Despite the fact that Health Clubs now focus on catering for every type of person and are therefore becoming more accessible than ever, still a huge number of people avoid joining up in fear of being faced with an intimidating environment. If you are one of those people then you are not alone, and hopefully this article will help you feel more confident about joining a gym and using it!
Here are some factors to consider in you are considering taking that leap:
Make sure you join a gym that you feel comfortable in. Ask people you know and trust if there is anywhere they might recommend. Arrange a few appointments at any local clubs and prepare any questions you may have beforehand. You can ask if there is the option of a free trial with an instructor before making a decision. And do not feel pushed into anything; make sure you are happy with the environment before joining.
Hire a Personal Trainer or Ask for an Induction A Personal Trainer
This can make a huge difference to your training sessions in respect of both achieving desired results as well as ensuring that you feel comfortable and are exercising correctly. When selecting a PT make sure that you find someone who understands any apprehensions you may have and will take these into account when planning your sessions. Alternatively you can ask the gym for an Induction. These are usually mandatory for new gym members. You could ask reception if it is possible to meet the Instructor for a chat before booking a session, just so you feel more comfortable on the day. During your Induction the Instructor will make sure you are using the gym equipment correctly and that your gym program is specific to your needs and goals. And make sure you are clear about what you want to achieve and what you feel happy doing. Remember, this is your time.
Chat to Other Members and Ask Staff for Advice After your Induction
Particularly when you are using the gym for the first time on your own you can always ask an Instructor on the gym floor for any help if you aren’t sure of anything. You can also ask other members to give you a hand if for example you get stuck with a machine. Once you start communicating with those around you, you will automatically feel more relaxed and you will probably find you aren’t the only person who feels a little intimidated in the gym.
Find a Gym Buddy
One way to feel less intimidated about starting at a gym and to increase the fun factor of exercise is to go to the gym with someone else. Gyms sometimes offer discounts for two or more people, so if you can persuade a friend or family member to join with you, you will feel more confident and you may save some money too.
Choose a Good Time to Go
When you join the gym ask when the less busy times are. Usually before and after work times gyms are at their busiest. Try going late morning or in the afternoon if you prefer going when there are less people.
Remember everyone has to start somewhere. Once your confidence starts to grow then challenge yourself. Maybe ask an instructor to show you how to use any equipment that you haven’t yet tried, or if like many (both men & women) you have avoided the weights area then make a decision to try something there. It is never as terrifying as it seems and if you get something wrong then the next time you might just get it right, don’t let having to learn something new put you off trying it. And try not to worry about what other people may think; most people in the gym are either absorbed by what they are doing, feeling a little self-conscious themselves or just too interested in looking in a mirror to worry about what is going on around them.
GO FOR IT!
Whatever your age, weight, gender, ability & fitness level, there is a place in the gym for everyone. You are there for you and you alone, once you have been a few times you won’t look back. Keep setting yourself strength & fitness goals, don’t be afraid to ask for support when needed and most importantly remember to enjoy the experience!
Louise Appel, Personal Trainer
LLouise Appel Personal Trainer, St John's Wood & Personal Trainer Maida Vale offers customised, individual Personal Training and Pilates at Lords Cricket Ground, St John's Wood. Personal Trainer Harpenden & Personal Trainer St Albans is located at EsTR Fitness.