I received a request from a short person in my inbox today. And not just any person of teeny tiny stature but my friend Dani of Hello Owl fame. Dani suggested, in a way only she can get away with that I should write a post for people who are new at the gym. Tips on finding one you like, how you confront that nervousness that can go with starting something new and all that jazz.

So this post was born!

How to go from gym newbie to gym bunny in five steps. I started with more than that, but I’m afraid five is all I have. They are good ones though, so let’s get started.

1. Take lots of gym tours before you settle on the one you like

Finding a gym that you are happy with is key to going and being comfortable. Choose the wrong gym and your will to attend will fade pretty quickly. It’s a 12 month membership usually at least, so choose well and don’t be afraid to ask questions. ALL your questions. If they don’t help you answer them before you’re a member, they certainly won’t help you after you’ve paid.

To book a tour, just call the gym and tell them you are interested in joining. Let them know you are visiting a few places and want to get a feel for the place. If they aren’t helpful in booking a time for this then cross them off your list then and there and move on. They aren’t the ones for you. You want enthusiasm! Go team level enthusiasm.

2. Find a gym buddy to make you feel comfortable

If you’re worried now is the time to talk someone you love into joining you. Someone you trust to watch your back and weed out the haters should you come across any. I always feel the most comfortable in any gym atmosphere when I have a buddy by my side. Especially during the settling in phase.

Be warned! Gym buddies can be used for good OR for evil. They can boost you, darn you along when you don’t feel like it and all those good things. They can also encourage a little too much chatting and general ineffectiveness, so choose someone with similar goals to yours if you are taking the safety in numbers route.

3. For most gym bunnies, it’s all about them

Look I hate to stereotype here but the simple fact is that most people at the gym are worrying about themselves. Either they are fretting as you are or they are admiring their biceps in the mirror. In all my time at the gym, I’ve never had a problem with other gym goers. Do you know why? It’s because as long as you’re courteous, wipe your machines and ask before you pinch weight, people don’t even register your existence for the most part.

So with that in mind switch your focus to you. Why are you there, do you need a new outfit, are your sneakers going to be suitable or are they a million years old and in need of replacing. Don’t forget to buy some leggings that don’t have holes in the crotch or are so worn you can see through them to your undies… Speaking from experience here. Both will leave you in awkward situations. Haha.

Most of all go to the gym to do what you are going to the gym to do. Forget the rest. Make this one thing ALL about you. Some of the nicest, most supportive people I’ve ever met I met at the gym. Don’t assume because you have ideas about what they think about you that you are right about them.

4. Do stuff you feel confident doing

You’ve chosen a gym, you might even have a gym buddy and you’ve tried to remember that no one even cares about you, now what? Now it’s time to find the things that you like to do, enjoy doing or can confidently do to build your gym ego. Try a class, request a program or tackle a cycling or running challenge. Get into something that makes the whole experience fun for you, that makes you feel good about your time there and go for it.

5. Those Nike folks are right, just do it

Last but certainly not least just do it. Just strut on in like you own the place and get your workout done. Give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is that it’s not an exercise style that suits you, and you leave for greener pastures. It’s only money, right? haha.

But in all seriousness, most gyms will offer a selection of activities or classes, program customisation or something if you ask. So if one thing isn’t working for you, try something else. Don’t give up too easily though, you never know when your gym mojo will show up. Or disappear, like mine, but THAT is an entirely different post.

So what say you? Will that get you through the door of your nearest gym? Got any questions? I feel like I need to do a newbie post about what people actually DO at the gym. You’d read that wouldn’t you Danielle?

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