When I first started going to the gym, I was terrified of making a fool of myself with weights. I felt like everyone would be watching me do moves incorrectly, and laughing at me in their head. Not to mention the weight section was very male-dominated and felt intimidating as a female.
So, I stuck to the safety of the cardio machines for too long instead of hitting the weights.
Years later, I slowly started overcoming my fear of the gym and learned how to lift weights safely. Today, I’m a personal trainer and have even competed in a bodybuilding contest! Safe to say I’m no longer afraid of weights.
Here are my tips to overcome “gym-timdiation” and build confidence in the gym.
Have a plan. Follow a guided routine that instructs you which moves to do and teaches you proper form, ideally with videos. This will help you feel confident of yourself as you go through the exercises.
Take your weights off to the side. If lifting weights in the middle of the gym floor isn’t your thing, take the dumbbells into a side area or a corner room where there’s a bit more privacy. Build confidence doing the moves correctly with good form and then transition to more public areas once you feel comfortable.
Go with a friend. A friend or partner can help you feel more confident and less intimidated initially. Bonus points if your friend lifts and can show you how to use equipment correctly!
Work with a trainer. If your budget allows, a personal trainer at your gym can show you how to use equipment safely and teach you how to do moves with correct form. This can help you build confidence for when you’re working out alone without your trainer. Even just a few sessions can go a long way.
Remember that people are looking at themselves, not you. Most people in the gym are busy or on their phones. Just like you don’t go home and think about everyone you saw at the gym… Neither do they. Instead of focusing on everyone else and what they’re thinking, shifting your focus to you, your body, and your mind-muscle connection.
Finally, remember that everyone in the gym was once a beginner, too. Everyone is there to better themselves, just like you. You deserve to take up space in the gym just as much as everyone else there does!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
Dee Gautham is the founder and CEO of The Boss Body Revolution, an online health coaching company whose mission is to help women transform their confidence through fitness and health. After overcoming her own struggles with food and fitness, Dee left her career as a Product Manager to become a coach and help other women build lasting, sustainable health through their habits and mindset. Dee is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, POPSUGAR Fitness, ELLE, and more. Connect with Dee on Instagram: @dee_gautham.