Have you ever have this moment when you’re working out? I think we’ve all been there!
There are times when I can’t help but wonder what others are thinking of me when I’m working out.
Are the guys wondering why I feel the need to hog the barbell bench?
Are the girls thinking, wow, she looks strong; or wow, she looks super weak?
Is everyone criticizing my workout and my abilities?
Of course the answer to all 3 of these is that no one gives a rat’s batooty (yes, it’s a word) but yet I can not always push my insecurities out of my head.
I have several clients that workout with me not only because I offer the best workouts (duh) but because they love the fact that it’s not a gym. Instead, I have a small class environment: they tell me it’s a judgement free zone.
How can you get into your own judgement free zone? Because I promise when you do, not only will you feel better about yourself but you’ll notice you’re having better workouts as well.
It is liberating!
Top 10 Ways To Feel Confident Working Out
Going to workout at the gym once every two weeks will not help boost confidence. Being a “regular” will help you to feel better navigating around. You will also notice the same gym rats each time you go (that is assuming you arrive around the same time each workout).
As you see these fitness enthusiasts more and more, you will relax and feel more at home. Not to mention, you’ll likely end up with a few gym friends. These are great at helping to hold you accountable because they will soon realize when you’re not there.
When you do show up, they’ll quickly say “Oh, we’ve missed you where have you been”?
There is a feeling of belonging and acceptance.
Dress the part
Use your old oversized t-shirts for yard work and cleaning the house.
Studies show that people who dress more professional for their job are more likely to get raises and promotions. They carry themselves with an air of confidence that those wearing old khakis and untucked shirts lack.
I feel the same is true for fitness. If you want to feel awesome when working out, then look awesome. You don’t need to go to Lululemon and spend $88 on a pair of see-through workout leggings, but even brands like Target have some great outfits that are friendly on the wallet.
The key to it all is finding clothes that you feel comfortable in. I don’t mean less is more in the gym, but matching outfits and clothes actually made to sweat in does make a difference.
Have a plan of attack
Feeling like a lost puppy in the gym is the #1 complaint I hear.
“I see all these weights and machines, but what am I suppose to be doing?”
Having an actual workout plan is going to make you walk with your chin held up high as you move efficiently from one exercise to the next as if you own the place.
Make sure if you’re trying a new workout that you’ve checked out the exercises beforehand. That way when you look at your tracking sheet, you know exactly what you’re suppose to do.
That’s why I offer video footage for all of my programs so that you don’t have to stare down at a sheet of paper and ask yourself, “What the heck is a sumo squat?” (or whatever).
Start with fundamentals
While doing moves like deadlifts and cleans might sound awesome (and they are), if you’re trying to gain confidence with your workouts and in your gym then these are not moves to start off with.
It’s not cool to try something advanced and have everyone in the gym see you go down as you tweak your back out.
Being a beginner is fun! It’s a time to learn proper form and see how quickly you can progress. The learning curve is huge. At times i wish I could go back to being a beginner myself so that I can get those fast results all over again.
Basic moves like squats, push-ups, lunges, and even just jumping in place will help your muscles to learn to talk to your nervous system so that you adopt perfect form for these harder moves.
Map out your workout
You know what workout you are doing but do you know everything that you’ll need for it? When you walk in to the gym, study your workout and decide the best way to go about executing it.
Should you go ahead and grab what you’ll need for the entire workout and and set up a workout station for yourself? Do you need to set up boxes for box jumps? Make it easy on yourself so that once you get started you don’t waste time setting up exercises.
*This may not be possible for crowded gyms but do your best.
Check yourself out, frequently
Believe it or not, all those mirrors are there for a reason: To help you with your form and to help isolate the targeted muscle.
I know mirrors are scary but push the fear away and watch yourself as you perform reps. Also keeping eyes on the mirror will help you from dropping your shoulders, rounding your back or making other classic form errors, since your head is up and looking forward.
If you’re really worried about what Susie-Q beside you thinks, then load up your iPod with your favorite tunes and just zone out.
If this still doesn’t do the trick, then a lot of gyms have separate fitness rooms for classes that are often left empty. If so, then grab your weights and do the workout in one of these rooms. You can’t feel any less judged then when you’re working out by yourself. I love doing circuits in these rooms. I turn my music on (out loud) and just go to town, not worrying about sweat dripping on the floor or getting in someone’s way. (image source)
Ask for help
For newbies, ask for help from the staff. Get a tour of the facility so that you know where everything is.
If there is an exercise that you would like help with, ask. I promise, I having someone to help you is much less embarrassing and much more fulfilling then dropping a weight on yourself or dislocating your shoulder (oh, wait that was just me).
Yes, about 5 years ago, I was doing barbell shoulder presses, and aiming to go heavy. I went heavy alright. So heavy that When I went to remove the bar from the stand (I was in a seated position), I completely located my shoulder. Ambulance had to come and everything… not cool.
Avoid the “I’m New” radar
The gym that Dan and I go to gives new members gym bags. Only these newbies actually use it, and as the newness wears off the bags get left at home. It’s funny because my friend J, will make a game out of it in January for us to count how many gym-logo bags are brought through the door during workouts.
If you don’t like feeling like the new kid then don’t do what the new kids are doing.
Avoid Peak Hours
And when all else fails and you’re just not feeling gun-ho about 50 people working out around you, avoid peak hours. You may not like what that entails but I’ve learned that before 6am, from 9am-11am, from 2pm-4pm, and after 8pm are the quietest times at most gym facilities.
-Are you comfortable working out in front of people?
-What helps you to “zone out”?