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Friendly support and approachable help is at the gym -  if you have the courage to try.

Friendly support and approachable help is at the gym - if you have the courage to try.

‘I’m so awkward - I’m afraid I will trip or won’t know how to use the machines’
Does that feel like you and do you share these other concerns?

  • I don’t know what kind of clothes to wear.
  • I was useless at sport at school; I'm sure this is going to be the same.
  • I don’t like the way I look. I’m too fat to use the gym!
  • I don’t know how to lift a weight; I’ll look stupid.
  • What if I break a machine?
  • What if it’s crowded and I have to stand around waiting to use the equipment.. I’ll feel so uncomfortable.

If these are thoughts that run through your head, don't worry, you're not alone. The majority of women and indeed a lot of men, all feel the same. Most of us don’t have the time, energy or motivation to become a gym junkie and in reality those ultra keen exercisers are the minority at the gym rather than the majority. If you try and put these kind of negative thoughts aside, you will be suprised that most gym users have all felt the same at one time or another. Read on to find out some clever ways of reducing your anxiety you may feel at the first few sessions at your new gym until you get your confidence up and start to feel at ease.

There's Safety in Numbers!
Persuade someone in your family or a good friend to join you in your fitness journey, as there’s no better motivator than a gym buddy! All of your anxious feelings will fade if you have someone with whom to share the experience and even see the funny side together. Of course, the added benefit is that you are much less likely to dip out of attending the gym if you have made a commitment to go with someone else. Once you and your gym partner are into a routine that works for you both, you won’t even think about cancelling. Instead, you will look forward to the next session together.

Start Slowly
Once in the gym, head for a piece of equipment you feel comfortable with. Something like an exercise bike is a good place to start. Just make a promise to yourself to cycle for only 5 or 10 minutes. Most spin bikes have a ’quick start’ button. Start pedalling and press this once, and that is all you need to do to get going. This will give you a chance to look around and get your bearings. Most gyms will offer a gym orientation or gym induction session. Join one of these and you are likely to come away with at least 5 or 6 simple exercises that you could remember how to do on your own. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing; just follow a simple routine until you feel condident enough to take on more.

Hire a Trainer
A good way to feel at home is to meet with a Personal Trainer for the first session or two. They may offer a free taster session to help you assess whether personal training is for you. When you are "shopping" for a PT, contact them via email or phone or have an informal chat with them to establish their personality and style of training. Explain that you are completely new to the gym and you just want to learn the basics. You need to feel at ease with them, and able to ask any questions, even if you think they are stupid ones! So be careful in your selection and choose someone you feel understands your needs and who can adapt to you. After all, you are the client!

Before you know it, the feelings of being out of place will abate and you will start to see the physical signs of improvement in your fitness and you will feel the benefits of your gym membership. At that point you need to congratulate yourself, as you have taken the hardest step - the first one.

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