Conquering your Gymtimidation

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Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. No, you’re not Eminem, you’ve just come down with a case of gymtimidation. What is gymtimidation? It’s a made-up phrase to describe the feeling of not wanting to go to the gym because you feel inadequate or sticking to the cardio machines because that’s your comfort zone. Have no fear! Valley is here with an easy guide to conquering your fear of the gym!

One of the biggest misconceptions about the gym is that you have to be in shape and knowledgeable of every machine before stepping foot inside. Not true! No one else will be worrying about what you look like or what you’re doing. Let’s be honest, those intimidating buff guys are more worried about checking themselves out in the mirror.

Here are some simple yet effective steps to feeling at home in the gym.

Have a plan

We’ve all been there where we walk in to the gym and realize we don’t know what we want to do. That’s a huge insight in to why you are sticking to the cardio machines; it’s comfortable and easy to understand. Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. Try not to be intimidated by all of the gym terms. Google terms if you are unsure or visit a website that offers definitions for exercise and machine names. Jot down 5 0r 6 and make that your plan. Some of Valley‘s favorite exercises are the Arc trainer, bicep curls, bicep push downs, and the leg press.

Bring a friend

Confidence comes over time. If you don’t feel confident walking up to the weight rack in front of people, grab a friend who will do the workouts with you. It will help if this person has gym knowledge but it’s not required!

Take a class

Penn State offers so many different classes taught by trained students. These classes cater to any interest from Zumba to Pilates to Calorie Killer and any experience level. This is a great way to get in to exercise while familiarizing yourself with the gym without doing it alone.

Listen to good music

There’s got to be a study somewhere out there that says there is a connection between good pump up music and a successful workout. Prepare a bumping playlist and it’ll help you get in the zone and focus on your workout without getting bored.

Some favorite pump up songs include:

  • If I Can’t — 50 Cent
  • Headstrong — Trapt
  • Run It! — Chris Brown
  • Lose Control — Missy Elliot
Follow Simple Courtesy

Don’t hog one machine for a long time, wipe down the machines you use with a towel or sanitary cloth, and re-rack your weights and put equipment away when you’re done.

Start small. By no means do you need to wake up and decide you are going to conquer everything at the gym in one day. Make a plan with a couple of exercises and do these a couple of times for a starter’s workout. Over time you’ll be surprised just how comfortable you will become in the gym and you’ll laugh at the days when you felt you needed to stick to the cardio machines.