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For introverts, the gym is usually a no-no for those of preferring to spend our energy within the confines of our four walls. But, we might not be the only ones having a hard time being comfortable at the gym. Apparently, gym-timidation is a thing.
When it comes to health sometimes the gym is needed but what if all those machines and people are just a little too much to handle? Not only do you have to work around “gym-rats” you know the people that are always at the gym but you also have all those eyes scrutinizing all your moves. Well, as an introvert, I totally understand. Here are some basic tips I’ve come up with to get rid of “gym-timidation” or at least, lessen it a little.
Along with my gym gloves, water bottle, snack, and sneakers, the number one item in my gym bag are my headphones. It helps to block out all the noise of the treadmills going, the grunts of gym rats, and the unwanted advice from other patrons. It might even help you focus a little harder on you and not the stares or thoughts that everyone is looking at you.
2. Choose non-peak hours
My first question after signing up at my local gym was what are the non-peak hours? If you can, try to pick times where there are few people. That usually means between the 5-6am for the early birds and 7-9pm for the night owls.
3. Go with a buddy
When I signed up at the gym, I brought my son with me as a buffer. It helped to make me feel more comfortable walking around and not paying too much attention to all the eyes looking at the newbie at the gym. If you can take a friend with you or ask for a tour to help with those gym jitters.
4. Plan ahead
Before setting foot in the gym it’s better to have a plan of what you want out of the gym. Do you need a trainer or are you going to wing it on your own? It’s usually the first question they ask you when you enter anyway, so, best to have an answer. If you’re going it alone, scope out videos on proper form before you start your gym routine. Practice at home in a mirror if you can. Planning also helps you go in on your first solo day with a plan and not waste time figuring out what you’re going to do.
5. Focus on you
Don’t let the eyes bother you too much, sure there will be other patrons watching but with your plan and your headphones (see #1) you should be focusing on your own goals. Don’t let the fear of the gym stop you from getting your gains. You’re only hurting yourself in the long run.
6. Track your progress
I would be lost without tracking my workouts. Of course, if it’s a free app even better, My current favorite apps are – strong, myfitnesspal and 5×5. Food should also be tracked – there’s no point in working out if you’re going to eat junk food. One of the best free apps I’ve found is the “eat this much” app that allows you to make meal plans for each day while also showing you the calories you’ve attained. Don’t forget to also get yourself a food scale too. I love this scale.
7. Make it a long-term system
Going to the gym should not be about just meeting a goal but rather should be one more tool for staying healthy long term. If you just look at it as one goal, you might fall into the “what now” trap when you do meet that ever elusive finish line. For example, let’s say you lost 30 pounds and feel great but now what? Should I stop, should I maintain, should I lose another 30 pounds? Staying healthy should be ongoing. Of course, creating short, and long-term goals are fine but making it an ongoing system should be a priority. You can also try using a dot journal to creatively see your progress.
8. Seek out trainers
Don’t be shy about asking questions. For my first gym membership, I spent plenty of time walking around, testing equipment, and following the trainer around asking questions.
9. Join group classes
You may always feel like you don’t belong, don’t let that stop you. If there are gym classes available for your intended goals, those can also create a bit of a buffer or hiding among the crowd, so that you don’t feel like a loner, it might also keep the motivation going by having others around to silently compete with. Who knows you might even make a friend or two.
10. Seek out the Nooks
When you walk in scan the room and get to know the machines that are in those nifty little corners that are just perfect for the non-attention seeking person. My gym has a little alcove just good enough for some core exercises or maybe some dumbbell workouts.
11. Find Smaller Gyms
The smaller more intimate gyms are like a breath of fresh air for introverts and many others. No more crowded spaces draining your much needed energy. No more intimidating eyes. As an introvert, it’s sometimes easier for me to handle things in smaller variations and it might be for you too.
Along with these tips, don’t forget to get your gym soundtracks ready to get you moving.
Do you have any tips to relieve gym-timidation?