Building gym confidence is a something that I get asked about quite frequently. The gym can sometimes be a daunting and intimidating place. Even for myself, a seasoned gym goer. I’ll let you in on a little secret, it has taken me years to summon up the courage to train in just a sports bra. In the past I didn’t feel toned enough and thought I’d look better in one if I had cheese grateable abs. But the funny thing is, I’m currently not as ripped as I used to be, yet I am comfortable in just a sports bra. So whats changed? My mindset.
I stopped caring about abs, started celebrating my body and came to the realisation that I was actually being quite vain. Some will call it being self conscious, I’m calling it vanity. It was vain to think the whole gym would notice me wearing a sports bra, abs or no abs. The reality is no one cares about what I look in the gym! Heck, I could probably fall off the treadmill and no one would notice, so now I run with my belly jiggling, giving zero F’s!
Once you come to the realisation that the gym can actually be a friendly environment, your confidence will naturally grow. You’ll cringe a little less when strangers speak to you and your might actually make gym friends. There’s more people championing you and admiring your efforts than you think. But if you ever feel that overwhelming sense of gym dread, here are 4 easy steps to help build your confidence in the gym and get more from your workouts.
1. Familiarise yourself with your gym
If you’re new to the gym, booking a PT session is the best way to familiarise yourself with difference exercise tools and how to perfect your technique for the big compound lifts: squats, deadlifts, bench and cleans. Although you might not have the desire to bench press or do back squats any time in the near future, learning these techniques will help to improve your overall confidence. If you are unable to book a PT session, head down to your gym during a quiet period and just spend some testing out the equipment. Try squatting with just the bar or have a go on that weird look machine you always avoid. If in doubt, just ask. The last thing you’ll want to do is injure yourself.
2. Have a plan
That old saying “fail to plan, plan to fail” applies to the gym too. Some of my worst sessions have been simply because I didn’t have a plan in place. And because of this, I spent the majority of the session walking around aimlessly. Winging it never works. Once you’re aware of your gym’s equipment and how to use it, you can start putting your sessions together. I have a coach who thankfully does all of mine for me, but I used to use websites like Mens Fitness for workout inspiration. Sometimes you can literally just take workouts from there, other times you might decide to adapt. Your plan also needs to come with a back up plan. Especially if you go to the gym during peak times, because the piece of equipment that you want to use will always be taken!
3. Wear comfortable clothing
The best tip that I can give you about being confident in the gym is to be comfortable in the skin you’re in. The best way to do this by wearing gym clothes that make you feel great. When you look good you feel good and when you feel good, you look good. If you feel frumpy in your gym kit it’s time to go on a shopping spree. Whether its a killer pair of high waisted leggings or a pair of kicks that make you feel fly, it’s time to buy clothes that make you feel inspired to workout.
4. Create an epic gym playlist
Music playlists seem to be the answer to all my fitness related problems. Want to run faster? Create a playlist. Want to lose weight? Create a playlist. Want to feel more confident in the gym? Create a playlist! I mostly listen to rap but every now and again I call upon the likes of Beyonce, J.Lo and Britney to help me channel my inner diva. I don’t know about you but when I listen to Beyonce I turn into some kind of alter ego: Tashi Fierce. I’m sassy and fearless. I will not be intimidated by a gym goer who hasn’t even bothered to de-weight the bar in the squat rack. Create a playlist packed with songs that make you feel confident and release your inner diva.
I hope these tips will help you to feel more confident in the gym. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions. And remember, 99% of the people in the gym won’t be watching with judging eyes so just do you. It doesn’t matter if you fail a rep or find it hard to sprint. There will be more people inwardly cheering you on than you think.
Shop my outfit from Reebok: