It’s February. By now, any New Year’s resolutions we had that involved fitness have most likely been abandoned, and most of us have probably fallen prey to the annual winter weight gain. It’s an easy trap to fall into, as the cold weather discourages walking outside in favor of public transportation, and we forgo healthy meals for calorie-laden comfort food. As grim as all that may sound, there is one salvation that can save us all: the gym. Let’s face it, bikini season will be upon us sooner than we’d care to admit, and no matter one’s size or shape, a little exercise never hurt anyone. There’s only one problem though…going to the gym is, in a word, intimidating. Everywhere you look, there are fitness gurus, champions of strength, and girls who look way better in those short shorts than we ever will. That being said, there are various ways to overcome your fears and make the most out of your gym experience.
1. Never compare yourself to others: No matter what your level of fitness is, there will always be someone who’s stronger, in better shape, and can work out longer. However, don’t let other people influence your workout or make you feel inadequate. Everyone had to start somewhere, and even if you can’t stay on a machine as long as the person next to you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
2. Don’t worry about how you look: It’s the gym. You may look disheveled, sweaty, and red-faced, but if you take a look around, pretty much everyone else does too. Start to think of your sweat as a badge of honor, a physical mark of your fitness achievements. Also, don’t worry about how you look when you’re standing on a machine for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to use it. Some gym machines are harder to solve than a rubic’s cube, but if you don’t try, you’ll never figure it out.
3. Make goals for YOU: Come up with reasons why you want to exercise and never forget them. Whenever you see what appears to be an Olympian working out next to you, remember why YOU wanted to come to the gym and the goals YOU wanted to attain. As long as you’re happy with your workout, what other people are doing doesn’t matter in the slightest.
4. Realize that getting in shape takes time: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your ideal body won’t be either. Don’t expect to see change after one workout, but if you stick with whatever your schedule may be, change will sneak up on you and one day, you’ll be the person that someone else is intimidated by.