If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the gym or you’re thinking about joining a new gym, feeling anxious or intimidated is normal. About half of people report feeling some anxiety about joining a gym and these feelings can affect just about anyone regardless of experience.
As a new member to any gym, try to remember that you are not as new as you might think. A lot of people had their routines disrupted during the pandemic and are just recently making their way back into the health club. And many others are taking the opportunity to kickstart their fitness journey.
“The gym is a place that accommodates all fitness levels,” said Vernon. “No matter where you are on the health spectrum, the gym will be open for you 24/7 to tackle self-improvement however you see fit.”
Prepare to Get Results
If you want to stay active or meet health and exercise goals, you’re on the right track. A recent study found that gym members are 14 times more active than non-members and 10 times as likely to meet muscle strengthening guidelines regardless of their age, weight and gender.
“The more you go to the gym, the more comfortable you’ll become,” said Vernon. “Your muscles might be a little sore at first, but use that soreness to brag to your friends.”
If you are consistent, soon you will see improvements in your fitness, self-esteem and mood.
“Create a routine to exercise in your calendar. Then stick to it,” Vernon said.
Get Acquainted With Trials, Classes & Trainers
One source of gym unease is that we fear what we don’t know. Learning about the gym before you go can boost your confidence. Visit the website, peek at social media and read reviews to get a feel for what a gym has to offer.
If you’re interested in trying out the atmosphere without making a commitment, stop by for a visit. Many gyms offer a free trial to prospective members so you can make sure it’s a good fit. Vernon suggested letting the gym know you’re coming during staffed hours and request a tour to find out where things are and ask questions. You can get a feel for what the gym offers in terms of classes and equipment and even get a feel for what people are wearing.
Have you considered asking a friend to be your workout buddy? Having someone with you can make the gym more enjoyable.
“With a friend or a family member, make this your thing. Sign up together, show up together, succeed together,” Vernon said.
Hiring a trainer or joining a group class are also options for finding people who share your interests. A trainer can help you design a workout plan, give you pointers and provide motivation. Classes provide guidance, structure and can make workouts fun.
Learning how to use the equipment, meeting new people, and receiving encouragement all contribute to your sense of belonging.
“After just a couple visits, you’ll feel like one of the regulars,” Vernon said. “Before long there will be a new group of people joining the gym you can help feel welcome.”
Set Realistic Expectations
There’s a reason we’ve all heard the term slow and steady. It’s a good idea to start with shorter workouts with less intensity and build your stamina and strength.
“Listen to your body,” Vernon said. “Your fitness level is always going to be different than the person next to you. Only you can determine what feels like enough for today.”
It’s also a good idea to give something new a try, you never know what you might love. There are so many flavors of fitness available, it would be wrong to only try vanilla each time you went out for ice cream. There are a variety of class types, and even more styles of exercise to keep you engaged. Feel free to experiment, and more importantly, feel free to be you!
“Everyone is so unique to what they need out of fitness,” Vernon said. “Sometimes what someone needs most is constant variation, fun and adventure.”
Relax. You’ve Got This.
The anxiety you feel is normal. In fact, it would be abnormal if you felt no butterflies in your stomach before a public speech or a competition or joining the gym. Butterflies are representing a normal body response to doing something different, and that’s not bad. If your anxiety is particularly bad, do a test run: Drive up to SamFit, park, and then drive away. Tomorrow will be another day. You might make it in the building next time. Just like a speech or competition, the anticipation is often the worst part.
“We hope to see you in at SamFit soon,” said Vernon.
Learn more about joining a SamFit near you!