish. The first 10 minutes may be a warm-up, followed by 30 minutes of strength training. Perhaps you end the session with 25 minutes of cardio and 5 minutes of stretching. Get more detailed in your strategy by outlining what you’ll do for each of those components. Having a strategy will keep you focused in the gym so you’ll feel and look more confident!
Tip #3 – Fix your mindset
You don’t have to go to the gym, you get to go to the gym! Your fitness regimen is a form of self-care so this is you time! A great thing about the gym being a destination is you can compartmentalize things a big and allow yourself to focus on your health and fitness for an hour a day (or 3 days a week). Try to be aware of how you think and consciously change your thoughts. I’m not talking about motivation here, I’m talking about a cognitive choice. As you get results from employing a solid strategy consistently, you’ll become more intrinsically motivated anyway. Learn to think about your gym time as an opportunity to accomplish something, to feel better, to de-stress, and for self improvement. This will quickly and immediately boost your confidence in the gym.
Tip #4 – Track your progress
Tracking what you do in the gym is not for busy work. It keeps your mind actively engaged in the physical work. Have you ever seen someone ‘riding’ on an elliptical with wild Gumby legs? I promise they aren’t aware of the machine’s resistance level let alone their own exertion level. Knowing the variables you’ll track and paying attention to them ensures your work effort is on point. Otherwise, you’re going through the motions and that won’t provide for optimal results. Tracking your progress also allows you to identify the stressors providing the best adaptive response and those that are lackluster. You can not change what you do not measure. You’ll now have confidence because you’ll have ownership of this process.
Tip #5 – Get over yourself
Other people are not concerned about you in the gym. Read that again. We’re human and it’s natural to be self conscious or anxious in a new environment but be logical. Other people probably aren’t even looking at you. And if they are who cares?! Go back to your mindset for a second and think about this. If they’re looking at you maybe it’s because they’re inspired by how hard you’re working! Maybe they’re trying to learn from you since you are there working with your strategy and are clearly focused on your work.