8 ways to gain confidence in the gym
Amanda Edell NASM CPT, ACSM CP | @bodybyamanda | bodybyamandanyc.com
if you’ve been to the gym during prime time hours
(usually in the morning before 9AM or in the evenings after 5PM), you’ve probably experienced some kind of feelings of intimidation due to the large crowds, loud grunting noises coming from all angles or from the straight up lack of manners from your other fellow gym-goers.
Simply put: It’s not fun.
Let’s not be mistaken- the gym CAN be an intimidating place for many people. If it isn’t now, you can bet that once upon a time it was- for everyone. Even the expert was once upon a time a novice.
Let me preface this by saying that over 90% of the people you see in the gym are doing things incorrectly.
most of the guys and girls you see working out looking like they know exactly what they’re doing, actually don’t. off the bat, this should help bring you some comfort and put things in perspective for you.
It’s not to devalue your feelings of self-consciousness and lack of confidence you’re struggling with- your feelings are very real and valid.
In hopes to help you overcome this, below I share my 8 tips to help you focus more on the things that matter most when you are in gym- your workout.
1. have a program to follow
It doesn’t matter if you made it yourself, hired a coach, or had a friend help you design your program. When we have a plan and something to follow, especially when we are feeling like we are lacking in something, we are less inclined to worry about what other people around us are doing and will often opt to keeping the focus more on ourselves and the task at hand. Even if you don’t know exactly what each exercise is, having it written down for you to see will go a long way.
2. workout with a partner
This one is obvious but having a workout buddy, even if it’s temporary, can go a very long way in helping you not only feel more confident but in knowing and learning how to do things correctly. Think of it as having training wheels before learning how to ride a bike on your own.
3. hire a trainer
This one is similar to a friend or workout buddy situation BUT if you really want to learn how to do things correctly and not waste any time, invest in a seasoned trainer. Even if it’s for a short period of time, you’ll learn a lot and get to ask questions as to why you’re doing the things you’re doing. When we understand the why behind things, we’re more inclined to do them on our own. Also, learning proper form and technique is key.
no question is ever a dumb question and if you aren’t sure if you’re doing something right, stop and ask someone before you hurt yourself.
4. listen to music or an inspiring podcast
If there is one thing in the gym that send s a message to your fellow gym-goers that says “Do not disturb”, it’s wearing buds or headphones at all times. Not only will you be telling people to mind their own business by wearing them, you’ll also be sending a message to people saying “I mean business: by wearing them which will make people less inclined to stop and speak to you.
Also, if you’re focused on your music, you can easily get into the zone just by hearing your favorite track and forget what is going on around you. Same thing goes for an interesting podcast- find something that inspires you and make sure you are listening to it in the gym to help keep the focus on what matters most- your workout.
5. be consistent
The only way to get better at something is to practice- we know this.
Going to the gym is no different. The more you go, the more familiar you will get with the physical layout of the equipment and actual gym setting. You’ll also become more confident because you will start to look and feel better. Consistency means that whatever you are working on, even if it’s mostly your body weight, you’ll naturally improve upon. Your strength and technique will all improve with a consistent regular routine, which will inevitably give you more confidence.
6. ask for help
Yes, we know that most people are doing things wrong in the gym- BUT if you are really unsure about doing something right, it’s best to have a second opinion or ask an employee or trainer on the floor for help.
No question is ever a dumb question and if you aren’t sure if you’re doing something right, stop and ask someone before you hurt yourself. It’s always better to have two heads than one. Or, if you really want a third opinion on the matter, you can YouTube most exercises or gym equipment and a video showing you what something is supposed to look like will pop up.
The last thing you want to do is hurt yourself by doing something wrong so it’s best to ask someone first or do a quick Google search to make sure you’re at least on the right track.
7. have comfortable workout attire
This one might seem obvious but if you aren’t equipped with wearing the right workout attire, it can completely derail an entire workout you had planned.
Ladies, you’ll want to make sure you feel completely supported at the top especially if you’re program requires a lot of jumping.
If you wear shorts, it’s always best to wear some kind of spandex underneath to really cover you fully especially when on the ground and doing core exercises that require you to lift your legs- this goes for everyone.
If you’re unfamiliar with workout clothing brands, buy a couple of different ones first to test the waters. There is nothing worst then getting to the gym mentally ready to rock and realizing your pants are falling down when attempting squat jumps halfway through your workout. You want to keep the focus on what matters most- your workout. Don’t let crappy gym attire distract you from the important stuff.
k.i.s. (keep it simple)
Keep it simple- simply put. If you are a beginner, there isn’t a huge reason to over-complicate things. You won’t need to do a lot of the fancy kettle bell stuff or barbell stuff. Conditioning is very important, especially in the beginning and learning how to do things with correct form will require your body weight and maybe a light dumbbell, but that’s it.
Understanding how to make the mind body connection and mastering the basics is what you should focus on before adding in twenty different machines and barbells to the mix. Make your life easy and just keep it simple. You’ll build your confidence up just by mastering the basics, which will go a very long way.