Winter is here along with the bitter cold and snow. No better time to give your local gym a try. For many people one of the largest obstacles is the intimidation factor. Images of everyone being super fit, and doing exercises and moves that the average person cannot do are common to someone who has never trained. The fear of all the members watching as you awkwardly try out all the complicated looking machines can keep may new comers away. “What if I can’t do some of the exercises the trainer shows me, I’m not in good enough shape to go to the gym, I’m not strong enough, I’m too overweight, I’m too clumsy, what do I wear, I’m too old, too many people”- all valid and common concerns and I have heard them all many times.

But here is the real truth:

Everyone is super fit? No. Everyone wants to be and many truly are. There are also many beginners just like you, returning members who had to take some time off and everyone in between. Gyms contain a real cross section of members and all have one common goal. To get in the best shape possible under each person’s individual circumstances.

What if I cannot do some of the exercises the trainer shows me? A good trainer will never get you to do an exercise you are not capable of. Everyone has different starting levels, conditions and possible injuries/issues that may make certain movements risky. Be sure to discuss these with your trainer before you venture onto the gym floor. Your trainer will create a routine for you that will address these issues and enable you to get a productive workout in. In many instances training can help with injuries/conditions.

I’m not in good enough shape to go to the gym. The reality is, if you feel this way it’s probably the exact opposite, you are not in good enough shape NOT to go to the gym! You are in charge of your health and wellness in many ways. If you feel you are not in good shape be pro active. If you can walk in the door of a gym by yourself a good trainer can help you get started on a routine you can build on.

I’m not strong enough. Many guys feel like they have to be above average strength before they can train in a gym. No one cares what you are lifting, but you will garner respect from the veterans by showing up on a regular basis and training with some effort. They will see your trying and will help you with your goals. Everyone had to start somewhere…even the guy benching 300 pounds.

I’m too overweight. I agree it can be an intimidating venture to walk into a gym for the first time when you want to lose 25, 35 or more pounds. Rest assured all eyes will not be upon you. What people will see is “There is someone who is being pro-active, there is someone who is making a positive change.” And when it starts happening and the pounds start coming off you will have the support of your whole gym team.

I’m too clumsy. Your first few workouts should be no longer than a half hour and the moves should be easy to master and feel confident with. As you progress there will be plenty of time to get into the advanced exercises. Training is a lifetime sport and it’s up to you how far you want to take it.

What do I wear? Wear something you are comfortable in and provides you with ease of movement. As you train for awhile and get used to your gym environment you will develop your own training and training gear style.

I’m too old. I firmly believe that the older we get the more important exercise becomes. Train smart, know your limits, warm up, get your rest, eat well and train for life!

Too many people. The nice thing about weight training is you can pick your time. Typically a gym will be busiest from 8-10 week mornings and 4-8 in the evenings. If possible train around those times but after your training awhile and get comfortable in a gym atmosphere. You may end up training with a few of the members that frequent the gym at the same time as you.

Most of those concerns that may hold you back from joining in the first place will be long gone as you get comfortable in your new fitness environment. One day you will see a person like yourself just starting out at your gym. Introduce yourself to them. Offer them your assistance if they need it in any way and welcome them to a positive step to lifelong fitness.

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