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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This past semester, something I struggled with was going to the gym. It’s not for lack of willpower or desire to exercise, but the people who are at the gym itself.

Recently, I’ve become more self-conscious about working out in front of other people — especially men. With the gym typically being packed to the brim with testosterone, it’s no surprise that I went months without working out. However, after some meditating and communication with the people in my life, I finally gained the confidence to go back to the gym last month.

It was no easy feat and I’m still working through some of my fears, but here is a list of things that helped me conquer my fear of the gym.

Nobody is judging you

I was really nervous about entering the gym again because of all the men that basically own the strength area. And yet, amongst all the men there is always that one girl who is super ripped, and even she intimidates me. It took me a while to fully believe that nobody actually cared about what I was doing and how much weight I could lift.

One of my guy friends even told me that when women are in the weight area they actually receive silent admiration from guys rather than judgement. Along with this, it is important to remember that everyone has their own workout to follow, so they aren’t consumed with thinking about the intricate details of your workout plan.

Wear What You Feel Comfortable in

For the longest time I was concerned about my gym fit because all the girls in the gym usually look so good with their matching sets. However, I slowly came to realize that in trying to look cute, I was also compromising my own comfort. Yes, the idea of being “spotted” at the gym is a cute fantasy but ultimately you are going to the gym for yourself so don’t factor external beings into your outfit.

Similarly, who cares if your favorite pair of leggings gives you sweat stains! Wear the leggings if they feel comfortable for your workout that day.

My friend came up to me one day and whispered “you have a sweat stain down there,” and at first I felt embarrassed but then I replied “nobody should be looking down there.” That is the attitude I now try to carry with me every day going into the gym.

Bad Bitch Energy Playlist

Everyone has their own thing to listen to in the gym whether it be music, podcasts or TV, but the first thing that I play as I walk into the gym is a bad bitch energy music playlist. The playlists includes songs from Doja Cat, Beyonce, Meg Thee Stallion, Brittany Spears and more.

Although I don’t listen to the playlist throughout my entire workout, I have found that it helps to enter the space with some encouragement in my ears from these powerful women.

Own Your Space

You pay for the same membership as everyone else in the gym, so there is no reason why they deserve to be there more than you. It is so easy to become intimidated by other people at the gym, but one way to combat this feeling is to create your own space within the gym itself. For instance, grab a bench when you’re working out with dumbbells or use a mat when you’re doing abs so that everyone around you is aware of the space in which you are working out in.

Workout With a Friend

Difficult things are always easier to conquer with a friend by your side and going to the gym is no different. Having numbers with you, even just for a few days, will definitely make it easier to walk into the space and focus on exercising.

I brought my roommates with me to the gym one time and could feel a difference in the way that I walked around the machines and equipment. There is definitely some sort of dominant energy exuded when one walks in with a pack of people.

Overall, the gym shouldn’t have to be a scary place because it is just an environment for exercise. No matter the circumstance, if you’re exercising for health purposes or for fun, we are all just trying to move our bodies in a positive mode.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to remember not to compare yourself to anyone else. The gym is not a place to judge or envy other people, it’s where we can spend time with ourselves and bettering our physical health.

Junior, Film major and Women's Studies minor