Intimidated By The Gym?

Don’t let fear keep you from getting the exercise you deserve. To show you there’s no reason to be “gymtimidated,” we will shed some light on the common reasons people fear the gym.
GYMTIMIDATION #1: I’M NOT FIT ENOUGH FOR A GYM.
“People think, ‘I’m too out of shape to be here,’ ” says Neal Pire, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Clients have said to me, ‘I really want to train with you, but I want to get in shape first.’ Everyone expects the people [in gyms] to look like bodybuilders and runway models.” Granted, different gyms have different personalities and patrons, and some of them do cater to the hard-body type. That’s why it’s important to get a tour and talk with some of the members before signing on the dotted line. You can also ask friends and co-workers for a referral. You’ll get an insider’s view and, in some cases, they may earn a referral discount or reward. Some gyms provide a free pass for a week. Take advantage of these offers, and shop around. Wherever you decide to call your workout hangout, don’t worry about what others are thinking of you. Chances are, they’re too focused on their own workouts to pay much attention anyway.

GYMTIMIDATION #2: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE THE EQUIPMENT.
This is a valid concern for two reasons: First, using equipment properly is the key to a successful workout. And second, using equipment improperly puts you at risk for injury. The most important thing at the gym is to use proper form. More so than weight, it matters how you lift it. But there’s an easy solution: Choose a facility with certified  trainers on staff, and ask for help. “A lot of clubs, traditionally, have provided one gratis training session with each new member,” Pire says. “Your trainer will teach you how to make your way around the room, and how to use the machines effectively and safely.” Want to try something new after your free session? Ask a skilled member.

GYMTIMIDATION #3: I CAN’T RUN AS FAST AS THE WOMAN NEXT TO ME OR LIFT AS MUCH AS THE GUY TWO MACHINES OVER.
I used to shield the display on my elliptical machine to keep others from spying me entering my weight or workout time. But it soon dawned on me—nobody’s taking notes on my exercise routine. When I see someone hop on a machine next to me, work out for 10 minutes and split, I think nothing of it. I have no idea if he or she was warming up, cooling down, back for a fourth round or starting slow after an illness or injury. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter. We’re not here to judge, and you won’t be either. Go at your own pace, and remember that you need only compete against yourself.

Exercise Etiquette
Once you get over your major gym fears, you may still have some trepidation about going to an unfamiliar place. That’s normal, says Edward Gilbert, M.S., CSCS, exercise specialist at GMC’s Gwinnett SportsRehab. But keep his top dos and don’ts in mind, and in no time you’ll “fit” right in.

  • Do restack your weights properly when you’re finished using them.
  • Don’t linger on equipment when you’re not using it. Get up between sets to allow someone else a turn. (Hint: If someone asks if he can “work in” with you, this is what he means.)
  • Do wipe down your equipment when you’re finished so it’s clean for the next person.
  • Don’t expect lengthy social interaction. The gym can be great for socializing and meeting new people, but keep conversations short. If you want to talk more, suggest grabbing coffee later or exchanging phone numbers.
  • Do keep your cellphone on silent, and if you need to take a call, step outside.
Need a Gym? Are you interested in working out, but don’t know where to go? Try GwinnettSportsRehab’s two open gyms. Call Edward Gilbert at 678-312-2810 for more information.

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