Going to the gym for the first time can be a daunting experience. You wonder if you belong there. You worry about what others will think of you. You worry about making mistakes or getting in the way.

However, none of these questions or doubts are the real truth. Yes, you might make a few mistakes or need to ask a fellow gym member how to use a piece of equipment – its normal. Everyone does it and everyone goes through it. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last. Heck, even after a decade of training in gyms and facilities around the world, there are still pieces of equipment that I have never used before and movements I’ve never done. It’s normal. No one knows everything.

But, it’s easier said than done, so here are a few things to remind yourself of when you first step foot in your new training space. They might just help push aside those anxieties a little quicker and get you through the door a little faster.

Be Excited

First and foremost – be excited. Change your frame of mind. Get excited about embarking on this new journey of health and wellness and achieving your own personal goals. This is a new and exciting time for you. Your first steps towards a better version of yourself, or heck, maybe an entirely new version.

Changing you environment can be scary, sure, but it should also be exciting! This is why you are here after all! So focus on that, a new and exciting adventure filled with wonderful discoveries about yourself and what you are capable of.

You Belong

It’s a weird thing to say – but you belong there. Whether you feel like it or not, the purpose of any training facility is to provide people with the means to improve. And you are people. It’s also exactly why you are there – to improve. You paid the membership fee, and you are training safely to achieve your individual goals. You have every right to be there.

It doesn’t matter that your goals are different from other’s or that your training isn’t structured like their’s. We all share the same facilities to go after our own individual goals. It is important not to let yourself become distracted with what other people are doing and using where they are on their own journey as an excuse to not pursue your own.

You Will Acclimate

It may feel uncomfortable at first. You are in a new environment doing new things you’ve never done before, in public. Again, it’s normal. But you will acclimate. Usually, quite quickly.

Just like going to a new school, a new workplace, meeting new people, etc. you will have an adjustment period as you get familiar with the people and your surroundings. You begin to build a routine, faces become familiar, you gain confidence in what you are doing, and that anxiety evaporates. Soon, you wonder why it took you this long to take the plunge in the first place. (Don’t kick yourself when you have realizations like this along your journey, you are exactly where you are supposed to be – keep going forward, it’s the only direction you can go after all 🙂 )

Focus on You

Remember – you are there for you and you alone. Your exercises are to help build your health and wellness, not someone else’s. Block out the distractions by putting on some music and focusing on your training.

By focusing intently on the movements you’re performing, you will continuously improve your form and competency. This is important for your own health, wellness, and success. Additionally, by focusing on your movements and training, distractions will fade to the background and you will forget there are other people there. You will quickly fall into a comfortable routine and see results faster.


Let’s face it, we are subject to our own schedules and so is everyone else. Unfortunately, this means that at certain times of the day, your training space may be a little overwhelmingly crowded. If you can, it would be ideal to figure out a slow period during the day that you can take advantage of and train then. The reason being, you won’t have as many people around making you nervous, but more importantly, you won’t have to wait for equipment and will be able to hop straight into your training without delay.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. But it isn’t the end of the world – as mentioned before, you belong there. This is your gym too. You can work-in with other people using the same equipment you need. Simply ask politely, “Can I work in with you?” and 9 times out of 10, the person will be happy to share their space and equipment with you.

Alternatively, you can also do your exercises in a different order based on whats available at the time, if necessary. Some days, it is just too busy and the equipment you need won’t be available in a reasonable time. Just remember – every exercise is simply a movement. You can replicate the same movement using different tools.

Be creative and trust yourself.

Treat it as Inevitable

Last but not least, treat your success as inevitable. You are going to go to a new training space, you are going to embark on this new training regime you’ve chosen, and you are going to improve yourself. Treat them as unavoidable outcomes. Eliminate the possibility of backing out or postponing to another time. Accept that you are going to do these things and that there is no “decision” to be made anymore.

You are going to train. You are going to succeed.

Here’s to the new you!

I’ll leave it at that for now. When it comes down to it, you just need to take the first step forward and the rest will follow.

Are there any specific worries or anxieties that have stopped you from going to a gym or sports centre in the past? If so, share them below – let’s talk!