Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Intimidated In The Gym?

Do you ever feel this way? 
I found this picture on Facebook, and it made me laugh. I wonder if any of you ever feel this way sometimes like I do.

I remember feeling self-conscious about working out in the gym. Just like anything new you try, weight training can be a little bit intimidating when you’re first getting started, especially when the weight room is crowded and it feels like everyone is staring at you. Don’t let that stop you from getting in there and sticking with it.

Even after four years of the Marine Corps and several years of being a group fitness instructor I was still a little nervous about going into the weight room of the gym at first. I felt like others in there were pros and I was a newbie, and that my newbie-ness would be apparent and the pros would judge. Sound familiar?

How did I get over feeling awkward in the weight room? I faked it! Yep. I pretended I was as comfortable in there and that I belonged there as much as the “pro.” Specifically, I went in with a plan, stuck to the plan, was polite to everyone around me, and focused on my workout. The best way to become comfortable with something new is to educate yourself on the subject and then get started. Knowledge and experience (just do it!) are the tricks.

If you’re new to working out, my advice is to hire a personal trainer. He or she can help you feel comfortable in the weight room and serve as your ‘wing man’ while you learn your way around. I can’t say enough about the value of a qualified personal trainer for teaching, coaching, motivating and accountability. Meanwhile, here are some tips on etiquette in the gym. 

  • Put your weights back after you use them. 
  • Wipe down the machine or bench after each use.
  • Don't camp out on the equipment. Allow others to 'work in' (do a set between your sets). 
  • If the room is busy and a piece of equipment you need is being used, politely ask if you can 'work in.' This means you're effectively sharing the equipment, alternating a set of theirs with yours.
  • Walk away if you must take a cell phone call.
  • Don't leave a trail behind you. If you're carrying a water bottle, towel, etc., take them with you when you vacate an area.
  • Don't spend time socializing with others. This can be distracting to those who are serious about training.
You'll notice that most of these tips are basic common-sense good etiquette for how to act in a public place anyway. That's how it is in a gym - it's no different than any other public space. You belong and have a place there as much as anyone else.

Also remember that there are as many methods of weight training as there are people in the gym. The pumped-up dude who looks like he was born and raised in the gym isn't the only one who knows how to work out, and he certainly isn't doing a workout that is necessarily right for you. And the beauty of it is, that's ok!

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