How To Be More Confident In The Gym
You might be familiar with the systems that we use for body recomposition. If you are not, think along the lines of resistance training, conditioning and nutrition optimisation! Resistance training is a must for body recomposition. If you can’t get a client into the gym and lifting weights, it becomes near-impossible to stimulate muscle development.
Therefore we need to get clients into the gym to provide resistance training for their goals. Now when it comes to personal training, this is simple... since we have a private facility in the Canberra CBD, people can come in and train without having to worry about the rest of the gym audience.
However, a challenge can sometimes lie with our remote clients, who cannot come into the gym. For people who aren’t comfortable with training in a gym, it can take a little while to get the feeling OK.
And hey, I don’t blame them! Going into a new environment to learn new skills is intimidating, particularly when everyone else there seems to be stronger and in better shape than they might be.
Since no one ever wants to look like a fool, it becomes very easy to skip your workout or stick to the relative safety of the cardio machines, and never venture into the more challenging areas or training where progress is made.
The reality is that most other gym goers will be quite welcoming, particularly when you are respecting them and the facility. They might not come up and introduce themselves, but don’t mistake this as hatred or anything of the like.
Tip 1: Observe
Simply set yourself up on a treadmill/bike and spend 45-minutes watching how the gym operates. If it is a commercial gym, most people will use a station for a relatively short period of time and then move on. If it is more of a strength-based gym, people will be set up on the same bar for a while. If it is Crossfit gym, just jump in and get started – because no one has a clue what is going on! (jokes…)
This might seem like ridiculously simple thing to do, but its value is immense. Just stepping through the doors is good starting point, but spending some time in the facility and getting acclimatised will only put your mind at ease, although your body won’t be at ease next time I have you in there training!
You also get a 45-minute workout in addition to your 'research trip', which has never hurt anyone.
Tip 2: Stick to your plan
When you are new to the gym and potentially uncomfortable with a new environment, it becomes imperative that the session be as simple as possible. Having a written plan (on paper or your phone) helps outline exactly what exercises you should be doing, for how many sets/reps and how long to rest for. This saves you trying to workout what machine does what and putting together your own workout on the fly.
If a machine is taken, just wait a few extra minutes until it becomes available. The old 'stretching the pecs waiting for the bench press' is the oldest - and best - trick in the book. This allows you to stick to the plan and avoid worrying about figuring out any new machines or exercises.
The Gym Starting Guide
All subscribers to the Integrated Insider will be getting the guide we use to help our remote clients get confident getting into the gym!
3: Practice beforehand
I can tell you now that the best environment to learn a new skill is not a busy gym that you feel uncomfortable in! Hiring a trainer is a good option, but you don’t necessarily have to do that. Learn the skill at home before you try it out at the gym, which will give you some confidence for putting it into practice.
It sounds silly to practice your movements before you get to the gym, but tif that helps you feel more confident with them – particularly when there will be other people around – just do it!
Why this is so important?
The aim of this is to minimise the stress and variables of being in a new environment. It is almost impossible to learn new skills and adapt when you are feeling uncomfortable and cannot focus. By working through the checklist and becoming familiar with movements, this increases the likelihood of sticking to the plan and getting through the session.
The easier we make it for people to come to the gym, the better. Even if you do make a fool of yourself, just pick yourself up and move on. The good thing about the gym is that everyone is red anyway, so no one can tell if you are embarrassed!
I even managed to pin myself under a bench press this year, going for an extra rep I thought I had covered (turns out it had me covered). That wasn’t much fun, but now I know the guy who helped lift it off me! Still, there are better ways to meet new people...