To the girl who feels the same way I did,
The gym is a place that for many, myself included, sparks immense social anxiety. For so long I strayed away from working out in gyms or busy tracks and fields for the fear that I may not do an exercise perfectly correct, or that someone may judge me. Last summer, though, I decided it was time to face this source of fear head on. Some of my girlfriends and I joined our local gym together and began going a few days a week. Like most once I went back to school and wasn't going in a group I got nervous to go again. Then in December I knew I needed a lifestyle change. I began going to the gym just about every day on my own, trying out new things with each visit and becoming more and more comfortable. Since winter break the gym has become my happy place. It has become the place where I can relax and get out of my own head for an hour or so while bettering myself and my health. It was not a quick process to get to that point though.
I found that free weights were the major root of my nerves as they are for most girls. However, I encourage all of you thinking about lifting to just do it! It can be terrifying to walk into a weight room full of men and not know exactly what you are doing. To this I would say start simple. Put together a circuit for yourself before you get to the gym and start off with cardio or something else more comfortable and familiar. When I first started weight training I would rely a lot on machines as well to become more familiar with different exercises and the various muscles there are to train. Once you enter the free weight section own it! Put on a cute workout set, get a great playlist going and keep yourself focused while going through your circuit. I have found that the more I keep myself in a positive, strong mindset I can accomplish so much more. Even if I don't always feel super confident about the exercise I am doing, keeping my head up and "faking it 'till I make it" gets me through it.
The free weight section is one thing that took me the most time to truly be comfortable with and even at times there are things I don't want to do for fear of embarrassment. I remind myself that everyone else at the gym, like myself, are not focused on others but their own workout. Along with that, I will occasionally try something out at home before doing it at the gym. In short, we as women are strong and just as worthy of lifting as men. Never let that keep you on the treadmill or elliptical. Along with trying my best to stay true to this mindset, making a lifestyle shift as a whole has made me so much more confident in the gym. The more I began to view myself as someone super into fitness the more I felt comfortable and at home at the gym. I began to look at all aspects of my life that could enhance my gym experience. I began to use protein and pre workout to bring my exercises up another level. I also found ways to incorporate fitness into everyday life by doing things like keeping track of what I eat in a day, going on walks, practicing mindfulness, and more.
All in all the journey to complete confidence in the gym is not easy but so worth it in the end. Remind yourself that you are capable of whatever you set your mind to in and out of the gym. Make it part of your everyday routine in order to become more familiar. By going most days of the week you will begin to know the gym inside and out and go through it as one of the motions of your average day. Radiate confidence and positivity, step outside your comfort zone just once and the rest will fall into place!