You enjoy working out. You’re committed to getting fit or working to maintain your physique. Then why is it so hard to overcome your intimidation at the gym? Perhaps you fall victim to some of these negative thoughts…

“Everyone is looking at me.”

“Am I using this machine/equipment correctly?”

“Everyone here has a perfect body.”

“Everyone in this class already knows each other.”

“Everyone is running faster, lifting more weight, out-performing me.”

You can let these types thoughts perpetually drag you down and discourage you from going to the gym, or…you can STOP the insanity!

More than likely, most people working out are focused on their own routines not on you, and everyone had to start somewhere, they didn’t just show up looking like that. Who hasn’t had to ask how to use a machine properly? Even fitness experts have to learn how to use new equipment. And when you do make a habit of going to the gym consistently, you will become part of that community of people who “already know each other.”
Negative thinking and negative self-talk are incredibly detrimental to your mental state of mind, but can also affect your physical health. It’s no surprise then, that thinking positive thoughts, and taking a positive approach can improve your overall mental and physical wellbeing.
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You can apply this philosophy at the gym. By thinking positive, motivational thoughts, you can enhance your performance and reap the benefits. Consistency and progress at the gym can help change your mindset and create good habits that lead to a confident lifestyle

Here are some essential tips to help build your confidence, while also building your strength and endurance, at the gym:

Prepare Yourself, Have a Plan
Are you just getting started? This alone is a major cause of gym intimidation. So do some research and prepare yourself for what to expect. Check out the reviews of various gyms and fitness studios in your area, and visit the one which not only has the best equipment and facilities, but also the friendliest staff.

Before you even get to the gym, plan out your routine. While you may need to get familiar with the layout and learn where various equipment is located, you will at least have an action plan of which muscle groups you want to focus on. When you have a plan, it becomes easier to concentrate on your goals, and worry less about your surroundings. Your workout plan can give you laser-like focus to such an extent that you block out the things which may intimidate you.

“Failure to plan is a plan to fail”
~Winston Churchill

Dress for Success
Wearing the right apparel to workout in can actually improve your confidence, and your performance. You wouldn’t want to practice yoga in a baggy t-shirt that is going to ride up the moment you do a downward dog. And if you are concerned about sweat marks in unmentionable places, dress in black. It is better to dress properly for the gym, because not only will it motivate you to perform better, but it will also make you feel good about yourself. Your confidence shines through when you become aware of how amazing you look, and that translates to how you feel.

Bring a Friend
Gyms sometimes have established groups who have been working out together for awhile. To avoid feeling left out, invite a friend who shares your fitness goals. There’s something about having a friend by your side that creates a sense of security and motivation. Set your goals in advance, and don’t get off track by chatting too much.

Not only will you get to share some quality time with your friend, you will be able to encourage each other to perform to the best of your abilities. Whenever one of you feels down, the other will be there to act as a source of motivation and encouragement.

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Ask Questions
It’s okay to feel shy when trying something new, but when it comes to using equipment properly, or having the right form when doing certain exercises, you don’t want to mess around. You can get hurt if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Most gyms offer an orientation to familiarize you with the layout and equipment. Use this opportunity to ask specific questions you may have. And don’t hesitate to let front desk staff know you are new to the gym, they will tell you who you can go to when you have questions. Finding a friendly instructor who you can talk to can boost your morale to a whole new level.
Be Honest and Set Realistic Goals
Setting unrealistic expectations and unachievable goals in the beginning is a sure-fire way to lead yourself to disappointment, which in turn can damage your self-confidence. It’s not easy for your body to take up a vigorous activity, and respond immediately with ease. Give yourself time to adjust to the changes your body is going through. There is no need to nail all the exercises or weight lifting right at the start.Start off small by setting attainable goals. Once you achieve those goals, it becomes easier to focus on bigger, more difficult goals. For example, start with smaller weights, or modified poses in classes, then gradually increase the weight and try a more challenging pose as your muscles respond to the change.

Know Your Limits and Push Yourself
Although you should go easy on yourself in the beginning, that doesn’t mean you can give up easily. Continue to push yourself to the limit, and test yourself by increasing your endurance level each day. Always work toward the goal of muscle fatigue. Tell yourself you are strong and powerful, that you have another 10 minutes left in your legs, to help motivate you to go a step further in your performance. Each step you take toward reaching your goals, is a step toward building your self-confidence.
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It’s time to put yourself first, to focus on your health and wellbeing, so you can be your best self in all aspects of your life — at home, at work, in your community. Going to the gym for a workout is one of the best ways to combat depression, and other types of stress and psychological pressure. The time you spend in the gym can actually benefit both your mental and physical health, making it vital to keep a positive mindset while working out. Not only will you experience amazing effects as you transform your body, but will also boost your self-confidence.
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