When I was in high school, the weight room was filled with the serious athletes who had been lifting for years – the football players, track athletes, etc. And, they all spoke this lingo that I didn’t understand. They followed programs designed by professional strength and conditioning coaches.
It was definitely an intimidating place – especially for a girl. I knew nothing about squats, deadlifts, free weights, weight room etiquette and I didn’t want anyone to pick up on that.
As soon as I stepped in the room, I felt like everyone was watching me…waiting to laugh at all the mistakes I would make. You know what though?? That never happened.
Fear can often times be paralyzing. We get so worked up in our head that we let fear rule our actions.
I would have missed out on my true calling if I would have let fear prevent me from discovering lifting!
Yes, the gym can be a scary place. I’ve been there, I completely understand. But, if you’re letting your fears stop you from bettering yourself, you will never get to where you want to be.
Here are some things to help you be more confident in the gym.
- You know that feeling that everyone is watching you?? Don’t worry, everyone else is feeling that same way too. I assure you that all the other people at the gym are actually worried about what others think of them. They are more concerned with their own insecurities to really even notice yours.
- In my experience, 80% of the people in the gym don’t know what they’re doing either. They may have never been taught, or are new to it just like you. You are not alone! The average gym-goer isn’t focused on form as much as how much he can impress everyone with how much weight he is lifting. But, I don’t want you to be average – I want you to understand when to know that you are lifting the right amount of weight, how to plan out your workouts and know good form.
Where to Go In the Gym
Every gym is set up differently. I even have to ask people from time to time where a certain machine is at. Just make sure to ask someone who is resting in between sets and clearly not in the middle of a lift.
Most of the time, the free weights (dumbbells and pre-weighted barbells) are in one section. Usually not far away are the bench racks and squat racks.
Cable machines are often tucked in a corner and machines are sprinkled around, but they are usually grouped by body part (leg machines together, arm machines together, etc.). Cardio machines are almost always lined up together.
There’s also usually a space for stretching with a matted floor. Medicine balls, stability balls, plyometric boxes, etc. are typically in this area as well.
What to To Once You Get To The Gym
If you don’t have a workout in mind, try this download a free workout for your first gym session!
Weight Room Etiquette
One of the best ways to win the respect of people at the gym is to be courteous and humble during your workout.
- Watch out for other lifters. Try to walk behind people as they are lifting and be careful not to bump their bar.
- Wipe up after your done. No one likes to lay on a sweaty bench!
- Put away the weights. Don’t just leave them lying around. Put dumbbells away and plates back on their racks.
- Don’t set up right in front of someone else. This is one of my pet-peeves. Lifters like to/need to watch their movements in the mirror. Try to avoid blocking someone by finding open space along the mirrored wall.
- Don’t cut in front of someone when in line for a machine or rack. If someone is using a weight or machine that I would like to use, I simply ask them, “How many more sets do you have.” Depending on if they are almost done or not, I will hang around or find something else to work while I wait
I hope these tips give you more confidence to boldly step a gym near you!
What was your first gym experience?? Share it below!