Elizabeths Declassified Gym Survival Guide For Newbies
Gym anxiety, we’ve all been there.. or are still there. Just the thought of having to go to the gym.. by yourself? No thanks.
Whether you’re a gym “newbie” or have been lifting for years- some people just hate being in a gym environment on their own. The free-weight area is usually crawling with “chad-like” specimens ego lifting, and grunting up a storm- and the machines might not always be an option- whether your gym doesn’t have much of them, you’re there at peak hours and finding an open machine is hopeless, or you want to venture off and try new movements. The gym can be intimidating but here are some tips to help you- from an anxious little gym goer herself.
Before we get started there are a few extra tips from young Elizabeth (very young me lol) on my youtube channel too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPcROGa5m_o
1. Realize that your workout is just as important as anyone else’s:
I cannot be the only one who feels guilty taking up a squat rack on a busy day- even if it is for 15 minutes while I do my sets. I always felt that for some reason, my workout didn’t matter as much when someone was there waiting for me to be done with it. Either I would alter my workout plan for the day or cut the exercise short. But why? Your workout is just as important as someone else’s and you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking up a space for a reasonable* amount of time. (Note the word reasonable*, we don’t want to turn into chad-ettes ourselves). If someone feels that entitled to think that their workout is more important than someone else’s- it doesn’t matter who’s working out, they’d feel that way even if Phil Heath was taking up the spot they wanted. So don’t worry, just do you.
For reference, this is Phil Heath lol:
2. Plan your workout ahead of time / Write it out!:
I always say I have the best memory until I actually need it. Walking into the gym with a game plan in your head might sound like a good idea until the nerves take over. Write your workout in your notes- and if you need to- look up the exact form ahead of time and attach screenshots! It’ll save you a great amount of time and you’ll know exactly where to go and what to do right when you step foot into the gym.
3. Follow a workout program:
*(ahem, *cough* EZFitGuides)* But in all seriousness it takes the stress and guess-work out of planning your own workouts. You have a set amount of exercises with set & reps which means no headache, no awkward pauses to figure out what to do next, confidence in your workout and new exercises to try out! Workout programs aren't only for beginners though, but it definitely helps take the guess work out of anything, and implements new exercises you might've never tried before and find some new favorite movements!
4. Dress for success! (Ok, super cheesy saying but let me explain):
Don't wear something to the gym that you're not comfortable in. Just because fitspos on IG wear crops/ sports bras & shorts, doesn't mean you have to- Same goes for baggy tops or pants! If you're feeling uncomfortable physically and mentally in the clothes you're wearing- 10 out of 10 times you'll be focused on that the entire time instead of your gym session!
5. *Booty Blocking Tip*:
Depending on how busy the gym is, or what movement I'm doing- my #1 go-to is my jacket. Wrap your jacket around your waist like the cool kids in my middle school once did and boom- booty blocker. (We all sadly know about gym perverts & while I wish we didn't have to take precautions to keep them away- this helps from inappropriate stares).
6. Find your prime time!:
Most gyms (especially if they're commercial) have prime/ busy hours. If you suffer from gym shyness like I do (to this day even lol)- experiment and figure out a slow time at your gym. You'll avoid super long wait times for equipment, pressure to cut your workout short, and my guess is there'll be a significantly less amount of Chads in the building.
7. Train for yourself!:
Regardless of what everyone else is doing or whatever the new trend is- don't alter your goals! If you want to focus on upper body- but almost the entire fitness world is focusing on the booty trend- then please, I beg you, focus on what you want to do. If you end up changing your goals because of pressure, you won't ever feel satisfied and you won't have a real passion behind what you do. If you genuinely enjoy running- by all means- RUN!
8. If you're unfamiliar with a free weight movement, stick to machine for a while!:
Even though there are benefits to staying away from machines and sticking to free weight movements- if you're just starting out, this could be a much safer alternative and it'll help you get your form down.
Instead of: free weight squats, lunges, & split squats- use a smith machine!
Instead of: benching, incline bench, & military press- use a smith machine!
9. Go with a friend!
This is probably one of the easiest ways to become familiar with the gym environment and be comfortable. If your friend is new to the gym too then you guys can be nervous *together* everything's better together right?
If you have a friend who's experienced with the gym then tag along and see what you can learn!
10. Complicated doesn't mean effective:
Instagram and youtube is flooded with workouts and while some of the workouts might be effective, there are some out there that are.. well.. interesting.
Just because your workout seems "boring" in comparison to someone who's super-setting their twerking pistol squats on a bosu ball with front flips off of a treadmill doesn't mean your workout is "wrong" or you're wasting your time- quite the opposite actually.
I hope this article was helpful and somewhat entertaining lol- this was my very first attempt at a blog post so hopefully this was decent- it'll only get better from here!
As my Russian family says "the first pancake is always a failure" right?