Being a newbie – anywhere – is the worst. Regardless of the environment, it’s pretty standard to feel awkward and out of place when you’re new somewhere. Can’t everyone just tell how new you are? 

Being at a new gym (or a gym for the first time) is no exception. 

It can feel like everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing and where they belong.

Everybody knows how to use each piece of equipment and they’ve definitely never gotten onto a machine & put a leg where an arm was supposed to go.

It’s not a mystery to anyone else just how high the water squirts out of the fountain and whether you need to get so-close-your-mouth-is-almost-on-it (don’t do that) or if you can basically stand upright & the stream will reach you there.

Everyone else knows that towel service is free but that you’d probably rather bring your own. 

And that you don’t actually need to bring a padlock because they have fancy built-in locks & all you need is a code..

…that you will inevitably forget and have to ask a front desk worker for help getting your stuff out. (This has definitely not happened to me on numerous occasions). 

I could go on but you get it. Especially if you’ve been the gym newbie before. So here are 5 tips for how to not feel like a newbie at the gym: 

Fake it til you make it.

Acting confident and holding your head high as you walk in and go about your business is my #1 tip for getting over the newbie jitters. If you don’t get in your own head about sticking out like a sore thumb, chances are you won’t. Walk in like you’ve done so everyday for the last 10 years, don’t avoid eye contact with people, even go so far as to smile or say hello (gasp). It doesn’t take long before this fake confidence becomes genuine.

Everyone else is too concerned about themselves to pay you much attention.

This goes really well with #1 above, as it’s a great reminder that even though we might feel like we have a flashing, neon “NEWBIE” sign over our heads, no one else is noticing that. Other gym goers are too engrossed in their workouts or experiencing their own anxiety to think much about whether or not you know what you’re doing.

Hop on a treadmill first to help you get a lay of the land.

Generally commercial gyms have their cardio equipment set up front and center when you walk in. They’re fairly simple to use (start off walking) and slightly elevated so they give you a good vantage point from which to assess the rest of the gym. From there you’ll learn where the weight machines are located, if there’s a designated stretching area, and where to find free weights. Getting a quick bird’s eye view of the place will help you avoid wandering around trying to find stuff.

Go in with a plan.

This might mean printing off a workout program from Pinterest, watching YouTube demo videos, or talking to an experienced friend but regardless of which you choose, you want to know exactly what you’re going to be doing from start to finish. This will help you move with purpose and avoid standing around feeling like you’re in the way. 

If you haven’t already, download the Body Transformation guide for a full month’s worth of beginner workouts (and much more). These workouts can be done at home but obv the point here is getting you comfortable in the gym so try to do them there as much as possible. 

Hire a coach.

This is precisely what personal trainers are for (well, among other things). Even if you have a plan like suggested in #4, you may still have questions or uncertainties about WTF you’re doing and how to do it. Hiring a qualified trainer can help you feel more at ease and learn the ropes so that you’ll be confident working out on your own in the future. 

Spoiler alert – this is what I do. You can learn about me & my credentials here!

Further Reading

Check out these articles, as well:

Getting Comfortable In The Gym: Equipment Edition

Getting Comfortable in the Gym: Etiquette Edition

Strength Training Made Simple

How to Start Exercising When You Don’t Know Where To Start

I’m here to help

My Gone For Good weight loss coaching clients get all the benefits of working with a personal trainer. Plus nutrition and mindset coaching, accountability calls, check-ins, and around the clock support. Apply here to work with me.