I want to join a gym/or use my apartment gym – but I have no clue what I am doing

I have been a serious fitness bunny for about 16 years now and although it may seem like I know what I am doing now, it wasn’t always that way.

When I first started going to the gym it was because I thought my thighs were a little hefty and wanted to slim down in high school. So I got myself to the school gym and knocked around for a while on the machines there. No clue what I was doing but I was going to the gym, so off to a good start. Throw in some time on the treadmill for 20 mins reading through the latest edition of Cosmo and bang…workout done!

In hindsight, not the best way to approach an unfamiliar place and let’s just say, my junk food loving 16-year-old self, didn’t really get the results she was looking for but it was a start. Fast forward to my second encounter with the gym and this time it was different. I was different, I had committed to starting a journey to health at 23 years old, after realising my lifestyle choices weren’t really doing my health any good. See I was a health student at University and despite my academic endeavours, my personal health was not the best. So, I chatted to my friend, also a Fitness Trainer and she kindly put together a program for me and made sure I knew what I was doing and why. She was also 4 years older than me and had a banging body so I knew I was in good hands. Winning!

The reason I’m giving you this back story is because I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel awkward and out of place in the gym. I remember what it’s like to walk into the gym and look at these machines and racks of heavy weights and want to lay down in the stretching area on those big shiny balls (which I now know as a Fitness Balls) and calling that a work out.

So, to help you out, here are a few tips to get you more comfortable and confident in the gym. Who knows, you might even learn to love it and walk in and out feeling like a boss.

#1: How do I know if I am doing this exercise correctly. What does this machine do again?

Tip #1: Get the answers by asking someone – preferably a personal trainer (PT) at the gym. Like any profession, there are the good, the bad and the downright ugly. But from experience, being a fitness coach, we are in it to get people fitter. We like to share information and love to help. Ask a PT on the gym floor to show you around and maybe work with them till you get your bearings like I did.

#2: I think I look silly using these weights, they are so heavy and it all looks a bit too masculine for me.

Tip #2: Try working out with a friend. They too can get on this fitness path with you and please just make sure they support your decision to get fitter and healthier, otherwise leave them at home. Again, ask a PT. Get someone to help you use the weights room. Maybe cut back on the store-bought lunches for the week and save your cash to pay for some one on one PT sessions. Be clear on your goals and let them show you the equipment and have a follow up session to see how you are progressing. Make sure you click with your trainer. We are not all the same and have different strengths. Quiz the gym manager on which trainer would be best suited to your needs and if you want a female trainer, then ask for one. Don’t let your money go to waste because you don’t really want to work with someone who’s an experienced powerlifter and you want to look like Jessica Biel. Generally, you should have a chat to the trainer before your session so you can both identify your goals and if the trainer is a good fit.

#3: I feel self-conscious and think people are looking at me. It just feels awkward and it’s intimidating

Tip #3: Now that you have a plan remember that only you can progress your body and fitness goals. The gym is packed with people just like you who started somewhere, just like you. It may seem intimidating but there are so many friendships made in gyms simply from people chatting to each other about their workouts and what they are doing to get fitter. Don’t hold yourself back by thinking you’re the focus of someone else’s gym session. Chances are, they are too busy counting their reps and looking at their form to care about what you are doing.

So, put together a mega playlist, earphones ready, arm yourself with that workout plan and just get it done. No one needs to know that you are a newbie, you may feel awkward and lack confidence now but this is your journey. You must start somewhere…own it!

Need help getting your fitness mojo back? Fear not, click here to get started with a FREE 1:1 60-minute in person trial with me. I would love to help you get more familiar with a place I like to call my ‘second home’.

With love