Get Over Your Fear of Free Weights

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Don't Be Intimidated

I know there are a lot of buff guys wearing those tank tops with the huge cut outs in the arms but chances are they are too involved in their workout to notice you. It truly feels like everyone is looking at you as you fumble around awkwardly with equipment, but they aren't. And the more comfortable you get being there, the more comfortable you will feel about screwing up.

Show Up

There were so many days that I dreaded showing up to the gym because I hated that I felt confused. I just wanted to say forget it, but I stuck with it and got more comfortable with every visit. There were times I had to skip a machine because I couldn't find it and was too embarrassed to keep wandering around the gym or ask for help. There were also times when I finally found that machine but skipped it because I was afraid I would look like an idiot when I couldn't figure out how to adjust it properly. I kept watching what other people were doing and then eventually I got the courage to try it myself.

Ask for Help

I failed miserably at this. I'm sure I could have gone up to any trainer and asked where the row machine was or how to adjust the cable cross machine. There are also plenty of people around me who also might know, but I'm shy about doing it and I just hate asking for help. I'd rather wander around the gym casually sipping my water bottle and inconspicuously craning my neck in search of the back extension machine.

Choose a Good Time

Go when the gym is least crowded, if possible. It might make you feel braver about tackling machines and weight benches. Plus, you won't have to jockey for space or stalk machines you want to use. I get off work at 5 pm and so do a lot of other people.  Pre-work, morning workouts are hard on me if not impossible so sometimes crowds are inevitable, which is one of the most annoying thing about the gym. That and other people's sweat. I went as early as possible on weekends when I was still feeling nervous. My gym is 24 hours, so I thought about going at 11pm on a Friday or 5 am on a Sunday, but it never happened. It would have been wonderful to have the whole gym to myself to figure things out though.

Everyone Looks Strange Exercising

Remember, there are always people doing weirder exercises then you. I saw this woman going up and down into a straddle sit in slow motion with a kettle ball in her hand. It was really bizarre. Then she went over and did a handstand against the wall while she bent her legs into a cross legged position. I saw this guy swinging from one of those giant racks and then putting his legs through his arms. One pair of girls threw medicine balls at the wall. People basically go into the gym and do all kinds of things to torture themselves. Whatever works the muscle or gets the burn is what they are going to do, so there is no need to be embarrassed about doing walking lunges across the floor or anything else. I used to be embarrassed to even do the splits at the gym. Why? I don't know. I tend to be embarrassed of everything for one reason or another, but I need to do the splits to keep my flexibility, so I do them and now I don't think twice about it. Speaking of which, I need to start doing my bridge there too. Do what you gotta do, and chances are, it's no big deal.

After two weeks of I never ever want to go back awfulness, I'm confident that I can walk into any free weight room in all my pink glory, be the only girl in there, and not feel intimidated. I don't notice everyone else. I'm not looking for people who might not know what they are doing so I can stare at them and make them feel uncomfortable. I'm too busy sweating bullets and doing box jumps. I get in there and do my thing. You just have to push through the whole fish out of water phase and you can too.

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