5 Tips to Overcome Fear of the UCF RWC

This time last year, I was someone who never went to the gym and could barely get up a flight of stairs without being completely out of breath. A theater kid and stereotypical nerd throughout high school, I had no interest in physical activity and didn't really know where to start at the gym. I imagined it would be a lot of muscly “dude-bros” and Instagram models who knew exactly what they were doing and then me, in some corner, sweating through my clothes and trying to figure out how to use the equipment. Fear not fellow sedentary beings, here are some tips to help kick start your gym journey!

1. Try some free programs at the RWC!

From weightlifting to half marathon running, the Recreation and Wellness Center here on campus offers a ton of educational and fun ways to learn more about fitness and to find a type of exercise you like. They also offer multiple group exercise classes where you can be led through a workout by a certified instructor. I teach hip hop cardio (picture below) and this is my not subtle way of saying you should come! All these opportunities are just an online sign up away (P.S. You’re already paying for them, so might as well take advantage)!

2. Follow the attire policy

Because the RWC is student-run, we must be very serious about safety. One of the ways we keep the environment on the weight floor safe and clean is by implementing an attire policy. Yes, I know, as women we hear “dress code” and cringe, but hear me out. The torso, including lower back, stomach, and ribcage, must be covered. We do this because there are hundreds of people who come and use the equipment every day, and while we do our best to sterilize the environment by cleaning twice a day and providing patrons with wipes, we want to be 100% POSITIVE that no patron will contract an infection near their vital organs. It might seem like over kill, but that’s just how much we care.  

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

There are always employees on the weight floor at the gym. As one of them, I feel that I can share some trade secrets. Our job is to answer any questions you have about the machines! Trust me, we love questions. It’s a three-hour shift of walking around without much to do so, please, ask! We can’t plan your workout (although there are personal trainers at the RWC if that’s what you’re looking for), but we can help you to the best of our abilities! Also, if you want, just say hi! It’s great knowing people when you walk onto the floor, and we would love to be your impromptu gym buddy!

4. Use athletic training

We all get hurt. So, what if you go too hard in a workout and sprain a muscle or suddenly acquire some other ache or pain? Well, the RWC’s got you covered! We have athletic training open hours every weekday from 2-5, so stop in, tell some professionals about what’s going on, and they’ll see what they can do!

5. Don’t worry what other people think

This one applies to most aspects of life. No one at the gym is going to judge or make fun of you. Most people have their headphones in and are completely focused on their own goals, so be yourself and make your ugliest work out face. Also, multiple people venture into the RWC for the first time every day so you are not alone!

I started my health journey 1 year ago by going to group exercise classes every day. I got to try new exercises and even meet some nice people along the way. Later that year, I joined a triathlon training program and completed my first triathlon and now I work at the RWC! Your path may not look like mine; you may find that you like swimming or rock climbing or weight lifting, but the first step to leading a more active life can start by getting through the front door! I hope to see you there! 

Images: 1, 3 (2 provided by the author)