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How Not To Be Shy When You Go To Gym For The First Time?

January 18th, 2009 · 5 Comments ·


Some people do not like going to gym because they are shy to work out with other strangers. Because of that thought, some decided not to sign up any gym membership.  I have spoken to many new comers and some of them had the same issue too before they fall in love with gym workouts.  They have managed to overcome that feeling and now having good time there.

If shyness is your excuse too, here you go for 7 tips which may help you overcoming that feeling:

  1. You see strangers at the gym. They may not talk to you.  They may stare at you.  No worry. Just focus on what you need to do. There is no rule that you have to interact with them. Put on your headphones. Don’t worry about others. If you are doing bicep curls, you can close your eyes, feel the tension at your muscles and forget about how others look at you.  You are at the gym because of yourself, not because of them.
  2. Most gyms offer new member orientation, either in the form of the so called “free personal training” session or more formal type of walk through. Don’t skip it. Make the appointment and attend it.  Talk to the staffs and befriend with them. Who knows, they may give you much help when you need one.
  3. Go to gym with your friend who have gym workout experience. Get someone who share the similar fitness goal with you. You will find it easier to work out with a supporting buddy.
  4. Another option is to choose less busy hours, say in the mid afternoon or late at night. Most gyms are packed with crowd early morning and after work.
  5. If working out in open space is your concern, you can go to a smaller gym. Some gyms even have ladies workout area. I understand this concern because some gym purposely makes fitness studio or gym lined up with windows so that by passers can see what happening inside. This “transparency” may make beginners uncomfortable.
  6. Set your expectation right. When you join, don’t expect yourself to have bodies like those seasoned gym goers. Beautiful people with perfect bodies at gym may backfire. They probably have spent months, if not years, to train to get those nicely toned bodies.  Some newcomers are motivated by them, but few may be intimidated by those members.  Everyone starts off as beginner initially.  You will be one too if you train hard enough for some time.
  7. If you still find it hard to go to gym, explore some other alternatives such as non-profit community sporting clubs, women-only clubs or 1-to-1 personal training studios. Worse, join other sports activities which you are more comfortable and slowly build up your confidence.


No worry, many options are available out there. You should not give up exercising just because you are shy. I have been there, done there and I hope you will be able to do the same.

If you are new to gym, check out the following helpful articles:



Category: Gym Going

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5 responses so far ↓
  • Horizon // Jan 18, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    Great post. But for me, I didn’t feel shy when I was in gym the first time. Maybe because I was focused on exercising and I didn’t care about others.

  • Amnda // Jan 19, 2009 at 1:05 AM

    The best thing to do is to turn strangers into friends ;D

    A smile a nod is all it takes really…

    Tho befriending everyone at the gym will take up too much of your workout time… so my advice would be to start with the gym instructors and personal trainers. Though you should be nice to the receptionists and towel people too. They’ll be of great help when you’re in need.

    I’m nice to everybody so i get loads of help with or without me asking for it ;p

    Or perhaps it’s just easier for girls lol… I dunno…

  • Pam // Jan 19, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    Good Post. I’ve heard too many people telling me that they’re “scared” to hit the gym bc they’re afraid of people staring.

    For one thing, the guys all STARE at themselves.. and the girls like me, just LOOK blankly as I’m there to work out myself.

    That point of going at off peak hours is a good point as day time post morning rush and pre after work rush is best. Even the locker rooms/steamrooms/saunas are peaceful and not chock a block with people to avoid.

  • Yavor // Jan 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM

    This is a valuable post. I remember some 15 years ago I felt a little bit nervous to go to the gym for the first time. A friend of mine was going there already so I asked him if I could go with him.

    Currently I train at home, but the point you made about choosing less busy hours is very important. It’s os much better when you can train in acalm and relaxed half empty gym.

  • Joe // Apr 9, 2009 at 7:12 AM

    People need to let go of their prejudices. Not all guys stare at themselves or others. Most are polite and respectful at the gym, as are the women. Recently, a guy sued a chain of gyms in California for having women’s only areas at the gyms, and one gym in the chain that was women only. Apparently, he was mad that guys paid full price for their memberships but didn’t get access to all the clubs, or the entire club. That makes sense to me… businesses shouldn’t charge men and women full and equal prices for their gym memberships but then give one gender unequal use of the facilities. At the very least, they should have made a men’s only area for the guys who are too shy to workout in front of women or other more athletic men.

    I know some people who go there. At first, a lot of the women were upset and thought it would be uncomfortable, but as the guys slowly started using the former women only gym and women only areas at the gyms, the women realized there was nothing to be afraid of. Everyone minds their own business, does their workout, and goes home. Now, nobody really cares that the gyms are fully coed, and everyone works out together just fine. Again, I think a lot of women hold onto prejudices and stereotypes about male behavior – that all men stare, leer, harass, intimidate, etc. – that just aren’t true. Let those things go, and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get along with everyone, even at the gym.

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