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Put your hand up if you have ever felt self-conscious or shy when working out in a gym! I am here to tell you that feeling this way is one hundred percent normal! As both an athlete and a trainer in the gym, it has taken me a few years to feel confident in either role.
Throughout my fitness journey, I have learned three very important lessons which have helped me gain the confidence I now have to perform many things from a conventional shoulder press to a burpee box jump back tuck.
This lesson is painfully true! As much as you might like to think that people are watching and caring about what you are doing, the truth is that they are neither watching nor caring about you. The reality is that people in the gym focus just on themselves and on what they are doing. Whether you are doing a bicep curl with proper form or not will not impact any other gym member as they are there solely to work on their own program. Sounds selfish, but as “gym goers,” we are literally self-centered and there only for ourselves. Think about it this way: when you are performing an exercise, are you looking around and judging others’ form, or are you focused on your mind-muscle connection and your own movement patterns? The concept seems so simple yet many of us convince ourselves that people are watching and judging. It’s just not true!
This lesson is one that I refer to all the time especially when working with my clients. I like to remind them that a lot of my calisthenic drills look “funny” to the average gym goer. I’m often upside down, one-handed, and /or falling. That being said, those “funny” exercises I’m doing are helping me achieve my goals – yes, they are not conventional exercises you would typically see, but they are helpful, effective – and specific to my needs.
Depending on what your goals are, your fitness routine will look very different from those of others. For example, an athlete who is doing sport-specific training would have a very different routine from that of an athlete who is training to recover from an injury. Yes, they will look very different because their routines do not directly correlate. It is never the case of one athlete being better than another as their routines are geared towards very different goals.
Trust me, the number of training options a person can use to achieve their fitness goals is almost endless. There are multiple paths to lead you to the same destination, which is one of the reasons why fitness is both so amazing and humbling at the same time. The most important thing to remember is that you are performing exercises to help you achieve your goal, not that of someone else.
As silly as it may sound, something as simple as a new pair of shoes, a new workout shirt, or a new accessory can make you feel ten times more confident walking into the gym. Compare it to wearing your “first day of school outfit” as a kid. It always made you feel excited to go to school and confident when you showed up as you looked and felt your best. What you’re wearing doesn’t necessarily need to be name brand or fashion-forward; it just needs to make you feel good! For example, many girls love wearing seamless leggings or matching sets to the gym as they are the new trend in gym apparel. However, both options make me feel extremely self-conscious in the gym, and if I were to try to blend in and wear either style, I would feel timid and self-conscious in all my movements and exercises. My best advice is to pick outfits or accessories that make you feel confident and motivated to go the gym.
So that’s it: 3 tips on how to feel confident in the gym! I hope by reading this that you’ll put all your energy and focus into your workout and not worry about what other people may be thinking, because the truth of the matter is that they are not thinking about you at all! So have fun, feel confident, and work out hard to achieve your own fitness goals!