Fitness Tips

Going to the Gym for the First Time: How to Make it Less Intimidating

It takes real commitment to start investing in your health. Now that you’ve made the decision to exercise and eat right–what’s next? Joining a commercial gym can seem intimidating at first, but it’s a great step to keep you motivated. For example, working out with other people around gives you a community to belong. You can keep track of your goals and make friends with similar fitness goals. Read on to see some of our tips that can make going to the Gym less daunting if you’re a beginner. 

Remember that everyone is just as self-conscious as you are

Most gyms are full of mirrors, and it might seem like all eyes are on you–but save your sweating for the treadmill. Rest assured, those mirrors are there for you to watch yourself: to see if your form is right and if you’re doing things effectively. Likewise, other gym-goers are most likely just looking at themselves. It’s okay to feel self-conscious at first, but don’t let that discourage you. 

When we get nervous, it’s usually because we think if we make a mistake or slip up, a lot of people will see it. When you’re at the Gym, remember that everyone is just like you: they’re all feeling self-conscious and are all only focusing on themselves. Knowing that everyone shares the same worries as you can help you relax and focus on your workout. 

Focus on yourself

It is easy to look around and think everyone is running faster and harder than you. Beginners tend to compare how much others are lifting versus what they can do and get discouraged. Remember that although it’s good to get inspiration from people around you, your focus should be on yourself and your own progress. Never measure yourself by other people’s standards. 

Stop looking around at everyone else and give yourself a big smile in the gym mirror. Be proud of the fact that you decided to join a gym, showed up, and worked out. Showing up for yourself is already an achievement.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Rome wasn’t built in a day. No one expects you to know how to use a bench press or a chest press machine immediately. You can always go to the Gym and ask the staff to help you out. If you’re having a hard time, don’t try and figure the machines out on your own–you could get injured

Asking for help is also a great way to make friends. Gym regulars usually know who’s new and are more than willing to lend a hand. If you have some time before your first work out, you can go to the Gym early and get an orientation on the different machines. 

Consult with a personal trainer

A lot of gym newbies think that a personal trainer is only for experts or celebrities. Personal trainers are actually great for beginners because they can give you notes on how to do exercises correctly. This will keep you from getting injured. 

They can also come up with a workout and diet plan for you. This will give you a goal to look forward to when working out. When you get discouraged, you can check your workout plan and see how far you’ve come!

Join classes

Whether you’re into yoga, Zumba, or aerobics, joining a class can keep the anxiety away. Since classes are more social, you can easily ask questions if something doesn’t seem clear. It also gives you a big opportunity to make gym friends. 

Furthermore, classes are usually divided into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and expert. Being with people who are on the same level as you are can help boost your confidence. Leveling up in classes also gives you something to look forward. 

When in doubt, do your research.

If you have some questions and you get conflicting advice from the staff at the Gym, go to Google. Gathering a lot of information about a certain topic can calm your nerves in no time. Make sure that you get credible sources so that you are well-informed. 

You can take this approach when it comes to a lot of health-related things: meal plans, workout schedules, weight-lifting techniques. Take a proactive approach so that you know what questions to ask. This gives you a guide for what to expect at the Gym. 

Get inspired.

Fit-spiration or FitsPo is a great way to help you relax at the Gym. Find a celebrity, relative, friend, or even mentor who you really look up to fitness-wise. Make sure that you pick someone whose goals would be realistic for you–for example, if you are 5”2, don’t pick someone whose height is 5”11. Getting inspired will help you get past the initial difficulty of going to the Gym. Everything becomes much easier when you have a clear goal. 

Choose the right Gym for your needs.

What does the “right gym” mean? The right Gym can be different for different people. To some, the right Gym might be someplace close to work. For others, it might be a gym that only has a few people because they don’t like crowds. 

All in all, the right Gym means a gym that lines up with your lifestyle. If you like interacting with a lot of people, go to a gym that has a lot of classes and is somewhere like a mall or the main road. If you want something a bit quieter, go to a gym that’s open 24/7 so you can go when there aren’t that many people. 


Joining a commercial gym doesn’t have to be a difficult or intimidating experience. In fact, it should be fun reaching your fitness goals! Like most things in life, it only seems scary at the beginning. You will be able to warm up to the gym experience.

Remember that life isn’t a race–it’s a journey. The only competition that you should have is yourself. By following our tips, you can develop a good relationship with working out and meal planning. Make getting healthy your new hobby: invest the time, energy, and effort to make it as easy as it can be!


We are nutritionist, health writer's, and food bloggers. Check it out our latest health & wellness articles on fitness, diet, and healthy living.

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