Facing Your Fears at the Gym

people at gymNo matter how dedicated you are to working out each week, there is likely to come a point when you reach a plateau or lose your steam. It’s the perfect time to try something new…

…if you can work up the confidence to venture into new territory at the gym. When you want to push forward with fitness, you might have to face your fears. Here are some fun ways to do it!

  1. Sign up for an event. Look for educational events or larger group gatherings to get started on something new. Learning in a group is fun, and you’re bound to find others who are also a little shy about the endeavor. You don’t need to start with a competition, though. You can work your confidence up to that level by first participating in a seminar, introduction, etc.
  2. Lift heavier weights. For the ladies, don’t be afraid of getting too big or bulky—it’s a myth! And guys, if you’re worried about failure during a lift, that’s fair—it’s best to progress in smaller increments to stay safe…and how about getting some backup? You can start by asking a staff member at the gym, and then see number 3, next.
  3. Get a buddy or at least a spotter. There may be no better way to overcome hesitance at the gym than by working out with a companion. Now, if you’re feeling self-conscious, then you probably don’t want to ask someone at the top of their game, or someone you’d like to date, to be your gym buddy. Instead, bring a friend to give the gym a try, or just get to know people you see there often. Offer to spot someone if you know how and then ask them to help you out in return.
  4. Learn new exercises. Sometimes your comfort zone can start to hold you back. If you’d like to face your fears and learn new additions to your workout, select them one at a time by watching others around you—what looks appealing? Or take a class to learn something new, you’re unlikely to be the only new beginner and even if you are, instructors know how to keep an eye and coach you through, it happens all the time.
  5. Add in some cardio. If you’re newer to cardio, you might be wondering if you’ll get too sweaty, breathe too heavy, or land in the wrong heart rate zone. You can keep it simple and safe by just starting with a short cardio session as a warm up before your strength training. 15 minutes will do you plenty of good, and you don’t have to jump in with anything fancy. A brisk treadmill walk or some steady cycling is a great place to start.
  6. Learn to use a machine. A treadmill can be off-putting for some folks—after all, there’s the programming PLUS the actual moving on the machine. But not to worry. A treadmill can move pretty slow while you experiment with walking first, and then maybe try an incline or two. Once you learn the basic buttons, you can increase your speed the next time. Another trick is to select a pre-programmed workout at a beginning level to get started–and no worries about asking staff at the gym to help you choose.
  7. Up your intensity. Increasing intensity is a simple way to get more results without a big learning curve to throw you off. Try this: add a minute of sprint pace to your workout every few minutes. Do this while working in area you feel comfortable with, say, abs, cardio or bodyweight exercises like pushups. Or simpler still, just add a little run within your power walk every once in a while.
  8. Schedule an intro session with a personal trainer. Everyone gets a complimentary free session with their membership—if you haven’t used yours yet, know that it’s a surefire way to decide what new things you might want to incorporate without fearing that you’re in over your head. To know what to expect, check out this article by a newbie to the fitness orientation at XSport.

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