If you’ve ever walked into a gym and been terrified, you are not alone! Most people, at one point or another, have felt their confidence wane when walking through the gym doors.

Even though the gym can seem like an intimidating place, these tips can help you use the gym with confidence.

Select a gym that is right for you. Not all gyms are created equal. While some gyms are designed for hardcore bodybuilders, many are intended for the regular person that wants to stay or get in shape. When considering a gym, take a tour to see what type of people are in the gym. Ask friends for recommendations and do your own research. Be sure to consider which amenities you will actually use and look for those. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a gym.

Dress the part. Before entering the gym, purchase an appropriate workout outfit. Stores like Target and Walmart generally have a great selection of affordable workout gear. Invest in a decent pair of workout pants, capris or shorts, a sports bra for women, and a properly fitting top. Appropriate shoes are a must as well. While having the perfect outfit may not seem necessary, wearing an outfit that is similar to other gym patrons will help you feel like you fit in.

Bring a friend. Friends can make working out so much more fun while making you feel less self-conscious. Schedule a time that works for both of you and make it a regular date. The accountability of having a workout partner is a great way to set you up for success as well!

Become a regular. Nothing builds confidence like familiarity. You’ll become more familiar with the equipment and how the gym operates with regular attendance. Making the gym a regular part of your week will help you see improvements over time as well.

Take a fitness class. Many gyms offer group fitness classes as part of their membership. Try out several of these classes and see which ones you like best. Rest assured that the other class participants are focusing on their own workout and will not notice if you miss a step or two. And the instructors will help you modify or adjust as needed.

Work with a personal trainer. If group classes do not appeal to you, try working one on one with a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help you learn how to use each piece of equipment and will help you work toward your specific health and fitness goals.

Avoid peak hours. Ask your gym when the busiest times are and avoid those. Find the time when the gym is less crowded. This will allow you to move at your own pace and not feel like people are watching you.

One final tip to help you build your confidence at the gym – don’t compare yourself to others and remember why you are there. Know that everyone has to start somewhere and you are where you need to be. Working out is not a competition and you will have your own personal victories as you regularly work out. Be patient with yourself and keep trying! You’ll get there!

What is one thing that scares or has scared you about the gym? Tell us in the comments below!

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