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I have a confession. Remember how I got a gym membership and took that spin class of death? That was actually my second day of going to the gym. The first day I only made it to the parking lot. I parked, saw just how many cars were there, then got really nervous so I went home…

I was convinced everyone was going to stare at me and judge me because I clearly wouldn’t know what I was doing. Gyms are scary! Tons are super ripped people using machines without first staring at it for five minutes to figure out how to use it. Seriously, wtf are you supposed to do on half those things? Putting my fear (mostly) aside, I managed to brave the gym. I’m still not super confident, but I made it through the door. Here are a few tips to help you brave the gym.

Get Over Your Fear Of Gyms // Gyms can be an incredibly intimidating place for a new member. Here's several tips for how to join a gym and get over the fear of being the new chick. Advice from someone who's driven to the gym....only to drive home immediately from anxiety.

Choose the right gym

The gym you choose has a major impact on your success. Do you like taking a bunch of classes? What type of price range are you looking for? How far away is the gym? These are things you need to consider. I promise you’re not going to want to drive further than ten minutes to go work out. It also might be cheaper to choose a gym that doesn’t offer a lot of classes, but if you need direction for you workouts, it might be worth a higher cost.

I need to have classes and a super short drive in order to get my butt to the gym. We decided to go for a higher priced gym, but it’s five minutes away and offers 200+ classes a month. I easily could have found a cheaper gym, but it would just be wasted money because it wouldn’t fill me needs.

Test out the gym before you commit

Many gyms offer a free pass for a day or even a week. This is a great way to see how the commute is and if you like the classes. You might find that the traffic is just too bad during the times you would be trying to get to the gym. Or there just aren’t any classes you like during the times you are available.

Don’t go during peak hours

This was my mistake. Remember how I drove to the gym, parked, said eff this and went home? Don’t be like me and instead go to the gym during less busy hours. Pretty much right after work hours and midday Saturday are busy. Try a morning workout and see how it goes.

Take advantage of their free one hour trainer session

Often when you sign up for a membership, you’re offered to schedule a free hour with a trainer. I’ll be honest with you, it’s highly likely they’ll use this hour to convince you to sign up for personal training sessions. However, that free hour is a great opportunity to learn how to use all the equipment properly. If you aren’t sure how to use the equipment, go into it prepared to turn down personal training sessions and ask all the questions about machinery you can think of. If working out is completely new to you and losing weight is a much needed goal, consider getting a personal trainer. Yes, they are expensive, but if you need to make a big change in your health, they can help.

Start out taking a class

Don’t go to the gym just to use the treadmill, you can just go outside for a run. Start out taking a class. Trying something new is fun, plus you don’t have to put any thought into what to do next. I also like classes because I feel like being around other participants holds me accountable. I’m not gonna cut the workout short because everyone will notice. It’s also a great way to make friends. When you have people who are expecting to see you, you’ll be less likely to skip out on going.

Do tell them you’re new

If it’s your first class, tell them. Trainers want to know who they’re working with. You’ll get much better direction and attention if the trainer knows you’ll need it.

Just go for it

Nothing worth having comes easy. Clique, but true. When I told my friend I was trying a spin class for the first time, she told me it would suck but it would never be as bad as the first time you do it. I feel like that applies to the whole gym. The first time you go feels very uncomfortable, but it won’t be long before you feel like one of the regulars.

How do you feel about gyms?

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  • This is the second time today I’ve heard someone mentioning a spin class. I have no clue- what IS that??

    • It’s a workout class on the stationary bikes. I don’t even ride a normal bike, so I don’t know what I was expecting from a fitness class on the stationary ones. It was a great workout but I thought I was going to die. A week later I’m still a bit sore. I would totally recommend trying it at least once though, my friend was right in that the class will never be as bad as the first time you try it.

  • I did this last year when I started with a personal trainer. I had a welcome session that was on the house, and then I signed up. I thought I was going to die, but it was worth it just for the training I got. I don’t know if I would say it was the right gym for me, but it was at the time. Great post.

  • I had a similar experience a few years ago when I started going to the gym! Now that I’ve been going fairly regularly, it’s kind of funny to me that I once thought it was so scary. 🙂

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  • Gyms can be super intimidating but I always try to be on the look out for newbs or people that don’t look like they’re too familiar with the gym or if they look uncomfortable. I know some people can be downright rude and unhelpful if you’re uncertain and struggling to use a piece of equipment that you’re not 100% clear how it functions….
    People walk around our gyms here like their shit don’t stink and I’ve seen some women say some pretty nasty things about other women and its truly disgusting and makes me feel ashamed to be of the same sex as them.

    We all have to start somewhere, right? I think if people practiced more kindles, love and compassion, it would ripple outward and the effects would be astounding.

    Classes are great, that’s where I’ve gravitated towards (because of the structure) and I find most of the people in them and the instructors, they’ll take care of you.