How to Be Confident at the Gym
The gym doesn't have to be a scary place. Everyone had to step into the gym for the first time, and today just happens to be your day. If you're worried about people judging you, staring at you, or just making you feel unwelcome and unwanted, don't. 99% of the people there are too busy thinking about their own workout and how they look to even think twice about someone who just walked in. And think about it, what would draw your attention more: someone who looks lost and wants to hide in the corners, or someone who walks from machine to machine and looks like they know what they're doing? The un-confident people tend to draw more attention.
As a social introvert and someone who does not embrace unfamiliar new territory, I created a list of tips to help you build confidence for the gym. And since 2018 is right around the corner, I'm sure there are many people planning on (or thinking about) joining a gym in the next couple weeks (welcome!).
Without further ado, here are my tips for how to be confident at the gym:
1. Make a Plan - I'm a planner. I like to write grocery lists and plan my week's worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners the week before. This also applies to my gym routine; I'll write up my workouts before even stepping foot in the gym so that I know exactly what equipment I'll need, what moves I'll be doing, and how many reps I'll do them for. By doing this, I waste no time standing around and looking for something to do, or unsure of what to do next.
2. Mirrors - There are many benefits to the mirrors that are lining the walls of the gym. When I first started going to the gym I would avoid looking at myself because I was afraid of what I'd see, but I actually started to feel more confident once I started facing the mirrors. You definitely should be using the mirrors to check your form to make sure you are performing the move safely, but looking at your gains and watching your body work is an added bonus. Plus, if you're too busy staring at yourself, you won't even notice if someone decides to glance at you.
3. Come out of Hiding - We've all had those days where we want to stand in the corner and hide in the shadows. But hiding isn't going to help you feel more comfortable at the gym. If anything, it gives you prime position to sit (or stand) and judge everyone else, which is not great if you're not looking to be judged in return. Don't get me wrong, I will stand with my back towards the wall if I'm doing something that draws particular attention to my rear end (NOT a fan of stretching with my nether-region on display!), but I won't spend much time there otherwise.
4. Have a Buddy - You've probably heard this countless times before, and it really does help to have someone with you to keep you busy and distracted while you workout. If you're like me, and literally have zero people in your life who can or want to go to the gym with you, then you can do like and talk to yourself. In your head. Music works, too :)
5. Focus on Yourself - You're there for you. Some days will be harder than others, but learning to appreciate what you're doing for yourself will naturally transition to self-love which then translates to self confidence. You being in the gym means you're already lapping everyone at home on the couch, so be proud of that!
True confidence is going to take some time to develop, but I hope these tips help encourage you to take that first step and get you feeling more comfortable at the gym. Even faking confidence will help!