How to Feel at Ease at the Gym
May 29, 2000 -- If you're a woman who feels intimidated or uncomfortable
about working out in a gym, put yourself at ease with the following strategies,
recommended by Chicago trainer CC Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the American
Council on Exercise.
- If you have a flexible schedule, work out when the gym is least crowded.
"The front-desk staff can give you a profile of the crowds that come in at
different times," Cunningham says. "You might find there's a time when
the older set comes in, and you can avoid the after-work cruising
- Wear the same workout clothes that you'd wear at home so you don't end up
fussing about how you look. "Don't try to compete with the genetically
gifted individuals in matching jog bras and skin shorts," Cunningham says.
Besides, most people are paying a lot less attention to you than you think.
"The beautiful people are usually looking at their reflection in the
mirror," she says.
- Wear radio headphones. "That's a way to create your own little
world," Cunningham says. "And it makes it less likely that someone will
- Go to the club with a friend. Your workout partner will provide moral
- Take a group exercise class. "Choose a class that suits your
personality, like boxing if you're more aggressive and yoga if you're more
mellow," Cunningham says. "You're likely to find people in those
classes who are more like you." Besides, in most classes, women far
- Take your club's orientation so that you're familiar with the layout and
the equipment. Taking two or three personal training sessions can help, too.
"That awkwardness that comes from not knowing how to use the machines can
make you feel more self-conscious," Cunningham says. "If you feel like
you're the only one who doesn't know how to turn the treadmill on, other people
start to seem larger-than-life and they become so much more of an
Suzanne Schlosberg is the co-author of Fitness for Dummies, second
edition, (IDG Books Worldwide, 2000) and author of the Ultimate Workout
Log, second edition, (Houghton Mifflin, 1999) and a freelance writer in
Santa Monica, Calif.