Are You Afraid of the Gym?

Halloween is a day synonymous with fear.  It’s the one day a year when instead of putting aside our fears we are expected to revel in them.  Going to a haunted house might make you shudder a bit but how about stepping into the gym?  Do the musclebound men grunting their way to perfection make you queasy?  Do the mats that may or may not have ever been sanitized gross you out more than the gratuitous violence in a low-budget horror film?  Are you worried about looking more idiotic than the guy at your Halloween office party dressed as Little Bo Peep?  If any of these things ring true to you, adhere to the following tips to make your trip to the gym a little less spooky:

1.) No one’s looking at you, kid:  When feeling self conscious during your workout try to remember that most of the other gym-goers are in the same boat.  People are likely more interested in getting through their workout quickly, efficiently, and sans any embarrassing fumbles than in how many pounds you are loading on to the squat rack.  Though it sometimes may feel that way, working out is not a competition and those who think that it is are usually too busy ogling themselves in the  mirror to notice your conservative weight choice on the lat pull down.

2.) Be a big fish in a small pond: Though there are plenty of beautiful, well run “big box” gyms if you are new to exercise, smaller is usually better.  Smaller, boutique style gyms where everybody knows your name will be easier to navigate and are usually equipped with at least a few professionals who are there to do just that.  Rather than being lost in a crowd wondering what that trapezoidal contraption in the corner is supposed to do for your body you will easily be able to find someone to explain it to you.  No matter what your ego says, a little hand holding never hurt anyone and is especially important to prevent injury if you are new to the gym.

3.) Be the change you want to see in the gym: Concerned about the cleanliness of gym equipment?  Try wiping down machines before and after you use them.  Laying a towel down on the bench or mat prior to use is also helpful in creating a barrier between you and germs.  Also remember you do get what you pay for when it comes to working out.  Fancy-schmancy gyms usually have more money in the budget to higher cleaning staff and trainers who are paid well tend to care more about the state of the gym they work for than those who are not.  If you do go the budget-friendly route just make sure you are religious about your sanitizing.  Set a good example and others might just follow your lead.

I hope this makes your gym experience a little less frightening,

Happy Halloween!