5 Tips For Using Workout Machines At The Gym If You're Intimidated AF By Them

by Georgina Berbari

If you walk into the gym and automatically feel like there's a magnetizing energy force pulling you toward the elliptical, I feel you, fam. TBH, a lot of the other workout machines in the gym kind of look like distant cousins of Transformers, and I know I personally used to avoid them at all costs. But, once you get more familiar with how to use workout machines at the gym, you'll be able to file a friendly divorce with the trusty elliptical, and conquer your fear of the awesome, (albeit robot-esque) muscle-sculpting machines your gym has to offer.

Seriously though, I used to fantasize about hopping on the leg press, or making the Smith machine my b*tch. It was especially tricky in college, and the iron-clad area of the gym was populated with well-trained athletes and experienced body builders, so the chances of my lanky and intimidated self sauntering over to the mystifying machines were slim to none.

But the day I decided to break up with my usual "safe" machines, and begin to navigate the "scarier" machines, was the day I realized that the nerves were actually all in my head.

Here are five tips to make those seemingly mysterious gym contraptions way less complicated, and help you ditch your familiar and safe cardio machines once and for all.

Remember That You're Not The Only One Who's Not An "Expert" At This

You've heard of "beer goggles," right? Well, you, my friend, have what I like to call "gym machine goggles."

What I mean is that you're most likely only zoning in on the people who are navigating the gym equipment with total ease, and failing to realize that the majority of people are intimidated AF — just like you!

Half the people on the machines are probably googling YouTube tutorials on their phone while pretending to nonchalantly text their friend. And the other half are most likely right next to you on the treadmill, trying to muster up the courage to hop off, like you are.

Plus, everyone starts somewhere. Remind yourself that all the "pros" were in your exact mindset a few months or years ago.

You got this, girl.

Don't Be Afraid To Speak Up

Believe me, I get it — the unfamiliar layout of the gym, crowded with iron-clad machines, can honestly feel like playing a confusing game of Tetris. But asking for help is totally OK, and encouraged!

Whether it's a friendly-looking person who just used a machine that you're attempting to navigate, or a staff member at your fitness center, people are usually more than willing to give advice and provide some knowledgeable guidance.

Be Sure To Make Adjustments

OK, so once you actually make your way to your coveted machine, it can be tempting to hop right on and get that sh*t over with as quickly as possible.

But if the dude who used it before you was an aggressively tall basketball player, you'll probably find yourself suspended mid-air in the middle of your workout.

Be sure to make adjustments to your machine before you get on, so it fits your body like a glove. This might mean moving the seat, or maneuvering the joints of the machine — whatever it is, you should feel 100 percent comfortable when you're sweating it out.

Pro tip: Don't be afraid to continue making further adjustments if something feels off half-way through the workout.

Check The Weight Stack Beforehand

For machines like the chest press or cable biceps bar, there's a weight stack attached, which allows you the ability to insert a pin depending on how heavy you want it to be.

Always check where the pin is beforehand, because someone before you most likely had it heavier or lighter than you'll want to lift.

Also, taking down some notes on your phone for how much weight you used on different machines will really help you remember your adjustments for next time. Plus, it'll let you see how much progress and #gains you're making.

Confidence Is Key

At the end of the day, confidence is the major key here.

If you pretend you're confident as all hell even when you're not, eventually, you'll begin to believe it, believe in yourself, and maybe even inspire other intimidated fitness fanatics to try something new.

Fake it 'til you make it, amirite?

Peace out, elliptical. It's been real.