7 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of the Gym

7 Ways to Get Over Your Fear of the Gym


Let’s take a few minutes to talk about how you can get over your fear of the gym. I think for a lot of folks looking to get in shape and get healthier; getting started at the gym can be very intimidating. If you don’t know your way around the gym or don't have a lot of experience working out, this video is for you.

1. You think you are too heavy for the gym

Let me start by saying there is no such thing as “too heavy for the gym”. If you’re out of shape or overweight, the gym is exactly where you should be. You’re at the gym to improve your appearance and your health and everyone is there for the same reasons. No one will judge you for being overweight and at the gym. A few helpful tips:

  • Find a gym buddy. You can help motivate each other to go (getting there being half the battle) and also to push each other when you’re at the gym.
  • Find a spot where you feel comfortable. If you want some seclusion and don’t want to feel like everyone is staring at you, find a machine in the back of the room or away from the action.

2. You don’t know how to use the equipment

Never used free weights or any gym machines? Guess what you’re not alone. Neither has anyone else who has little or no experience working out.  As intimidating as this can be, it’s easy to get started. My advice is to be “ready” by either reading about it online or better yet, ask one of the gym employees to give you a tour. Knowing your way around the gym and getting introduced to the layout and options will go a long way. If you think you need more than this, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions. It will make the world of difference.

3. You find the gym too boring.

Some folks just don’t find enough satisfaction working out because they are so bored doing it. That’s reasonable. What works best for me is to switch things up. I almost always do variations of my core workout that is slightly different from what I’ve done before. Another option is to try a fitness class such as yoga or spin class. Working out with others and see them working hard can be motivated and help eliminate that sense of loneliness and boredom.

4. You think you don’t have the right clothing and gear

I’ll be the first to admit that workout clothes and gear can be very expensive but they don’t have to be. I personally wear gym shorts and tee shirts that were cheap or free and a pair of decent running shoes that I have had for 3 years now. If you have shorts and tee shirts you can wear, then that is all you really need. Everything else is a bonus. Consider holding off on buying new attire until you have been working out a few months and reward yourself for your hard work.

5. You are concerned about injury

This one is important because if you do get injured, you’ll just set yourself back physically and mentally. Exercise shouldn’t be difficult or dangerous. Workout to your skill level and don’t overshoot your abilities or knowledge. This is another opportunity to seriously consider a personal trainer who can give you a good foundation for what you should and should not be doing based on your level of fitness. Either way, remember that safety and form are far more important than how fast your run or how much weight you lift.

6. You’ve given up before you even started.

The idea that you won’t stick with it so you shouldn’t even bother is a defeatist attitude. It is not a healthy way to think about working out. You don’t need to workout for 2 hours a day 7 days a week to succeed. Most organizations such as the CDC, the NIH and American Heart Association recommend around 150 minutes per week, spread out over 4-5 sessions. Slowly work your way up from week to week should help you build good exercise habits. .

7. You just flat out hate the gym

This may be true for some people. It’s just not your jam. The good news is that you do not have to go to the gym to get good exercise and lose weight. Formal exercise such as biking, jogging, tennis, etc are a surefire way to get good exercise. Beyond that, just going for a long walk or hiking is also going to burn some extra calories. Whatever you choose, don’t push yourself too hard. Overdoing exercise will just make you more likely to loathe your workout.

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