All the grunting and slamming that echoes from the free-weight area of a gym can be intimidating to anyone. Regardless if you’re a woman, man, newbie or veteran gym-goer, there are ways to handle that feeling of insecurity so you can get on with your workouts and start seeing results. Repeat these mantras to help you power through:
It can only go up from here. Remember the old public speaking tip to picture the audience in their underwear? You can apply that concept in the gym, too. Imagine all those muscle men as scrawny teenagers, because, the truth is, there was a time when that’s exactly who they were. No one is born with a bodybuilder’s stature – it takes a lot of hard work and time to build that kind of muscle. As you step into the masses, remind yourself that everybody starts somewhere.
Put your game face on. When you take yourself seriously, others will notice and admire your determination. Even the biggest bodybuilders will accept you into the “club,” because at that moment you share the same goal: work hard and build a better body. Most people will even offer to spot you and give advice on proper form. Stay disciplined, but don’t be afraid to ask for help – many of those big guys have a soft spot for sharing what they know.
Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s the “golden rule” that holds true even in the weight room. Your workout may be “me time,” but that doesn’t excuse you from acknowledging your surroundings. Engage in simple courtesies, such as re-racking your weights, cleaning off machines when you’re done or being a spotter for someone else. You don’t want to exercise in a filthy gym, so do your part to keep it a clean, welcoming environment.
By finding perspective, staying goal-oriented and showing basic gym etiquette, you’ll gain a great deal of respect from fellow weight-lifters. The respect you earn will help create camaraderie, which will ease the feelings of intimidation. So, make a plan and attack that workout!
Get fitness and sports nutrition tips from personal trainer Deniz Duygulu, an International Federation of BodyBuilders Men’s Physique pro athlete. Like Deniz on Facebook to watch videos demonstrating correct form and for advice on fueling effectively.