We all know how important physical fitness and working out is for our health. But what if you have a fear of going to the gym alone?
Gym newbies especially may face this fear, but even experienced exercisers may have this worry when joining a new gym.
In this article we’ll show you how to start going to the gym by yourself and feel confident about it.
1. Everyone is more focused on themselves than you.
If you are worried about people noticing how uncomfortable and out of place you might feel, get that thought out of your head now!
Most people in
You might feel completely out of place, but if you walk in with your shoulders back and head right to your first exercise, you will look like you belong. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Have a workout plan.
For years, I worked out aimlessly at my gyms. I’d wander for one option machine or dumbbell to the next. Not only did I not see any progress, I also wasn’t motivated and wasted way too much time wandering around the gym.
Now I have a workout plan with me every single time I go to the gym.
Usually, it’s a screenshot of the workout I am assigned to do that day by my trainer.
However, there are tons of popular workout apps on the market today. I can’t tell you how many ladies I see doing Beach Body Guide by Kayla Itsines. If you’re looking for inspiration for workouts, check out over 50 free strength training workouts here!
Whether you write your own routine or someone writes it for you, have it with you when you step foot in the gym so you know what needs to get done. Even better, give it a once over before you get to the gym so you know where to head first. You’ll look super confident this way!
3. Most people are going to the gym alone.
If you’re one of those people that claims, ‘I’m scared to go to the gym by myself’, then you’re in good company.
Virtually everyone I see at the gym is working out alone! I have always preferred to work out alone since you can get in and get out without any extra time wasted with socializing. That can be done outside of the gym!
This is your ‘me’ time. Almost everyone else is working out alone, too, so join them without fear!
4. Going to the gym alone gets easier.
It may be daunting at first, but it really does get easier.
Remember the first time you drove a car or started a new job? If you’re a parent, remember those first few days and weeks where you felt unsure?
It’s the same at the gym. You’ll be unsure at first, but once you learn the layout and know where everything is located and where you need to go for which exercise, it will just become muscle memory.
Just like with any habit or practice, it gets a little easier each time you do it — bonus points if you’re going multiple times per week!
5. Go during non-peak hours.
Gyms are notorious for being busy from about 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm for the after work rush. Some gyms are busy during the 5 am-hour with the early morning crowd.
If you’re able, try going during these non-peak times:
- early afternoon
- late evening
- mid-day/lunch hour (depends on the gym)
It’s nice to have the gym to yourself even as a seasoned gym-goer, but it’s even better when you’re a gym newbie and learning the ropes. By going during non-peak hours, you can get your feet wet and you’ll be ready to go during peak hours in no time.
6. Try the rec center before the commercial gym.
Big gyms can definitely be intimidating — even for those people who work out regularly!
Local rec centers, small YMCAs, and hotel gyms can be great options if you’re just learning. Usually they are filled with more of the beginner crowd or practically empty so you can learn while you’re there.
7. Learn from others (in a non-creepy way).
When you’re between sets or on a cardio machine, it’s easy to take notes from experienced people. You can see how they are lifting and learn from their form.
These experienced gym-goers will often practice good gym etiquette, too — not hogging equipment and re-racking weights (well, most of them, hopefully).
Learn from people who look like they know what they’re doing. In no time, you’ll be one of them.
8. Take a group class.
If you really worried about working out alone at the gym, sign up for a group class and set up shop in the back.
As a former group exercise instructor, I can’t tell you how much we love to help newbies get settled in. I always wanted to be welcoming and encouraging without singling people out. I wanted to help people make a habit out of coming to the gym — not being
More so, you can learn valuable form tips from these classes and determine your strength in class rather than on the gym floor. Even better, you can usually make a gym buddy in these classes. It’s always nice to see a familiar face at the gym.
9. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in.
In the past, I’ve been guilty of going to the gym in something cute rather than comfortable. If you’re already
However, if you’re in an outfit that fits well but not too clingy, you’ll feel much more at ease.
Take time to find activewear that fits you well without being too constricting. Even just one outfit that makes you feel great is all you need!
10. Start with the machines when you’re alone.
If you’re going to the gym for the first time, you’ll definitely want to start with machines if you have zero experience.
Machines are great for everyone, but especially beginners. They’ll teach you ideal form and ease you into the fitness floor waters.
11. Bring your headphones and phone when going to the gym by yourself.
If it seems quiet and awkward at the gym, it’s because you’re not wearing headphones.
With headphones you can be in your own little gym world and enjoy some music to pump you up!
Plus, you’ll be able to avoid awkward, unsolicited advice or conversations.
Your phone is a handy tool because you can keep a snapshot of your workout on your phone to reference between sets to ease the awkwardness of that ‘just standing around’ feeling.
12. Watch videos online before going to the gym alone.
When I was first getting into lifting weights, I watched videos of other seasoned lifters working out on Instagram and YouTube.
Not only was it super motivating and made me want to get to the gym ASAP, it was helpful to take tips on form from them.
You can see how the pros do it right from the comfort of your home and them emulate them when you set foot in the gym.
13. Try bodyweight exercises at home to perfect form.
Another habit I got into when I was a gym newbie (and I actually still do this today) was practicing bodyweight movements of basic exercises at home.
By doing this moves over and over with just your bodyweight, you’ll get a feel for the proper form and what feels best.
You can iron out any kinks in the flow of the move in the comfort of your home in front of The Bachelor or a baseball game rather than on a crowded gym floor.
I can’t tell you how many hip thrusts I did from my couch before I had the courage to try it out at the gym. It helps so much.
14. Remember progressive overload to encourage gains.
Are you worried more about staying motivated and maintaining improvements rather than just the anxiety of working out alone?
Remember to track your workouts and ensure you are progressively overloading your workouts.
What does progress overload mean?
- more reps
- more weight
- less rest time between sets
- more sets
- larger range of motion
- adding supersets
- making the exercise more difficult (pause, pulse, 1.5 reps, etc.)
15. Go at the same time every day.
If you go to the gym at the same time every day, it will become routine and you will feel more comfortable over time.
You’ll also begin to get familiar with the faces that you’ll see every day and know which machines are usually free during that time.
It will become ‘your’ gym hour over time!
16. Join an accountability group.
I prefer to stick with my trainer’s large group, where she runs an online Facebook group and posts new workouts for us each month. This takes the pressure out of face-to-face groups for an introvert like me.
However, if you want more face-to-face time, many gyms offer accountability groups. Or, you could buddy up with a friend or two that also enjoy working on their health.
17. Don’t rely on motivation.
So many people say they try and fail to work out due to struggles with motivation.
Guess what? Everyone struggles with motivation!
It is not motivation that will get you to the gym every day — it is a habit and a routine that will get you there.
I know myself and I know I’ll never be motivated to workout at 5 am every morning. Instead, I work out on my lunch break or mid-day. This works so well with my personality and it is now just my habit. I don’t even have to question it — I know that I work out during the lunch hour.
It has nothing to do with motivation and everything to do with settling into a habit.
Which time of day will work best for you to workout? What type of workouts can you see yourself doing the next year or 10 years?
Ask yourself these questions to make your habits stick insteading of relying of the ever-chaning motivation. It may be here today, but gone tomorrow.
Bonus: Start at Home!
If, after implementing the above tips, you still have a fear of going to the gym alone, just start at home!
It’s more important to just work out rather than where you work out.
For optimal fitness, you mainly need to focus on strength training anyway, so invest in a set of dumbbells and get started at home.
Still confused about where to start? Consult our epic strength training guide which includes over 50 workouts here.
You got this!
Everyone gets gym anxiety every now and again.
But these tips will have you feeling confident in no time.
Remember that most people are at the gym alone! Working out can serve as your self-care ‘me’ time.
Keep going to the gym regularly and, over time, it will feel like second nature and you will feel like you belong!