Self, Health And Wellness

10 Smart Ways To Feel Confident In The Gym (When You Have No Idea What You're Doing)

gym advice, gym anxiety, confidence to go to the gym alone, gym self confidence

Going to the gym for the first time can be very intimidating – you don't know what any of the machines do and you're afraid that you will look stupid in front of all the buff men.

There are hundreds of machines and personal trainers, which can become overwhelming. But, the hardest part is over – you made it to the gym, and that is all the matters.

A lot of the time, the most challenging aspect of going to the gym is just simply making the time and effort to go. When you're sitting at home watching Julian Hugh do an ab workout, it is a lot different than going to the gym and doing one yourself.

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First and foremost, be proud that you got your butt out the door and made it to the gym. Secondly, don't leave! When you walk in, don't let your nerves overpower your strength. You got this!

While you could always just roll out a mat and do some at-home workouts, there is no better feeling than kicking butt in the gym and feeling the energy of those around you. Make the gym a place where you sweat out all your stress, blast some music, and push yourself to become the best (and most fit) you can be.

If you're new to the gym scene, here are ten tips that will help you get a better understanding of where to begin.

1. Familiarize yourself with the gym.

Try to go towards the very beginning or end of the day when the gym is less crowded. That way, you can look around and browse through all of the different machines and sections of the gym. There will always be a little instructions guide on each machine that tells you how to use it and what part of the body it works.

If you are too scared to stand there and read the label, look up the machine name on your phone and read about it online. Either way, it is super important to understand how a machine works before diving in. You don't want to pull a muscle or hurt yourself on the first day!

2. Start with a little cardio.

One of the easiest (and by easiest, I mean easiest to use) machines is the treadmill. If you are more of a "sit down kind of cardio" girl, the stationary bike is another option. Starting with a little walk or run on the treadmill will help ease you into the gym, while revving your heart rate up.

There are usually plenty of cardio machines to go around, so there shouldn't be an issue of waiting in line to use a treadmill. If there is, try the bike or stairs. When you first run on the treadmill, blasting your rap music and getting in the zone, the rest of the gym will follow.

3. Don't be afraid to lift weights.

Ladies, it is 2019 and we LIFT in this house! It isn't as scary as it sounds.

There is usually a section dedicated to weight lifting, but you can always grab a mat and a weight of your choice and head to a back corner. Facing the wall and away from the other people might help lessen your gym nerves as well. Also, there are weights of all shapes and sizes – you don't need to lift 50 pounds your first go (or ever, for that matter).

Look up easy workouts with weights to start and then you will find yourself settling into a routine.

4. Watch workout videos online for inspiration.

There are about a million and one Instagram and Youtube videos out there dedicated to gym workouts. From Whitney Simmons to Alexis Ren, many fitness gurus have easy, five to ten minute workouts that you can do either at the gym or at home. It will be a lot easier to grab a mat, sit down, and follow along to a routine rather than trying to remember how many sit-ups and push-ups you did.

If you get nervous, try doing the workout at home first, so the next time you try it at the gym you will be more familiar with the moves. Take it slow and don't forget to take breaks and drink plenty of water. Just because Alexis Ren can do a three minute plank with no breaks in between, doesn't mean you should.

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5. The cuter the workout clothes, the more confident you'll be.

Listen, it's true. When you are wearing a cute, high-waisted matching gym set, the sun starts to shine.

Obviously, nobody at the gym really cares what you are wearing and nine times out of ten, most people will be wearing old, baggy shorts and a ripped t-shirt. Either way, feeling confident in the clothes you work out in plays a big part in your gym routine. GymShark, LuLu Lemon, and Forever21 make some really adorable workout sets that range in price.

In all seriousness, you do want to find leggings that don't fall down during a run and hold you in. It is also important to try the squat test before heading to the gym in new leggings – you don't want to be overexposed, if you know what I mean.

6. Go with friends (especially friends who have been there before).

If you have a friend that goes to the gym on the reg, ask if you can tag along. Especially in the beginning of your gym journey, it can be benefical to have someone show you the ropes and their routine. It also makes the time go by waaaaayyyy faster when you have someone to talk (and struggle) with.

If you have a friend that also has never been to the gym, it could be fun to go and learn together. Either way, not being alone will go a long way.

But, don't compare yourself to anyone. Focus on you and tell your friends you need some encouragement. Try and find a time that works for both of you and tackle the gym together!

7. Drink water and EAT before you go.

I'm not saying you should binge on Taco Bell before your first go at the gym, but try to eat about an hour before you head out. You need the energy, especially if you have never truly worked your body before.

It goes without saying, but please do yourself a favor and bring a large water bottle with you. If you can find one that keeps the water cold, even better. Drink water even when you don't feel thirsty. Trust that it will keep you going and keep you sane. Don't forget to remind your friends to also drink water and to eat before you meet up.

8. Take a fitness class.

A lot of gyms offer fitness classes that range from H.I.T.T. to yoga. When you take a class, you open yourself up to learning new workouts and even meeting new people.

Again, bring some friends along for the fun. If you enjoy the class instructor, ask them for some advice on tackling the gym or more about the workout your just completed. If you find a workout you really love, it won't feel like such a chore to go to the gym. Buy a little yoga mat and some resistance bands, throw them in a cute gym bag and head out to your first class.

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9. If you can afford a personal training session, get one.

Personal trainers can be very expensive, but sometimes gyms offer them for free for a one time session. Having a one-on-one training session with someone who knows exactly what to do to help you achieve your goals is exactly what you need.

Don't be afraid to ask someone at the front desk for more information or look online on the gym's website. If you can afford even one personal training session, I highly recommend you try it out.

10. Choose the gym you want to spend your time (and money) at wisely.

Not all gyms are created equal. Sometimes, gyms can be geared more towards heavy lifting and others can be more geared towards an older crowd.

Do your research and tour a gym before committing to any contracts.

If you can find a gym that has a no commitment guarantee, it will make you feel better knowing you can drop the membership at any time. Feel out the gyms vibe and ask your friends which gyms they prefer. They know you and will lean you towards a gym that may be more your style.

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Carlie Fox is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.