We all have the best intentions to get to the gym. We know how much better we feel throughout the day when we have worked up a sweat and worked off some calories. However, no matter how bad you really want to go, there seems to always be something that serves as an excuse for why you should skip the gym. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate, such as having a huge exam the next day or being sick, but being afraid of or intimidated by the gym should never be the reason you avoid pumping a little iron. Her Campus talked to several college girls to see what the most common worries about the gym are, and came up with ways to get rid of those fears! So find your excuse and read why it is not a good one.
“I don’t want to go to the gym because I don’t know how to use the machines correctly.”
This seems to be the most common excuse, and also happens to have the easiest fix: Ask for help! The gym does not hire people just to watch you work out, they are there to answer your questions and offer their services. If you feel awkward about asking a staff member for help, then consider hiring a personal trainer, which usually costs anywhere from $40-$70 for an hour-long session. If you want to become a frequent gym-user or are afraid of getting hurt, a personal trainer is a good investment to consider. Many gyms also have intro training sessions where they show a group of people how to use the machines all at once—look on your gym’s website or call there to find out if your gym offers something like this. If all else fails, go with a friend. There is power in numbers and going with a gym-savvy friend is probably the least intimidating option. If you know of a friend who loves to hit the gym, ask when he or she usually works out and see if you can tag along. Conquering the machines together will make you feel much more comfortable and asking for help won’t be as scary. Friends are also great accountability partners; not only will a friend help you hurdle your fears, but if you make plans to go to the gym with someone, you are much less likely to come up with an excuse for why you can’t make it.
“I don’t want to go to the gym because I can’t run for very long, and the other people on the treadmills make me look bad.”
Sometimes it is a little nerve-racking when you are walking on a treadmill and someone in perfect shape gets on next to you and starts sprinting for countless minutes, but it shouldn’t be. Take pride in the fact that you have the discipline to get yourself to the gym in the first place and workout at your own pace. You can burn almost 300 calories from walking 15-minute miles for an hour (speed 4.0 on the treadmill), which is still an awesome workout! If people running next to you distract you, then bring your iPod and listen to music so you can drown out the sounds of a quicker-paced treadmill. Everyone at the gym is there for the same reasons you are: to stay healthy and in shape, so regardless of what pace you are going, other gym users will respect that you are there at all. And for all they know, you could be injured, doing two workouts a day, or taking an off day from your marathon training. Basically no one is going to judge you for what kind of workout you’re doing. People are much more focused on themselves than you’d think.
“I don’t want to go to the gym because I don’t feel comfortable in workout clothes.”
If it’s the wardrobe that is getting you down about going to the gym then all you need to do is come up with one or two styles of workout clothes that you feel comfortable in and buy them in a couple different colors. If tight clothes make you uncomfortable, then try a pair of Nike shorts with a plain big T-shirt. If you don’t want to feel frumpy then check out Fit Couture or Lucy Women’s Activewear for some cute gym outfits. Keep reminding yourself that it is much more important that you feel comfortable than cute. Check out Fitness magazine’s perfect workout outfits for any woman’s body type here!
Nike Shorts, $25.00
“I don’t want to go to the gym because I feel dirty and unsanitary after.”
Picking up the same weights that have been touched by other sweaty hands can really set you over the edge if you’re a bit germ-o-phobic. Thankfully there are a few easy ways to prevent you from feeling dirty using the machine equipment. Attach a $2 Purell hand sanitizer to your keys, like this one, and quickly sanitize your hands after using the weights and equipment. Most gyms provide sanitizer and paper towels at stations throughout the gym, so make use of these and wash your hands as soon as you’re done working out. Also, be sure not to touch your hands to your eyes, nose, or mouth. In addition to keeping your hands clean, make sure you don’t go to the gym right before class so that you have enough time to shower right after if the idea of not showering grosses you out.
“I don’t want to go to the gym because I don’t want get sweaty and gross in front of boys.”
If you’re worried about what guys will think when they see you sweaty and maybe a little stinky, think again! Cosmo named the gym one of the best places to meet guys because guys at the gym love it when girls are interested in fitness too. The hot guy you see lifting weights is probably thinking you look really good on that elliptical and gives you an instant common ground. Remember the episode of SATC where Miranda met a guy at the gym and couldn’t believe he actually found her attractive when she was all sweaty? Newsflash: Guys don’t care! However, if the male race and working out just don’t belong together in your book, then try taking classes like Yoga or Pilates which tend to have the lowest number of guys in them.
Regardless of your fear, it should not stand in the way of keeping yourself fit and healthy. Remember that most of the other people in the gym have the same insecurities as you do and are in the same boat as you. Be confident and do not hesitate to ask for help. The benefits of working out will definitely be worth the worry and after a few weeks of frequenting the gym, your fears will have completely vanished and a new set of abs will be forming in their place.
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