If you’ve ever thought, ‘I need to get in shape before I go to the gym,’ you’re not alone. One of the most common concerns people have about joining a gym is that they’re ‘not fit enough’ to join. But if you want to build your fitness, tone up, and shed some extra kilos, there’s no better place to do it than on the gym floor.
So what makes people feel too shy to walk through those doors? Researchers conducting a survey at Washington Medical Centre found that, for most overweight men and women, the primary reason for not joining a gym was that they disliked the idea of sweating and exerting themselves in front of younger and more svelte gym-goers. The survey also discovered that women felt embarrassed about training in front of members of the opposite sex, and were far less likely to try to use a complicated piece of machinery for fear of looking ridiculous if they used it incorrectly.
We didn’t need to conduct a survey to know that many of you feel embarrassed about joining a gym. We’ve always known that gyms can be intimidating places for women, which is exactly why we’re a women’s only gym and only employ friendly and welcoming staff who are as invested in your results as you are.
Why there’s no need to feel embarrassed
At Fernwood, there’s no need to feel intimidated. We know there’s a first time for everything: the first day of school, the first day of a new job, a first date, and yes, even a first time at the gym! Everyone has been a newbie at some point in time. We’ve all nervously taken those first steps not quite knowing what to expect.
Take it from one gym-goer to another: we’re not looking at you and laughing. In fact, we’re not even looking at you. We’re too busy working out and concentrating on what we’re doing to pay attention to anyone else. It will get easier each time you walk through those doors, but until then, here are a few things you can do to minimise any embarrassment:
1. Get initiated
There’s no need to stress about not knowing how to switch on a cardio machine or incorrectly using any of the resistance machines. At Fernwood every new member receives a complimentary cardio and strength training induction with a fitness coach, to set you on the right path to success.
2. Go during quieter hours
The busiest hours at the gym are before work, during lunchtime, and after work. If you know you’ll feel more comfortable with less people around, schedule your initial workout times late morning, early in the afternoon or later at night. Once you’re feeling more confident you can start going in the hours that are more convenient to you.
3. Let the instructors know you’re new
Group fitness classes are one of the best ways those who are new to exercise can learn some basic moves to replicate on the gym floor – but they can be intimidating places for the uninitiated. When you step into a new class, let the instructor know it’s your first time. They’ll help you set up any equipment that’s needed, give you the low-down on what to expect, and keep an eye on your technique during the class. And you know what? If you make a wrong move it doesn’t matter! Laugh it off, we’ve all been there.
4. Wear comfortable clothes
There’s no point splurging on the latest workout gear if you feel self-conscious wearing it. Although the glossy magazine pics will have you believe otherwise, lycra isn’t a prerequisite on the gym floor. All you really need is a good pair of runners and light clothing you feel comfortable moving around in.
5. Bring a friend
Safety in numbers! If you’re feeling really nervous, join a gym with a friend. You’ll be having so much fun chatting and orientating yourself around the gym floor, you won’t even notice what anyone else is doing. If you head to the gym in the morning, give yourself some extra time after your workout to hang out in our lounge area and enjoy free breakfast with other members. You may just meet your new gym buddy!