So it seems from my recent post about gym anxiety that so many other people suffer from gym anxiety too! Even though I knew that, it's still good reassurance that I'm not always walking into a class where everyone is confident and knows what the heck they're doing. So, while my last post was mostly about the mental side of things, this one is a little more pragmatic. So you've decided to shove fear aside and try out a new gym/workout class (I knew you had it in you!)... what now?
Here's how to make yourself as comfortable as possible, while stepping out of your comfort zone and into a new gym:
Do your Research
Does the studio have showers or nah? Lockers or nah? Do you need tennis shoes or socks or is barefoot cool? Do you need to bring your own towel? A blowdrier? And what the heck should you wear? You can actually find the answer to most of these questions by looking at the studio/gym's website, scoping out their FB page or Instagram (to see pictures of people in the class), checking out Yelp reviews, or getting really old school and giving them a call. Once you've got the answers to these, there shouldn't be any surprises about the basics.
The night before, I always map out how long it will take me to get to the gym on GoogleMaps. If it's 25 minutes, I plan to leave about 45 minutes before, so I can get there early and have a little cushion in case I get lost. If you're like me and your brain actually does not function in the mornings, you can set a little note on the alarm, so even your half asleep brain can see what time you have to leave.
Seriously. Get there early. If you are the most perpetually late person in the universe (which is rude, justsayin'), get there early. You want to be there in case the teacher asks about newbies, and can give you a quick demo or rundown of the class. And, so they can show you equipment, if you'll be using any. Also, you can ask any questions you might have, and so you can let the instructor know about injuries, so he/she can provide modifications that will help you. Do not show up 5 minutes before. Show up 15 minutes before. It is soooo much better to be early then to be late and flustered already as you walk in.
Follow the Leader
If all else fails, monkey see, monkey do. Are people taking off their boots as soon as they enter the gym? You should probably do that too. Did everyone grab a towel? You might want one then. And feel free to ask someone around you if you don't know what you're doing! They were a new kid once too. I ask questions a lot, and no ones ever growled at me...yet.
How do you prep for a new gym/studio experience? Leave your tips!