So I’ve taken a liking to weightlifting. That’s right, I’m on a quest for “gains”. And while working out at home is great, I can only get so far with the equipment that I have. This is where the gym came in. Originally, when my husband asked me if I was interested in going to the gym with him, I was enthusiastic about it. I had been doing one of the 4-week Fitness Blender weightlifting programs and was excited to take things a step further. But then it hit me, there are SO MANY people at the gym. And this was in January when the “new year, new me” people decide that they want to get in shape, thus swarming the gyms. All of a sudden, I wasn’t so excited. In fact it took me until May (five months later) until I finally mustered up the nerve to just do it.
Now that I’m in the gym, I’ve realized that I was worried about nothing. The gym doesn’t have to be an intimidating place. I’ve even found myself craving the gym. I don’t even like to work out at home anymore! In order to get to this level of comfort, I’ve had to employ certain tactics. Here are six ways to enjoy the gym as an introvert.
1. Bring a buddy
If it wasn’t for my husband being there and showing me around the gym, I probably would’ve just stuck to the treadmill and the elliptical because they’re safe. My first week there, my husband and I did all of the same workouts together. This way, I didn’t feel like I was being kicked out of the nest too soon. I was able to get a feel of the atmosphere with a partner by my side. The next week I felt comfortable enough to do my own thing. Now, I’m all over the place when I’m there — the cable machines, the free weight section, and the many other complicated looking machines, you name it. And the beauty of it all is that I can do it by myself and with complete confidence.
2. Listen to music
When I step into the gym, one of the first things that I do is put my earbuds in and blast my music. This automatically shuts out everything around me. Bringing your own music along with you provides a feeling of safety and security. All of a sudden you aren’t at THE gym, you’re at YOUR gym. Whenever I turn on my music, I feel like I’m in my own little world. It blocks out the sound of all the other people working out around you and it makes it that much easier to let your inhibitions go and to get into your zone.
3. Have a plan
Whether you decide to purchase an actual workout plan or to go the free route and find your own workouts online, it’s very important to be prepared. I personally like to go on YouTube and find fitness people with bodies that I like. A lot of them provide free workout videos and usually provide outlines of their full workout. I just screenshot that workout outline and take it to the gym with me. Simple. Now I know exactly what I’ll be doing at the gym and don’t have to spend time figuring out what to do next.
4. Get familiar
This sort of goes hand in hand with having a plan. Before you start working out at the gym, it’s good to get acquainted with the movements you’ll be doing and the machines/equipment you’ll be using. A good way to do this is to watch videos online. There are some many helpful videos teaching you the various ways that you can use the machines at your gym. You can also ask your gym buddy if they are experienced or even the gym personnel if you want. As far as becoming comfortable with the movements, practice makes perfect. If you don’t feel comfortable learning some of the more awkward ones in the gym, then you can practice them at home.
And if you ever forget how to do something, don’t hesitate to look it up on your phone right from the gym. I see plenty of people in the gym referring to their phones or pieces of paper to help them with their workout. One of the fitness gurus that I’m subscribed to on YouTube said that she would even draw stick figures of what the poses looked like when she was learning in the beginning.
5. Focus on your workout
If you put all of your mental focus on your workout, getting your form right, etc., you won’t be so bothered by the fact that the gym is so “people-ly”. Work on pushing yourself and making progress. Look at yourself in the mirror as you perform the exercises. Are they looking right? Are you being mindful of your knees while you are squatting? Could you be lifting more weight? Could you be running faster? These are all things that you could be focusing on instead of the people around you.
6. Realize that everyone is there for the same thing
Everyone who goes to the gym is there to improve upon their health and fitness. No one is really thinking about you. Don’t get me wrong, there are sometimes people in the gym trying to find love or others offering up unsolicited advice. But, there’s no reason to let that get in the way of your self care. The vast majority of the people there are trying to get their workout done and get on with their day, just like you. Keep this in mind the next time you set foot inside of a busy gym.
I truly believe that all of these tips could be a big help with getting comfortable going to the gym. Do you go to the gym? How did you become more comfortable with it? Comment down below!
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