Get comfortable with one machine, workout, or class
Don’t worry about mastering everything right away, but pick one cardio machine, workout, or group class to learn well and you’ll increase your comfort level right away. Find a trainer or group fitness instructor and express your desire to do one thing very well; they’ll point you toward a good place to start. After a few weeks, set your sights on the next goal; this is a great way to stretch your comfort zone bit by bit.
Remember, not everyone is comfortable with everything
As you first walk into the gym, it’s easy to find strong people, flexible people, and people who can run really fast on the treadmill. Right away, this can be a bit intimidating, but remember that most gym-goers have their comfort zones, too. Odds are, there will be a particular type of exercise that you’ll have a natural gifting for – and some exercises which you find more challenging.
Take advantage of our complimentary Program Design sessions from a personal trainer and they’ll help you find your flow!
Be comfortable with your limits
I’ve trained all populations, from professional athletes to senior citizens, and I’ve yet to meet anyone without limits. We all have an injury history or maybe we’ve just been sitting for too long; either way, we all have something which hinders us - and that’s okay. Regardless of limitations, it’s almost certain that you can do more than you can’t do.
At first, be sure to respect your limits. If needed, consult your physician on exactly what those limits are. Find a personal trainer you’re comfortable with and they can help you work around your limits and, potentially, work through them.
Connection creates comfort
Maybe the secret to feeling comfortable at the gym is to feel connected – connected with other people. Attend a class or workout and find a fellow member whom you can connect with over shared interests, goals, or even struggles. Likewise, connect with a gym employee, group fitness instructor, or trainer – anyone who helps the gym move into your new comfort zone.
The gym doesn’t have to just be the place you exercise, but it can also be the place where you do community with others.
Embrace a certain amount of discomfort
After addressing four ways to create comfort at the gym, it may seem odd to welcome any discomfort, but consider that discomfort has a purpose. Often in life, discomfort stands guard in front of what we really desire. How many times are we most uncomfortable about the thing we want to do the most?
I’ve known people uncomfortable about taking a certain fitness class – the very class which intrigues them the most! I’ve also encountered those so uncomfortable with running, though being able to run is something they’re passionate about. I suggest asking questions like, “Why am I uncomfortable about this particular challenge?” or, “What joy is this discomfort keeping me from?” From time to time, let discomfort work a good purpose in your life, especially at the gym!
To be human is to have comfort zones, but these parameters are flexible and pliable, just like our imagination. Dare to imagine the gym being part of your comfort zone!