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Working Out in College Gyms is Not as Scary as it Sounds

I was fairly active in high school; I played varsity tennis and rec league basketball. I found that I really enjoyed the conditioning that came with sports, especially lifting weights.


So when I came to college, I wanted to continue my work-out regimen, both because I enjoyed it and because exercising is good for physical and mental health. However, it wasn’t until recently that I worked up the courage to visit the campus gym.


I found that it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I’d built it up to be in my mind. No one was judging my form or technique, the facility was clean and setting aside an hour a few times a week didn’t cut into my schedule as much as I thought it would.


I like to lift weights, but I was scared that the weights area would be hogged by guys and I would be too intimidated to use that equipment. While the weights are usually dominated by guys, as long as I don’t go during peak hours, there’s always room for me in the weights area – and I see other girls using them as well, which makes me feel more comfortable.


If you, like me, are intimidated by the idea of going to the campus gym, don’t worry! There are things you can do to make your fitness a little easier to achieve.


First of all, take a friend with you to the gym! I took my roommate with me the first few times I went to the gym and it helped me get over my nerves because I wasn’t in it alone. Having someone there means you can figure it all out together and have fun doing it.


Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The campus gym may have a lot more and fancier equipment than you are used to, especially if you are used to working out in a school gym like I am.


When I first went to the campus gym, there were a lot of machines that I was interested in using, but didn’t know how to. Rather than try the machines out anyway and potentially getting hurt by using them incorrectly, I asked a gym worker how to use them. It turned out much better that way. So, if you need help with a piece of equipment, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.


Try something new! Chances are, your campus gym offers a variety of group fitness classes. Joining one can be a great way to try a new activity – remember, this is probably the only time you’ll have such easy and cheap access to these kinds of classes, so take advantage of them! You might even find something you truly love to do and make new friends.


Finally, remember that fitness can be found in other ways! For example, my roommate and I have a pact to always take the stairs. You would be surprised how much of a difference a little change like that can make.


Also, what you eat is just as important as how you exercise. Be sure to get proper nutrition. You can still eat the things you love, just in moderation, and remember that your body needs things like protein for fuel. If you are still uncomfortable working out at the gym, there are plenty of ways to get in exercise throughout your day. I’m still uncomfortable doing my ab routine at the gym, so I wait to do that until I’m back in the privacy of my dorm.


Bottom line, if working out is important to you, there are lots of ways to accomplish that – fear of the gym shouldn’t hold you back from doing what you enjoy! It’s all about finding the work out that’s best for you and sticking to it.   

Natalie Parks is a freshmen at the University of Kentucky. The Venn diagram of her interests has sports on one side, international travel on the other, and the Olympics in the middle. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading poetry, and talking (to anyone, really). She hopes writing for Her Campus will help her improve her writing and introduce her to girls with the same goals.
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