- The gym can have a reputation for being intimidating and some beginners might feel stressed and nervous about visiting it for the first time.
- Most gyms provide new members with an introductory tour or a personal training session.
- Your fellow gym-goers probably aren’t as judgmental as you think and many of them can be quite welcoming.
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At the gym, everyone starts out as a beginner – but when you’ve just signed up for your gym membership it can be difficult to feel confident and ready to tackle a new space. It can be especially tough when you feel like you’re surrounded by fitness pros and people who seem to know exactly what they’re doing.
It’s normal to be nervous about a new place, but for all the reasons you might fear the gym as a beginner, there are just as many reasons why you shouldn’t be scared to immerse yourself in this space.
Here are some things that may help you feel better about being a beginner at the gym.
Many gyms offer introductory resources that help new members become better acquainted with the establishment and machinery
Your overall gym experience starts with the staff. They are the first individuals you come in contact with when you sign up for membership and they are typically the first people you see each time you visit the gym.
Because of this, Courtney Roselle, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and founder of personal fitness brand Iron Grace, told INSIDER that it’s a wise idea for beginners to become acquainted with a gym’s staff members as most are friendly and a great source to utilize when you have questions.
Corey Phelps, a DC-based NASM-CPT, also pointed out that most gyms offer new members a free session with an in-house trainer to help beginners establish a plan that’s right for them and their goals. Many gyms also have sessions in which staff members teach newcomers how to properly use machines and equipment.
Alternatively, if you prefer group classes to solo sessions, arriving at the gym early to introduce yourself to the instructor can also be helpful. “Most instructors will take extra care to make you feel comfortable and welcome,” Phelps added.
Most of your fellow gym-goers probably aren’t as judgmental as you think
Roselle told INSIDER that one of the biggest reasons people feel insecure at the gym is that they feel like other people are judging them.
“In our world today, people base ‘security’ on physical appearance,” Roselle explained. So when it comes to physical exercise, she said people are scared to be judged on how they look – that can be in reference to their body or how they look performing certain workouts or trying to figure out how to work the machines.
But aesthetic isn’t everything and that’s something Roselle suggested beginners keep in mind when they are becoming accustomed to the gym.
Most of the time, half of the battle of becoming more comfortable as a beginner at the gym is shaking off your perception of how others are perceiving you.
Plus, you might even develop a bit of camaraderie between you and your fellow gym members
Contrary to popular belief, many established gym members do remember what it was like when they were beginners at the gym, so they try their best to encourage and support new people, Karl Buchanan, team captain at Gloveworx Century City told INSIDER.
“Fitness can be a social opportunity to get out of your shell to meet new people and widen your circle,” Vince Sant, cofounder and lead trainer for V Shred, said.
As a beginner, it can be exciting to start a new journey
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Being a beginner – be it at the gym, on the track, in the pool, etc. – can be an exciting time in your fitness journey because you’re about to learn what your body is capable of. And when you’re starting at the very beginning of your gym journey, you can only progress and move forward.
“Fitness is a never-ending learning journey,” said Roselle. “The beginning is when you see the most transformation in your body and what it can do. The more fit you become, the more you should progress in movements to become even better each day.”
Roselle said perceiving yourself as someone who is looking to become educated and improve themselves can help lessen the intimidation you might feel when you first start going to the gym.