There are lots of advantages of working out at the gym. You get access to the latest equipment, great training and advice as well as the boost of camaraderie for a bit of fun and friendly competition. Still, there is a downside or two. Worries about sticking out, not fitting in or picking up nasty germs might lead you to stay away. Come out and play for your good health instead. Here are some ways to conquer gym fears so you don’t miss out on all the benefits just waiting for you.
Let’s face it. Many of us feel a little uncomfortable when faced with unfamiliar surroundings or experiences. If worries about what you can expect when you hit the gym are keeping you on the couch, try this instead.
- Ask for a tour before you join. Staff can take you around the facility and offer explanations about the equipment and classes.
- Read reviews. Decide what is important to you so you know what you are looking for with reviews. Are trainers knowledgeable? Is there enough equipment so that wait times are not overly long. Are members friendly, diverse or at least people you can feel comfortable around? You want to find a facility that meets your individual needs.
- Take advantage of a trial. If the gym doesn’t feel right, remain open to trying other facilities.
There is no getting around the fact that the gym is germ city. Protect yourself by planning ahead.
- Wipe equipment before and after use. If anti-bacterial spray is not available, talk to the manager and use hand sanitizer in the meantime.
- Wear shoes at all times. If you must shower at the gym use your own towel and wear flip flops. Avoid sitting naked on the locker room bench, another place where germs lurk.
- Wash your hands before you head home
- Avoid placing your hands anywhere on the mouth piece of your water bottle.
- Store your sneakers and wet clothing separately in your gym bag. Take everything out and wash the bag at least weekly.
So you’re checking out the bodies of fellow gym members and worried about not measuring up. Here is what you need to know – there will always be someone with better abs or biceps or just a better body period. Let that be okay and decide the only person you have to compete with or measure up to is you. Work on getting the best body you can have. Wallowing in the misery of lack you create when you compare robs you of the emotional energy you need to be your best. Here is another thing to remember; even people with “perfect” bodies see imperfections. Sometimes we have to decide to look at ourselves and love all of what we see.
No Gym Buddy
Especially when everyone else seems paired up at the gym, going it alone can feel lonely. If you are worried about standing out or just want someone to talk to between sets try this:
- Work with a trainer
- Look for a gym buddy on sites such as Meetup.com
- Join a class and strike up a conversation with someone that looks friendly. Yes, you can do it so go ahead and take the risk. What’s the worst that can happen?
- Change your mind about how you think of going to the gym without a buddy. Maybe you can use the time as a kind of “me” time when you rest and recharge your mind.
- Listen to music or a podcast while you work out.
What is keeping you from the gym? No matter what it is there is probably a work around. When your gym fears keep you on the couch, make a list of all the good reasons you should go for it anyway. While you’re at it write down every fix for your gym fears – even the wackiest ones. What should you do next? Go for it!