The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Working out is an intimidating task. Even the most seasoned of gym-goers still find themselves feeling self-conscious and apprehensive at the gym sometimes. Gyms can be super overwhelming, especially for a beginner, and college gyms are no exception. As a fitness consultant at the main campus gym at UCLA, I have had my fair share of experiences working with patrons of all skill levels. Here are a few words of advice I would give to beginners at the gym:
- no one actually cares
If you were to only remember one thing while working out as a beginner, it should be that no one cares. And I don’t mean this in a “you’re all alone and no one will help you” kind of way; no one cares in the sense that everyone is too worried about themselves to worry about you. Everyone, no matter how experienced, has moments when they feel insecure or self-conscious about how they may look or if they are doing a certain workout correctly. It’s completely normal to feel this way, as working out around people can leave you feeling very vulnerable. However, everyone feels like this. This also means that everyone is too focused on themselves to focus on you.
- Don’t GO IN THE AFTERNOON
Going to the gym in the afternoon is a direct fast-pass to getting overstimulated and overwhelmed. If you do not want to be bombarded by people and double the length of your workout due to long lines, I would avoid going to the gym at any hour between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Morning times are the best times to work out.
- don’t ego lift
It’s extremely easy to compare yourself to people around you at the gym. The fact that people can see exactly how much you’re lifting makes it easy to get in your own head about outside opinions. It’s vital, however, not to let this pressure lead you to lift weights heavier than you are meant to. Prematurely increasing your weight when your body is not ready for it yet is very dangerous. Everyone starts out somewhere; remember that you are not at the gym to impress anyone or compare your progress to anyone else’s. Heavier doesn’t always mean stronger. Focusing on your form first and foremost is the priority for healthy and productive growth.
It is important to not let the fear of how you may be perceived stop you from trying in the first place. While it is great to have people to look up to at the gym, the only person you should ever be comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday.
Working at a gym at a school as populated and diverse as UCLA, I see all different types of people working out: different backgrounds, different goals and different skill levels. However, amidst these differences arise a much greater similarity: we all just want to better ourselves.