It’s not uncommon for people to go to the gym as part of their New Year’s resolutions. Accomplishing a new goal can be daunting, even more so when it requires adopting new habits.  If you’ve managed to get into the habit of going to the gym, you might have noticed that it takes some time before you feel comfortable. Fitness spaces can be intimidating, especially to newcomers when you are just starting out and aren’t sure what to expect yet. If you don’t fit within the norms of fitness culture, whether due to gender, size, age, disability, etc., it can be even less of a welcoming place. It’s worth the effort to push through with that initial hesitation as you realize your goals and make a space for yourself in that environment. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, here are a few tips to help you gain confidence at the gym.

Pick one thing and master it

One of the most common reasons people feel out of place at the gym is because they’re not quite sure that they’re doing things correctly. To fight this, choose one thing that you can work on at the gym and get really good at it. By building comfort, you’ll also build up confidence. Once you’ve mastered one thing, move onto the next one and attempt a new exercise. There’s no right way to do fitness, but the best fitness plan is one that you enjoy, first of all, and can be consistent with. After all, if you find something you love, it will give you more reason to show up over time. 

Learn the high-traffic times

There are some times that are high traffic no matter what gym you’re in: it’s usually weekdays before 9 AM and after 5 PM. This makes sense because these times tend to be the most convenient for people going to and getting out of work. With all those people around, you may feel more anxious about doing your workout. It might be helpful to use the gym when it’s less crowded so you can try things without people waiting their turn for the equipment that you’re using. 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but it’s not fair to you especially if you’re new to fitness while someone else has years of experience. Bear in mind that at some point, everyone was a beginner with the same degree of uncertainty as you. If you need to compare yourself to something, make it about you – compare the present you to a previous version of you who may not have made it there. Make it about progress, not perfection.