8 Ways to Be More Confident at the Gym

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I recently heard one guy explain that his greatest issue after having lost weight was that he “felt like a fraud in the gym.” The only way you can be a fraud is if you’re trying to be something that you’re not. Here are a few tips on how to exercise your confidence at the gym.

Go with a Plan

 If you get to the gym and just wander around trying out different machines or picking through free weights, you’re going to look like a newbie. Have a workout plan in mind (or better yet, in hand) and complete each set with purpose and conviction. Record your workout in a paper journal or on your phone. Keeping track of your workouts will allow you to continually progress and prevent you from doing the same thing week after week. It also makes you look serious and dedicated; which you are.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Look, everyone’s body is different. There are guys that live in the gym, put a lot of money and effort into building their physique and, maybe, just have the right genes. Can you aspire to be as disciplined and hard working? Sure. But never feel less than them or unworthy of being in the same gym. There’s always going to be guys that are in better shape. Constantly focusing on keeping up with everyone you see at the gym will cause you to miss the opportunity to develop other aspects of yourself that make you unique.

Know Your Limits

When you work out, don’t try to impress anyone other than yourself. If you try to move more weight than you can handle, you run the risk of hurting yourself. If you’re using terrible form, you’re likely to call negative attention as opposed to wowing anyone. When you plan your workout, make sure you start out with weights you can handle and increase them over time. When a weight gets too easy for me, I’ll usually go up by about 10% but drop the number of repetitions in a set. Each workout, I’ll increase the repetitions until I can easily handle that weight, then go up. Not before! And for gosh sake, don’t drop or throw the weight—that just makes you look like dork. It also shows that you didn’t have proper control of the weight to start.

Take a Friend; There’s Strength in Numbers

If you can, get a workout buddy. Having someone to spot you, check your form and suggest new lifts is helpful. Plus, you’ll automatically feel more comfortable being with someone you know.

Dress to Impress

I don’t mean this in a shallow, show yourself off way. However, you can increase your confidence by feeling good about how you look. Don’t wear ratty, torn and stained gym clothes that are now 6 sizes too big. Find clothes that fit correctly, are designed for working out and make you feel good. Save up for better brands; my favorites are Lululemon or Under Armour. Better brands last longer, are designed to make you look good and you’ll feel like you belong in a gym. Also, the added investment is another incentive to use them.

Be Friendly, not Flirty

Smile and don’t be afraid to talk to people but don’t make the gym a pick-up joint. Most people are there to workout and the advances will be unwelcomed.

Don’t Create Your Own Discomfort; No One is Looking Anyway

While you’re going to act like you belong there, in reality, no one is going to notice you. People go to the gym to workout. They might catch you in a passing glance but there really isn’t any reason to feel self-conscious. Be a good gym citizen and you’ll be welcomed.

Corrolary to the Last Two

OK, some gyms ARE pickup places and everyone MAY be checking everyone else out. If that’s what you’re into then you probably don’t have any confidence issues. It’s important to scope a gym out to see if it’s right for you. Most gyms will offer a free or discounted week pass. Check out the place during the times you’d typically workout. If everyone is into their workout, people are friendly and you feel comfortable then you’re good. Family oriented gyms seem to be the least intimidating. If you’re really new and the idea of going to a gym freaks you out, try starting at the YMCA or the gym at a community college. They’re used to people just getting started and will be most helpful.

Some use a gym to lose their weight while others simply don’t feel comfortable until they’ve gotten close to their goal. Don’t let anxiety, or the feeling of being a fraud, keep you from having a fun and productive gym experience. You’re doing this for yourself and only you can give yourself the permission you need to succeed.

Image courtesy of stockimages FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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