So here you are, standing outside the gym. Perhaps it’s your first time visiting such a place or maybe you’ve been a few times now and are starting to get into a routine. But there’s something stirring in your mind, “what will people think of me”, “why is everyone staring at me”, “am I doing this exercise correctly”, and “oh gosh I feel like a fool”.
The thoughts are running wild through your mind and the feeling of panic sets in. You now have two options:
- Turn around and head back home
- Ignore that voice in your head and walk in to smash your goals!
Surely, the second choice sounds like the one to go for right?
Well, gym shyness is a common problem indeed, but it can be overcome. Quite often, especially beginners, people feel intimidated and scared to go to the gym… just know that you are NOT alone. We recognise that this is a common problem, therefore, as a leading company in the fitness industry, we have decided to put together this blog post to give you some tips on how to overcome being shy at the gym.
To start with, remind yourself of why you’re going to the gym in the first place. Whatever goal you have in mind, whether that’s to lose weight, build muscle, get stronger, become fitter or whatever it is… you made a conscious decision to achieve that goal by training in a gym. You understand that your goals will be achieved by putting in that hard work, effort and commitment.
So without further ado, here are 5 tips on how to overcome gym shyness.
1. Make a plan
Before you even step foot in the gym, make sure you have a plan of action. This should include research on the different exercises you’ll be doing and why you’re doing them. By understanding the different mechanics of the gym equipment, you’ll feel more confident about the reasons for using them. So if you’re training your chest for example, you’d be looking at performing exercises such as bench press, dumbbell flies, chest press machine and cable flies.
You should have your plan ready, either in your mind or better yet, written down. We believe by writing down your thoughts/plan gives much more meaning to your goals. You’ve physically written down your plan and now it is time to put it into action. You should know exactly what exercises you will do, the sets and reps, and even how long you’ll be in the gym.
Having a plan will definitely help you stay focussed on the task at hand, which in turn, will make it easier for you to ignore any negative thoughts or feelings of shyness.
2. Start small
Especially if you are new to the gym, it is critical that you start with smaller weights. Sure it absolutely looks cool when you’re using the 50kg dumbbells for chest press, but remember, even Mr Olympia had to start somewhere.
Do not expect to be lifting super heavy weights in the near future, instead focus on perfecting your form, controlling the weights and doing each exercise correctly. Start with lighter weights and work your way up over time. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint and we want to avoid injuries too!
When exercising, particularly with weights, causes your body to release endorphins which triggers a feeling of positivity throughout your body and mind. It can be accompanied by a positive and energising outlook, which can help to increase your confidence and in turn, help to make you less shy at the gym.
3. Train with a friend
This is one of the best tips we can give you. Having that training partner with you can not only help to reduce your feelings of shyness but can also help to increase motivation and help push you further. This is a win, win situation. Training with a partner is perfect, you’ll be able to keep each other motivated and in check whilst striving towards your goals.
That feeling of encouragement from your partner is unmatched (well, unless the biggest guy in the gym says “good set bro!”. Guess that’s pretty special).
But training with a partner can make the experience more enjoyable and less intimidating.
4. Bring headphones
We believe that this is an underrated tip because something so simple could have such a huge effect on your workouts in a positive way.
Usually, gyms will have their own music on and let’s be honest, it’s probably not to everyone’s taste. That’s where headphones come in.
Listening to your favourite gym/motivational music whilst workout out can help you to stay focussed on the task at hand and even to overcome gym shyness. This is because you’ll be so ‘in the zone’ and focused, you won’t have time to worry about everyone else.
You’ll be in your own little world, not having to worry about feeling shy/anxious in the gym.
Having your very own headphones and your very own playlist on can massively help to block out the noise and distractions, thus allowing you to focus solely on your workout whilst helping to motivate you and keep you going when you feel like giving up.
We recommend creating a specific playlist that is just for the gym. You could use Spotify for example and check out what playlists people have created if you’re struggling with choosing songs.
5. Dress comfortably
Wearing clothes that both make you feel good and are comfortable to move around to exercise in can help to boost your confidence and make you feel less self-conscious, in turn, helping you to reduce that shyness when in the gym.
When you’re wearing something that fits correctly and is comfortable, it helps you feel more confident in the gym and you won’t be worrying about how you look, or if your clothing is too tight or loose, which can give you a psychological edge. This can help you to focus on your workout rather than worrying about how you might look.
By wearing clothing that is comfortable, you’ll be able to move more freely, which can allow you to get the most out of your workout. As opposed to wearing clothes that are either too baggy or tight where your movement can be restricted which can make performing certain exercises rather difficult.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about what you’re wearing at the gym, it makes sense that it can definitely be intimidating to actually go to the gym, especially if you are new to this environment.
In a nutshell, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident in the gym by wearing clothes that are comfortable. We have a range of gym clothing that is inspired by our founder, the six-time Mr Olympia winner, Dorian Yates. We’ve got everything from t-shirts to gym accessories that will help you to maximise your workouts in the form of gym straps, wrist wraps, weight lifting belts and much more. Explore our range of gym clothing and apparel.
So we’ve given you five tips that will help to boost your confidence, and mood and ultimately help to reduce shyness when in the gym. But we’ve decided to give you a bonus tip to really help you out.
Here’s a bonus tip to help you to reduce shyness at the gym and that is… choose a gym that you can visualise yourself in.
The gym environment can play a big part in your gym experience. If you prefer to work out in a group, then a class at the gym is a better option for you where you can surround yourself with people who are attending for the same reason as you.
Or if you prefer to train in an environment where there are big, burly men and you think you’ll be comfortable around them, then choose a gym that reflects this.
Both commercial gyms and independent gyms certainly have their benefits and drawbacks, so it is important that you choose one that you feel comfortable in.
So there you have it, six tips for you to help overcome shyness in the gym. It is important to note that these feelings and thoughts are probably your mind playing tricks on you.
"We suffer more often in imagination than in reality" - Seneca.
In reality, we find that nobody actually cares about if you’re a beginner in the gym and most likely, they will actually help you rather than criticize you. Everyone who is in a gym is there for a common purpose, and that is to better themselves. They all have goals to achieve and we’re sure that they would rather put their energy into their workouts rather than aim to offend you.
Even the scariest-looking guy in the gym is usually more than willing to help you out if you ask politely.
Also, choosing the time of day that you attend the gym can help to reduce shyness at the gym. If you prefer to work out when there are quite a lot of people around, then perhaps the 5-7pm gang might be your best choice. Or if you prefer it when there are fewer people around, then early mornings might be your best choice.
We hope that you can take these tips and apply them to yourself when you decide to visit the gym.