Whether it’s the wide open layouts, a fear of using the complex equipment or the thought of all the beautiful people that train there, many of us have shared the same phobias before taking the plunge into gym life.

I can guarantee you that everyone else is far too worried about what they’re doing to realize you’re even there. The gym-goers that do notice you are much more likely to to offer help than pass judgement. Gyms tend to be extremely friendly places where normal people just like you hang out.

Honestly, it’s all in your head. Here are our top 10 tips for conquering those fears and hitting the gym with confidence.

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1. Find a Gym That Suits You

First thing’s first: finding the right environment is essential in banishing your gym anxieties. With over 3,000 fitness facilities in the UK, the power is most definitely in your hands.

It’s important not to settle for a gym just because it’s a well known chain or it’s the closest to your home or office. Visiting several gyms will allow you to meet the people that work and train there, and discover the specific benefits of each, while also getting a feel for their individual unique atmospheres.

When choosing a gym, ask yourself these five main questions:

1. Does this gym have the amenities I want, i.e. showers and towel service?
2. Does it provide the equipment I need to reach my goals?
3. How do I feel about my first interactions with the staff?
4. Is the cleanliness and organization up to my standards?
5. Does it offer classes, have a pool or anything else I’d be interested in?

A gym that suits your needs and requirements is vital if you’re going to be happy long term.

2. Take Advantage of the Free Orientation

Most gyms offer an orientation upon joining. A member of the gym’s staff will show you around and offer advice with how to use the machines and equipment properly. The service is usually free so make sure you take advantage of it.

Knowing where everything is will help you to quickly become accustomed to your new surroundings and help build your confidence in no time.

3. Prepare Before You Go

Preparing yourself both physically and mentally will work wonders for your confidence before you head to the gym.

Performing certain exercises and practicing correct form at home will help get your body ready for what’s to come once you arrive at the gym.

Researching success stories online, especially those with before and after photos, will help focus your mind on your long term goals.

4. Find a Gym Buddy

Having a friend along for the ride (or lift, skip or jump) is one of the very best ways to help motivate yourself to keep up a regular workout routine.

You’re far less likely to skip a gym session when a friend is relying on you to show up and support them too. Once you’re there, pushing and encouraging each other is far more beneficial than going it alone.

There’s also the extra benefit of recovering together. A healthy post-exercise meal with a friend is the perfect end to a successful workout session.

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5. Download Fitplan

Following a workout routine on Fitplan will help you focus on the each exercise instead of your anxieties.

With Fitplan, you’ll know exactly which machine to use so you don’t have to waste time wondering.

After a few sessions with the app, you’ll get the lay of the land and become stronger in each exercise you do.

At $10 per month, your Fitplan subscription won’t add much to your monthly gym membership, while providing all the benefits of an in-gym personal trainer.

6. Avoid Peak Hours

We all know how busy gyms can get in the first few weeks of January, but do you know which days of the week are the quietest or which hours of the day are the busiest?

There’s nothing worse than arriving at the gym to find it so overcrowded that you have to queue to use your favorite equipment. Time is precious.

The warmer months are often the quietest due to people preferring to work out outdoors. The  busiest times of the day at the gym are before work (6am – 8am), lunchtime (12pm – 2pm) and after work (5pm – 7pm).

If you can carve out time outside of peak hours, you can familiarize yourself with the gym without waiting in line for a treadmill.

6. Eat Healthy to Maximize Your Results

It’s no surprise that a healthy eating plan helps to maintain a successful workout routine, so ditch the chicken nuggets and feast on chicken breast instead.

Seeing results keeps you motivated, and those results appear faster and stick around longer if you’ve got your nutrition in check.

Scheduling meals and snacks around your fitness schedule will help prepare you both physically and mentally.

Need guidance in the nutrition department? Get a personalized nutrition regimen with Mealplan.

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7. Listen to Music

Listening to your favorite music while working out offers the perfect distraction to help put you in the zone and make it all far more enjoyable. Music releases dopamine, lowering your stress levels and anxiety, while increasing your overall happiness.

Just like listening to certain types of music to get us pumped up for a night out, the same logic applies to getting us charged up during a workout.

Without music, it can be much harder to focus and engage with exercise so never forget your headphones, they’re just as important as your trainers or gym pants. You’d never forget your pants, right?

8. Join an Exercise Class

Many gym-goers often prefer to attend exercise classes that offer a more sociable experience as opposed to working out alone.

Classes offer different ability levels depending on those attending, so as a beginner, you’ll work out alongside fellow beginners, which can feel less daunting than training in the gym’s open space alongside the experts.

Joining a class will also open up the opportunity to create a community, which is hugely important to sticking to your fitness goals.

You’ll quickly discover that your fellow gym-goers are just regular people looking to improve their fitness just like you.

9. Keep Busy Between Sets

Watching others while resting between sets isn’t a good idea, especially as a beginner. If you’re already anxious in your new surroundings, you’ll begin to compare yourself to all the other gym-goers.

Remember, the only person you’re in competition with is yourself.

Instead, find a distraction. Your mobile phone is perfect. Catch up on the day’s news or even better, fire up Fitplan and scroll through the The Feed for motivation, or check out what your next move is going to be.

10. Enjoy Yourself

Working out doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It will improve other parts of your life way beyond your fitness and well being, opening up your circle of friends and in turn, adding other social activities outside the gym’s four walls.

Approaching the gym with a positive attitude of “how awesome that I get to do this for myself,” rather than “ugh, I have to do this for myself” will make all the difference.

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