10 Ways to Deal with Shyness at the Gym
If you’re nervous to lift weights in a public gym, don’t fret, you’re not alone. As someone who was initially too nervous to wear a sports bra at the gym hesitated at using the squat rack and was scared to be around so many people during my workout, I have first-hand experience of shyness at the gym. I’m here to provide some tips for becoming more comfortable at a public gym.
- Workout with a friend.
I never would have taken the initiative to go to the gym if I did not have a workout partner for moral support. It may not be possible for everyone, but if you can encourage a friend to go with you to the gym, it may ease your discomfort. My friend and I go to the bench press every Monday morning together and spot each other for PRs. Additionally, we hold each other accountable every morning to go to the gym, and even during our workouts. We do not allow one another to slack during an exercise, and we push each other mentally and physically to achieve our goals. Having a friend to work out with is beneficial because they serve as a reminder that you’re not learning alone.
2. Hire a personal trainer.
If the first option is unattainable at the moment, I would suggest hiring a personal trainer if possible. Personal trainers are certified trainers who are there to teach you the basics of weight lifting and encourage you to improve after each session. Having a professional teach you and guide you along your journey at the gym may help you feel more comfortable at the gym, to the point when you may not need a personal trainer.
3. Watch videos online.
If you do not know where to start, looking up YouTube videos or TikTok clips may help you get started on your weight lifting journey. I started by watching individuals such as fitbyash on TikTok and Whitney Simmons on Instagram. There are more fitness influencers out there with workout videos to mimic, and it may inspire you when creating your own routine. I also find it is easier to follow a workout that allows you to watch the movements and achieve the correct form.
4. When in doubt, do cardio.
When I first started going to the gym, I always did 15 minutes of cardio on the treadmill, elliptical, or the Stairmaster. This allowed me to get warmed up before doing my workouts, however, after some time I started doing my cardio after my lift to have maximum energy for my lifts. As a beginner, cardio is an easy solution to calm the nerves, at least until you’re comfortable enough to start using weights. And if you’re not, that’s ok too. You can do whatever you want at the gym (within the rules of course), getting to the gym already means 70% of the work is done, which is a huge step in the right direction.
5. Buy cute workout clothes.
Often individuals struggle with feeling confident at a public gym, so I have an easy solution for you. Buying new workout clothes will make you feel good and look good during your workout. Having this extra boost of confidence will motivate you to work out. I am guilty of buying too many workout clothes now though…..
6. Use dumbbells or machines.
If you are not ready to do compound movements such as squats or bench presses, it is best to start small and use dumbbells to get started. Machines are also a good method of exercise because there are visual instructions on the side of the machine, and you can adjust the weight accordingly. It is a simple way of working out because the machine is built for a specific type of exercise, and you likely won’t be confused.
7. Listen to music.
Having a good workout playlist makes the difference in how your workout will go. Add some rap music, or Olivia Rodrigo, or Taylor Swift (two of my personal favourites). The music also allows you to focus on your workout instead of worrying about those around you.
8. Use low weights.
I know people will be eager to increase the weight right away to impress others, but it is best to take your time as a beginner, and slowly increase the weight. It is more beneficial to have correct form at a low weight rather than poor form at a higher weight.
9. Stay in one spot during your workout.
If you do not know your way around the gym, the easiest thing to do is to find a spatial area in the gym with few people to do your entire workout in. This could be at the cables, near the dumbbells, on a yoga mat, or in a different room altogether. Staying in one area during your workout will allow you to get your work done without having to move around to different areas a lot.
10. Make conversation with people at the gym.
Say hi to people, compliment their outfits or their form. Don’t interrupt them mid-set, but if the timing is right, try to make small-talk with people at the gym, especially if you see them often. It may be helpful knowing a familiar face and you may wound up making a friend at the gym. In my experience, my friend and I became friends with these two girls at the gym, seeing each other a few times a week and making inside jokes with each other. We also discovered we had mutual acquaintances, which was a pleasant surprise. You never know who you might meet, so it doesn’t hurt to take the leap and “talk to a stranger”.
This TikTok lines up with tip #1- Find yourself a gym buddy!