How To Feel Less Awkward In The Gym, According To Trainers Who Know What You're Going Through
Who hasn't been in the gym and felt totally out of place? There are so many machines, so many strangers looking serious and sweaty, and so many personal trainers who you're positive are side-eyeing your form. Well, same, girl. Being a beginner at the gym (or heck, just continuing to feel #uncomfies exercising in public, even if you've been doing it for a while) is totally normal. Exercise is kind of a personal thing, you know? But rest assured, figuring out how to feel less awkward at the gym is totally doable, and will probably make your experience pumping iron and doing your thing on the elliptical all the more enjoyable.
According to personal trainer Matt Weik, of Weik Fitness, LLC, the less you focus on others, and the more you focus on yourself, the better off you'll be overall. "Your workouts are a time to focus on your health and fitness," Weik tells Elite Daily. And the whole point is that the experience should be enjoyable for you, or at the very least, comfortable enough that you don't leave early out of sheer awkwardness.
It's a serious struggle to feel like the "odd exerciser out" at the gym, but you can breathe a sigh of relief, because Elite Daily spoke with a few different experts who've got you covered and can make the whole experience a total breeze. Here's how to feel more comfortable at the gym if it's usually awkward AF for you.
Remember Your Reason For Going To The Gym In The First Place
Whether you're there to get out some pent-up energy after work or to train for a marathon, whenever you start to feel awkward at the gym, focus on that sense of purpose that brought you there in the first place. "Something gym-goers need to think about are the reasons they, personally, are going to the gym," Weik tells Elite Daily. Because, chances are, he says, whatever the reason may be, there are probably plenty of people at the gym who are going for that exact same reason.
Many people have the same goals in mind, he points out. Once you can get that through to the little voice inside your head, you'll realize no one is actually there to judge you or make you feel less-than in any way.
Take The Tour Of The Gym
According to Jeanette DePatie, a trainer and the creator of Every BODY Can Exercise, when you first join a gym, go ahead and take that tour they'll inevitably offer you. "Many gyms have a free orientation with a staff member or personal trainer to show you the gym and machines and how everything works," she tells Elite Daily.
While this tour probably won't set up your fitness routine for you, she says, it's a good idea to take the tour before your first workout day so you know where things are, and what the general flow of the place is like before you start exercising there.
Remember You Can Just Observe Before You Try Anything
There's no need to throw yourself into hot pilates or advanced Zumba if you know nothing about it. "I always think it's a good idea to watch a class for a session before you decide to join," says DePatie. That way, she explains, if it really is too hard, or it just isn't right for you, you don't have to slink out, or worse, do too much too soon and injure yourself.
Ask the teacher of a class you're interested in if you can observe before you decide to join, DePatie says. In her experience, most teachers are totally fine with this.
Going With A Buddy Makes It So Much Better
This is kind of true for most things in life, right? Well, according to Dr. Alex Tauberg, of Tauberg Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, it definitely applies to your gym sessions. If you're self-conscious about working out at the gym, he recommends bringing a buddy along. "Going with a friend can take your mind off how you look while at the gym," he tells Elite Daily, "and will help you focus more on your workouts."
Plus, you'll probably laugh a lot, too, which is, you know, always good for the stomach muscles, right?
Start Your Workout With Something Familiar
Dr. Tauberg also recommends, for the first 10 to 20 minutes that you're at the gym, doing an exercise you're really familiar with, like running on the treadmill or getting on the exercise bike.
"This will help you settle in with something you are familiar with, and as you settle in, you will feel more comfortable," he says. "Then you can move on to new things."
Feel The Fear, And Do It Anyway
Trust in the fact that, at one point or another, everyone feels lost at the gym. Even someone who seems like a total pro to you had to have had a first day themselves.
"Everybody feels nervous when they start a new exercise routine or start at a new gym," DePatie tells Elite Daily. "Accept this fear as a normal rite of passage, and work through it!"