By: Lauren Minkoff
I’ve been working out for the last 16 years. I’ve done everything from kickboxing to HITT classes, crossfit to traditional strength training. I’ve been a part of over 20 gym communities and each time I go to enter somewhere new, I still get gym anxiety scoping out a new space.
Especially post covid, when I took a 2-year hiatus from any and all gyms, getting back in the habit of going was a lot harder than expected.
I noticed that my confidence in the gym wasn’t the same. I worried about grabbing free weights, what other people were thinking as I did my workouts, and continuously fought the urge to run and hide in the cardio section.
After feeling like a fish out of water for a few weeks, I started to put a more serious plan in place to help me get over my gym anxiety so that I could start lifting again without worry or insecurity. Here are my top 5 tips for feeling more confident at the gym and working out like you OWN the place!!
TIP #1: HAVE A PLAN
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING makes me want to ditch the dumbbells in favor of the elliptical like having no idea what sort of workout I want to do in the gym when I get there. Having a plan is my top tip because, without a plan, you end up doing a bunch of random exercises that aren’t going to give you any sort of result or happy chemicals (endorphins) that usually follow rigorous exercise.
If you need a beginner workout plan that can be done in even the coziest corner of the gym, you can download our FREE dumbbell workout by >>>CLICKING HERE!<<<
TIP #2: PRACTICE THE MOVEMENTS
Once you have a plan in place, knowing exactly how to do those movements will help your confidence skyrocket. There is NOTHING worse than going to do a move at the gym only to realize that the way you’re doing it feels… so wrong. Then you can’t help but wonder if everyone in the place is noticing just how wrong you’re doing things. I’ve been there. It’s uncomfortable. Instead, look up the movements on Youtube, practice them in the comfort of home (even if you don’t have weights, just pretend). Even watch yourself do them in the mirror so that you can really see if you’re close to matching the sample video’s or not.
That when, when you get to the gym, you're comfortable with the movements and can start coaching yourself on your positioning and alignment.
TIP #3: DRESS IN COMFORTABLE CLOTHES
Look, I’ve worn every type of workout attire you can think of. I’ve gone from baggy, ratty, soccer tournament t-shirts to wearing shorts with sports bras and literally everything in between. It’s so easy to go on IG and wants to wear cute workout clothes and sports bras while you train like all those “influencers,” but you absolutely DO NOT need to. You are still worthy of working out. You still deserve to be there. Wear clothes that make you feel cute and comfortable and don’t beat yourself up if it’s a baggy t and sweatpants. You still deserve to be there and take up space.
TIP #4: AFFIRM YOUR RIGHT TO BE THERE
This is one of the more “woo-woo” sort of tips but can easily be one of the most powerful. When I would go to the gym at the start of my fitness journey, I felt like I didn’t deserve to use machines to take certain dumbbells because I wasn’t that fit. I worried that people would judge me for being there, for taking up space. It wasn’t until I started affirming myself that I realized that I pay the exact same membership as everyone else. I have JUST as much of a right to use the machines and dumbbells and whatever else I wanted as anyone else does.
Say it with me: I deserve to take up space.
I am worthy of being here and using any and all of the equipment.
I deserve to feel comfortable and confident in this space.
I am worthy of being welcomed in this community.
TIP #5: FAKE IT TILL YA MAKE IT
I can almost guarantee that no one in the gym is watching you the way it sometimes feels like they are. It’s really easy to get into your own head and convince yourself that everyone around you is looking at you, perceiving you, and otherwise judging you for being there. Honestly, unless they’re interested in banging you (sorry not sorry), they probably aren’t even going to notice you. Most people at the gym are 100% focused on themselves and making sure they don’t look stupid. That why the bros are always staring at themselves so hard in every reflective surface imaginable. Fake the confidence in yourself and no one will even stop to glance in your direction.
AND if someone is nervously glancing around the gym, starting at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, it’s more than likely another woman who is feeling equally as uncomfortable. And she could probably use a little confidence from you, too.
I hope these tips will help you to go from an anxious girlie to a confident gym baddie!! You absolutely deserve to enjoy your time at the gym while you’re there. No matter where you are in your journey.
If you want more support on your fitness journey, don't hesitate to reach out for help! >>>CLICK HERE<<< To work with the Nourish Team on your fitness goals.
Lauren Minkoff is an avid writer, certified counselor, and 5+ year women’s empowerment coach. When she’s not working on new projects for the Nourish community, she’s hanging on the beach with her fiance Ty and pups Riley & Rajah.