7 Tips to Overcoming Your Fear of the Gym

beginner workout gymtimidation weight room May 01, 2023


I totally get it – I used to feel MORTIFIED walking into the gym – let alone the weight room – which is ultimately where I want you to go!  I was under the impression that the gym was either for (1) fit people or (2) athletes.  I did not identify with either of those.

I was afraid of looking stupid, people staring at me, doing a movement wrong, hurting myself.  I honestly had NO CLUE what I was doing in there.

I know I’m far from alone in having felt that way and now that I have overcome it, I’m sharing what worked for me and what has worked for my clients as well.

I want YOU in the gym.  EVERYONE is welcome there: big people, small people, tall people, short people, all genders, all races.  There isn’t anyone that shouldn’t be in there.

Here are your seven tips. 


1) Have a Plan When You Walk in There

Have a plan that works for you.  If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to default to whatever is easiest for you.  For me, that was walking on the treadmill.  I didn’t know what to do, so to the treadmill I went.  But if you have a CLEAR PLAN, you won’t do this.  This plan can be as simple or as complicated as you want, although I recommend keeping it simple.  For example, you could choose just 3 movements that you can do it just one spot in the gym.  With a clear plan you can walk in there, not worry about other people, do your thing, have a great workout, and head out.


If you’re looking for a solid plan for beginner lifters, check out my beginner program my membership HERE.  It’s a literal DREAM for any beginner lifter wanting to navigate the messy fitness world with clarity and confidence.


2) Look at Your Plan Before You Head In

You’ll be more confident walking in there if you not only have what you’re doing in your phone, but you also have it in your head.  You can walk into the gym confidently because you know exactly what you’re doing that day, what it’s gunna look like, and where you need to go.  You can walk into the weight room and go to the exact spot that you need.  I don’t even know how many years I’ve been going to the gym and I still do this.  This helps you be time-efficient and enter the gym with the right mindset.


3) Start Small

Don’t get caught up in all the machines, weights, and movements that you don’t know.  You don’t need it all anyways.  I’m a Certified Personal Trainer and not even I use everything at the gym.  I use maybe an eighth of what is at the gym and I don’t plan on changing.  Just worry about what YOU need to know RIGHT NOW.  Like I said, start with 3 movements (one lower, one upper push, one upper pull).  Do this for four weeks and then re-evaluate what you want to do next.  With more time in the gym you’re going to see other people doing different exercises.  This gives you an opportunity to get comfortable in the environment and learn how to use other machines simply by watching others use the other equipment.


I've put together a FREE mini-course you can go through before stepping foot in the gym.  It's called The Beginner's Guide to Weightlifting and the Gym.  It's just a few modules that could be completed in one day easily!  To make sure it's completed in a timely manner you have access to it for 14 days after enrollment. CLICK HERE to enroll.


4) Wear Clothes You Feel Confident In

Don’t wear your old pajamas or your old workout clothes or your stained clothes that you painted your house in last spring.  If you honestly don’t care (there are a small population that don’t), don’t worry about it.  But for most people this makes a world of difference.  You will most likely feel more comfortable and enjoy your workout/gym time more if you like and feel confident in what you are wearing.  If you don’t have workout clothes that make you feel good, go get them!  I personally love Fleo and Lululemon.  They’re not the cheapest, but they last a long time.  I had a pair of Lulus that lasted over 10 years and still looked amazing.


5) Go With a Friend

This won’t be for everyone.  Not everyone wants to combine socialization and exercise.  They want to focus on their workout.  However, if you’re new to the gym space, having a friend with you can lighten the mood and be like a security blanket.  You can play around with machines together and see how they work.  Most machines have diagrams on them of how to use them.  This is a great opportunity to get comfortable using different pieces of equipment.  Or you can go with your friend to workout.  You can say, “Hey, I’m gunna be going to the gym to do this workout.  I’m going to do x, y, z.  I’m looking for a friend to join me.  Would you like to come?”


6) Hire a Trainer (Long-Term or Short-Term)

You can hire a trainer to work with long-term and they will go through all of your workouts with you step-by-step.  You could also hire a trainer to work with you short-term to help you get familiar with the gym, set you up on a plan, teach you how to do the movements, and maybe do a session with you here and there after you’re all set up.  All trainers have different rates and offers, but most of the time trainers are very flexible and want to help you in the way that you need.  If you’re open and transparent with them, they will give you advice on what they best next steps for you would be.  This is their expertise. 

If you’re interested in working together in a 1:1 setting you can click here to learn more.  It’s online, so it’s a little different than in person, but still very effective.


7) Watch Others at the Gym

I know – it’s sounds creepy.  But it’s not.  You don’t have to stare; just observe!  This will help you see they’re not perfect either and you will learn from them when they do things right!  It may also give you the courage to chat with them when the right opportunity arises.  The more people you know at the gym, the more comfortable and welcome you will feel.


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