Four ways to make the gym less intimidating

Dallas Head

I’m not a “gym rat” by any means. I don’t work out regularly, and I’ve never been very athletic. But my looming 22nd birthday made me realize that my metabolism might not hold out for much longer and that I should start working out. Though it has been an intimidating experience, I have learned a lot by showing up at the gym. 

For some of us, it’s hard to find time to want to go to the gym and justify being around people you think will laugh you out of there.  The people who go every day, who work out with weights and know what they’re doing (or at least look that way) can be very intimidating.


For someone who is new to the gym or doesn’t really know what they want out of the experience, that’s okay. There’s something available for everyone. Here are four ways to make it more bearable: 

1. Don’t go alone. 


Finding a buddy to go with can make things much easier to handle. They can either be new with you or be someone who can help you learn proper form for lifting. I found a couple of girlfriends who want to get fit too. It’s much easier to find time to go with someone too and you can work with your own schedule.

2. Go at times that are best for you. 


I’m not a morning person. I’m all for sleeping in as late as possible. So going to the gym at the crack of dawn is not going to make me want to go. But finding time in between classes or at the end of my day is perfect. Find a time that works for you.

3. Start with the machinery that you know. 



One thing that always scared me is how many different machines there are.  Treadmills, weights, all these machines that look like death traps. It can overwhelm sometimes. But one thing to remember is that you don’t have to use anything you don’t know.

The people working at the rec center would be happy to help you figure out a machine if you don’t understand it. I know I’ve had to ask help before on some of the lifting machines.

4. Check out different classes. 


If using the machines still scares you, or you don’t have a workout plan set, there are classes. Zumba, yoga, cycling and so many others throughout the day allow you to find one that fits the mold of who you are. Finding an instructor I liked made it much easier to go too. Use the free ability to go to the gym while you’re still a student.

It’s hard to face the fear of going. There are people watching you and you feel like they might be judging you on your form or why you’re there. But being able to concentrate on you and your workout is one way to face that fear. Make a killer playlist, focus on your breathing and get out there for that summer body you’ve wanted. Don’t let the gym scare you away from making yourself feel better inside and out.

All gifs courtesy of GIPHY.

Collegian Reporter Dallas Head can be reached at or on Twitter at @water4rams