People want to exercise at the gym, but some foster a fear going there and only muster ideas of bulky bodybuilders, intimidating machines, and accident including treadmills when they envision exercise.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you are scared of what lies inside the four walls of the fitness center, it’s important to understand that you are not alone and everyone else started from being clueless, which is now is the best time to overcome this fear, because fewer people visit the gym during the heat, and therefore you won’t be intimidated by other exercisers.

Here are some tips to overcome your fear of the gym and finally getting the body you’ve always wanted. before you know it, you’ll be a regular at your neighborhood gym, and by the time rolls around, newbies will be the ones asking you for advice.

1. Take a group fitness class

One of the easiest ways to get over your initial gym fear is by enrolling yourself in a group fitness class there. The beauty of these classes is that even newbies can enter, and you don’t have to know what you’re doing because the instructor will do that for you, and you can expect a friendly environment. What’s more, as long as you tell the fitness class instructor that you’re a newbie, he or she will be usually be more than willing to help you out and give you extra attention if you need it.

Once you take the plunge, simply show up early, tell your instructor you’re new, and find a good spot somewhere in the middle of the room where you can see the instructor but won’t be blocking everyone else’s view. You’ll blend in right away, and you never have to worry about people judging you as they are busy focused on their own exercise.

2. Avoid Peak Hours, Bring Music

If you are already feeling intimidated by the hoards of fitness junkies you expect to see at the gym, go easy on yourself at first and deliberately avoid peak hours, as many would agree that an empty gym is much less stress-inducing than a crowded one.

There are definite times of the day when the most number of people are making their way to the gym – and that’s typically in the early morning hours before work, and right after work around dinnertime.

In addition, when you go to the gym, be sure to bring music, especially when you’re feeling intimidated. Putting in ear plugs in and zoning out to motivational music can silence the other gym goers and give you the push you need to keep going.

3. Create a Routine Before You Get There

Along with headphones, make sure you visit the gym prepared with a game plan. Wandering around aimlessly will only create more stress, and you’ll likely to convince yourself that you are wasting your time. That’s why you should plan out what you want to do at the gym before you even get there so you can make a beeline to your machine once you arrive. If you are looking for cardio, hit one of the machines or, if you’re interested in lifting weights, have a routine already mapped out for you.

4. Research Online

Another thing you can do to prepare for your workouts at the gym is conduct some research online so you know exactly what you should be doing at the gym and how to do it without causing injury. The weight room is an intimidating place for many people, but understanding how to use them and what muscles they tax will make them much less threatening. There are many helpful YouTube tutorial and fitness sites that tell you exactly how to use machines and how to perfect your form.

5. Schedule a Session With a Personal Trainer or Employee

Your other option is to let an expert teach you how to use all the machines and map out a fitness routine that is right for you. A lot of the time, when new members sign up for a gym, the fitness center offers the opportunity for a personal trainer session, and if you wallet allows it, you should consider the option.

What’s more, even if you don’t have the funds to support a personal trainer addiction, when you sign up at a new gym, ask an employee to show you the ropes so you know where everything is. This is required of fitness centers, and workers may even offer the option before you ask for it, but make sure you don’t shy away when the opportunity presents itself.

You might feel awkward following and employee around the gym, but a few minutes of discomfort is much better than a lifetime of confusion.

6. Bring a Friend

Last option is to simply bring a friend to the gym. He or she may not know as much as a personal trainer or gym employee, but a friend will at least put you at ease, and give you someone whom you can direct your questions to or imitate if he or she knows what he’s doing.

A lot of people like to lift weights together, go on cardio machines alongside each other, and motivate each other. In that way, a gym buddy is key, especially if you’re feeling nervous about visiting a fitness center for the first time.

7. Be Confident

The best look you can adopt when visiting a gym for the first time and trying to overcome anxiety is one of confidence, because as long as you look like you know what you’re doing, you’re golden.

The important thing to recognize about the gym is that far fewer people are paying attention to you than you actually think. Most of the time, everyone is concentrated on their own workouts and are simply trying to get through their own routines so they can go home.

That means, believe it or not, nine times out of ten, no one is interested in wasting the energy in judging you. As told before, everyone has been a newbie at the gym before, and everyone gets that.

Source: Wall St. Cheat Sheet – “Gym Anxiety? 7 Tips That Will Help You Overcome Your Fitness Fears”