If you're anything like me when I first started going to a gym, you walk in thinking everyone knows you're a newbie, that they're judging your every move and that they're waiting for you to accidentally swing a kettle bell into the wall so they can laugh at you.
Going to the gym can be scary, but don't be gymtimidated!
Maybe it's not your first time in the gym. Maybe you skipped a few weeks, a few months or maybe even years, and your body is in a different place than you remember.
Whatever it is that is keeping you from feeling amazing at the gym, there are ways to crush those fears and boost your confidence so you can walk in like the winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race."
Here are a few things that helped me feel confident while going back to the gym:
Plan it out
Like most things in life, you shouldn't just dive in willy-nilly, flap your arms and feet around and then expect to reach the shore.
Figuring out beforehand exactly what machines or weights you would like to use saves you from that awkward moment of standing in the middle of the gym overwhelmed and confused.
If you don't know what the gym has to offer, there is usually staff happy to give a tour of the facilities, and it's also a great excuse to flirt with a trainer.
Knowing exactly what you are going to do when you walk in also helps you map out which areas to focus on for each day.
You don't want to do three leg days in a row and then end up crawling on all fours to brunch.
It takes some research and time, but in the long run, you will be more knowledgeable about which exercises to do for the results that you want.
Knowledge plus power equals owning it.
If you need help learning which type of exercise fits your wants and needs, you could start with a personal trainer until you feel comfortable on your own.
Even just three personal training sessions can be enough to boost your knowledge and confidence. The struggle is real, so having a professional give you specific advice for your body changes everything.
Preferably, you should find someone with a certification and many years of experience, but if that's not in your budget, find a friend who is fitness savvy to give you a few tips or at the least recommend their favorite workouts.
There are also gyms that will give small group sessions, so you have a bit of one-on-one attention while also sweating it out with a buddy and saving some dough.
I personally love classes because no matter what level you are at, you can get an amazing workout.
It's also encouraging to see other people struggling with the bazillion bicep curls followed up by, “Is this trainer insane?” power lunges.
The instructors are often personal trainers as well, so they will explain the most beneficial way to do the exercises and avoid getting hurt.
Another benefit to a big group class is there's less pressure on you to perform perfectly. You may get a specific correction here and there, but for the most part, the teacher will give out general corrections for everyone to follow.
This is especially true for a Zumba class where direction is being given quickly, and as long as you are moving, you are doing it right!
There are so many different types of fitness classes to choose from that you are bound to find something that makes you feel strong and beautiful.
The right music can make a world of difference.
Everyone has that artist or band that pumps them up, so having a playlist ready when you slip on those sneakers will get you off to a great start.
Having an upbeat tempo will not only hold your interest for longer and make the time fly by, but it also gives you a pace to follow while running, biking or whatever type of cardio you love.
I like to listen to Destiny's Child and Black Eyed Peas when I run. It's kind of cheesy, but I feel as fabulous as Fergie and it works, so why change it?
I have a friend that swears by heavy metal and another friend who listens to musical theatre. All that matters is you are jamming out and having a great time.
Just try not to play it so loud that you can't hear the oncoming traffic or the person behind you screaming, “Excuse me, can I use that after you?”
Find the perfect outfit
It may seem silly to put effort into an outfit that you're just going to drench with sweat, but wearing something you feel cute in automatically improves your mood.
Most gyms have mirrors everywhere so you can check your form. So, why not wear something that accentuates what you got going on and makes you think, “Oh, who's that hottie staring at me?”
It's you staring at your gorgeous self!
Don't worry about spending a ton of money, either. Most department stores have some sort of fitness line, so there is no reason to go spend $100 on a pair of jogging shorts.
(Unless that's your thing, and in that case, could you get me a pair while you're at it? K, thanks.)
In general, form-fitting pants look great on everyone, which is why leggings are so popular.
For tops, I tend to gravitate towards camis with fun patters or bright colors that are semi-loose so as to not accentuate my stomach area, since that's what makes me feel insecure.
Try on all types of styles. You may be surprised by the options for adorable fitness wear.
Me, myself and I
Above everything, remember it's all about you.
A few times in my yoga class, the instructor has suggested focusing completely inward and to not pay attention to anyone else in class.
This is a time to focus on how your body feels.
It's amazing that you're making an effort to be active, and doing so will lead to living a long and healthy life!
Who cares what Mr. Veiny Biceps thinks of you? He's too into himself to notice anyone else around, and you should be doing the same.
Flaunt it, work it and own it!