I know the feeling. You've never set foot in the weights section of the gym, and honestly, you're bricking it. Thoughts are racing through your head: “What will everyone think? Won't I stand out? What if I make a fool out of myself?!“. I've been there, I've felt that.
You're probably well-versed in the multitude of benefits of lifting weights; improved muscle tone, increased bone density, inner and outer strength. Now, you just need to get started with it, which is easier said than done. I want to empower you to get in the “testosterzone” and start making positive changes for your health and happiness. By stepping in there you will gain access to all the equipment you need to sculpt your body and build your strength, so what are you waiting for?
Write down a workout plan or even just a rough guideline of the exercises you want to do, including sets and reps if you can. Ensure you're familiar with the correct form for all the exercises – YouTube videos are a great free resource you can take advantage of for this. It is much easier to get started if you know what you’re there to do.
Plug In & Dress Up.
Make yourself an awesome empowering gym playlist full of your favourite songs. Pop it in your ears before you head into the weights section to make you feel like a badass! And don't forget to wear a gym outfit which flatters your body and makes you feel fabulous. Ensure your leggings are comfortable and secure. Nothing ruins your vibe more then when they slip down when as you squat.
Get an Induction.
The vast majority of gyms will offer a totally free induction, an interactive tour of the whole gym, including the weights room. Use this to your advantage. Ask questions, request demonstrations and familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Some gyms even offer a complimentary personal training session which you can use to check your form on key exercises such as squats and deadlifts.
Take a Friend.
Grab your buddy and drag them to the gym with you. The weights room is much easier to enter when you have your bestie by your side. You can train together, experiment with different machines and encourage each other to be brave.
If you're going it alone, a great way to build up your confidence is to head into the weights section at an off-peak time (i.e. not early morning or just after work). This means it will be more quiet, leaving you able to explore everything the gym has to offer in peace.
If you're worried about your form on an exercise, then remember that the gym staff are there to help. They wont judge you for asking for assistance. Every master was once a beginner and it is much wiser to ask for advice then to injure yourself through performing exercises incorrectly.
A Finally, Remember…
Most of the people in the gym are too focused on themselves and their goals to even bat an eyelid at what anyone else is doing. They aren’t there to judge other people. If someone does notice you, they will most likely be thinking how much respect they have for you for working out. You're doing this for you, not for anyone else. Don’t look for external validation, instead focus on why you're in the gym in the first place… to better yourself, by yourself, for yourself.
The first time you enter the weights section, it will feel a little bit daunting. However, it gets easier and easier until eventually it becomes second nature. One day you will look back and wonder why you ever worried about it! If you want to know more about how to lift weights, how to formulate a workout program and how to build mental and physical strength; be sure to pick up a copy of my book Strong which covers these topics in more depth.