Going to the gym when you aren’t completely confident in what you’re doing can be nerve-wracking. That area with all the sweaty dudes and the free weights is a daunting, no-go zone and frankly, it’s just easier to hide away on a cardio machine than potentially cause a catastrophe attempting to perform a weighted exercise. I’ve been there.
Ironically, while initially being in a gym can be the cause of anxiety, training in itself is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety. So here are some handy things I have learnt along the way to put your mind at ease.
- 90% of the dudes in the weights room don’t know what they’re doing either. Nobody is judging you. Those who are looking at you are mostly thinking “God I hope nobody is watching me do this weird rowing exercise I saw on bodybuilding.com”. The rest of the people looking at you are admiring you, checking you out or trying to copy what you’re doing.
- People who work at the gym are willing to help. Some of the PTs there are creeps who stare when you bend over, others are genuine– taking the help of a trainer or booking in a session when you’re new is a good way to go.
- Start simple. Attempting a weighted burpee, dead lift into an overhead press is not the greatest starting exercise. Stick to lunges, arm isolation exercises, machine work, bent over rows and anything that doesn’t require advanced technique.
- Start light. You will soon be repping out 100kg like a boss but for now, stick to a weight that you can control.
- Classes are a good place to start and an easy place to stand in the back where if you go left instead of right, nobody will notice.
- Accidents happen. For any dropped dumbbell or treadmill catastrophe you’ve had, I guarantee there have been 100 others, some involving weed pants.
- Keep trying. It will become easier.