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01101101's avatar

I feel too shy to go to the gym alone?

Asked by 01101101 (252points) December 5th, 2015

Hi. I’ve been depressed and anxious for so long. I’ve read that exercising is a big help but I can’t do it at home so I want to visit the gym, but I feel too afraid to go alone because of the people. I don’t have any friends to go with, and my boyfriend lives far away… it’s all me. I’m so scared of what they will think of me because I’m still a beginner. I want to help myself but I don’t know what to do right now because I’m alone. Can you give me some tips as an anxious beginner? I’ve never been to the gym before. Thank you very much.

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15 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get a trainer at the gym to explain and help you. They are there to do that and see beginners all the time. It may cost a little more but is worth it. The equipment needs to be explained and exercise should be rotated on different day visits. You can start off by just walking in good shoes for an hour, cheap and easy.

BosM's avatar

I agree with Tropical_Willie, schedule an introductory session with a personal trainer. Some gyms offer this free of charge – it’s a good first step. Also take a look at any group classes that you might be interested in, let them know you are a beginner and they will help you out. We are all beginners at some point so don’t let that stop you. Most people at my gym are working out alone anyway, so find a routine you like and go for it. Good luck!

CunningFox's avatar

Both answers above me are excellent. I just want to add that it’s okay to work out alone at a gym and not look like you know exactly what you’re doing. Everyone starts somewhere. And no one is going to be judging or watching you. They’re all focused on what they’re doing anyway.

ibstubro's avatar

I think you’re on the wrong social media.

Perhaps you can meet like-minded or sympathetic people on Facebook or another, regionally popular, site.

Consider an exercise class at a local “Y” or Kroc center. Some place catering to beginners.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

You will meet people there. Then you can start going together.

funkdaddy's avatar

The gym still freaks me out after going for years. It’s just a really odd dynamic, all the various people, no one really together, people coming in and out, all the mirrors and strange etiquette. I love sports and love working out, and it still makes me want to get out of there as soon as I can.

I think the classes are a lot better way to learn and get started. Everyone is doing the same stuff, everyone is doing what they can, and there isn’t the odd downtime. Some gyms here have started focusing on classes more than equipment so it’s actually affordable to have instruction all the time.

My wife also takes a couple exercise classes at the local community college. She found an awesome teacher and she’s been taking his classes for years now. She hasn’t been back to a typical gym since she started.

Try different things, don’t get discouraged, and find something that makes you feel accomplished.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I’ve been a Gym Rat for ages. I can tell you that your fellow health club members won’t be judging you or criticizing your workout. Everyone there has a busy, demanding life yet somehow fits exercise into the schedule. People are focused on their own regimens and goals, always within limited time restraints. You won’t attract an audience.

You might get approached by personal trainers who are trying to sign-up some paying clients. Most of them know better than to be too aggressive about this, but someone who’s new to the job might overstep. A firm, “No, thank you. I’m not interested” usually stops the situation. If not, just report the person to the facility’s manager.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

You can do wall push ups at home.

Pachy's avatar

I know how you feel. Once upon a time I hated going anywhere alone, but I got over it, and you can, too. Just MAKE yourself go and I think you’ll find after one or two times your fear will be gone. In fact, I promise it.

travelbabe24's avatar

Being shy is very tough. Trust me, I’m shy. Have you ever considered running? You can just run outside. Just buy proper equipment for winter. In the end it will be cheaper. Also, you can run on the treadmill and you won’t need a partner. Swimming too. If there is a pool near by, swimming is a greater toner and cardiovascular exercise. I’ll try to think of more ideas and I’ll let you know:)

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

Exercising is one of the healthiest things you will ever do in life. Not much more needs to be said about it. Find a way to do it. You may make friends at the gym too. And there are plenty of people there that will be willing to help you.

Haleth's avatar

You sound like me two years ago. Going to the gym IS intimidating. The good thing is, nearly any kind of exercise (or any healthy thing you do for yourself) can help lift your mood. It doesn’t have to be some complicated exercise at the gym. I started by going for walks in my neighborhood for half an hour every couple days. That’s about as beginner as it gets. For me the sunlight and being outside are really beneficial also, just as much as the exercise.

If you live in a place where walking outside isn’t safe, you can just walk on the treadmill. Doing that is definitely better for your mood than not doing it. I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like you would be a good candidate for the Curves gyms. These are no-frills, all-women gyms that focus on a set rotation of beginner exercises. They are aimed at people who feel nervous going to a traditional gym.

You could also combine exercise with making friends by joining a walking group on I’ve found that what works is joining something that you can go to at a set time on a regular basis, so you see the same people again and again. Then you can get to know people at a more natural pace.

You might also find support groups for shyness or depression on there, where you can meet women who are dealing with similar things. That could take the intimidation out of making new friends.

A slightly different combination of those approaches is what ended up working for me. I joined alcoholics anonymous and met a bunch of women who dealt with similar issues. AA also comes with some very basic, daily survival-level tips about lifting your mood. They call it “HALT” (hungry, angry, lonely, tired.) If you’re feeling one of those things, take steps to fix it and then re-evaluate your situation.

I’m starting to see that you can also do preventative maintenance on depressive moods. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep every day- BEFORE you feel tired. Eat healthy, nourishing meals that are full of fruit, protein, and vegetables, rather than starch, simple sugar, fast food, soda etc. Stay properly hydrated and don’t overdo it on caffeine. Reach out to someone before you feel lonely- online works too. Being nice to people is a great cure for loneliness, even if it’s something simple like thanking the bus driver or giving a cashier a friendly hello.

And also, you can do all this stuff in baby steps. Then afterward, congratulate yourself for doing one new thing to help yourself. My muscles were aching after work today so I took a hot shower. For every small thing like that, you can be like, “Yay, you did it!”

RocketGuy's avatar

What helped me was the realization the gym rats have to start somewhere (usually near the bottom). So I stopped being self-conscious and was able to go about my business. No one bothers me at the Y, no matter how small of a weight I pull.

bigkitty2454's avatar

Get yourself a total gym and use it. If you cant afford the high price look on Craigslist for used ones. I will definitely recommend the total gym to anyone wanting to stay fit at home.

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