For a beginner, the gym can be an intimidating environment.


Tons of machines, heavy ass dumbbells and metal plates lying around. Everyone seems like they’re an expert other than you, and you feel ridiculously out of your comfort zone and self conscious about every move you make, worried that people will be judging you for doing things wrong or you might end up on one of those ‘gym fail’ videos that circulate social media and YouTube so often.


We’ve all been there. I remember the first time I walked into a gym, looking around feeling like I 100% didn’t belong there. Everyone seemed like a massive bodybuilder or athlete that knew what they were doing, and there was me. A clueless, skinny, spotty and cripplingly unconfident 16 year old little melt. If anyone understands what it’s like to be intimidated by a gym environment – I do.


In this article, I want to talk about how you can feel more comfortable in the gym, and finally stop being so preoccupied with whether you’re being judged for doing things wrong and focus on what you’re there for – results.


Everyone Is In The Same Boat

The first thing you need to understand and realise is that everyone is in the same boat – or at least they have been at one time or another. As much as us blokes like to pretend we’re born with in-built manuals on how to train, the truth is we’re not. Nobody is. Movements in the gym come naturally to about 1% of the population. Everyone else has no idea what they’re doing.


It’s important you understand this truth and realise that everyone you look up to or see as an ‘expert’ in the gym was once in your shoes. A complete beginner with no idea where to start. If they’re anything like me, they probably made a complete dick out of themselves more times than they care to remember trying different things in the gym. Man, when I think about some of the stupid shit I used to do I cringe so hard. But it’s all part of the learning process, and if people take the piss out of you for learning new things to be quite honest they’re a complete prick.


It takes BALLS to step into any new environment for the first time. I personally suck at ‘new’ situations & suffer with quite a bit of social anxiety. So for me getting together with a group of people that I don’t know or have never met is a hella stressful experience. But shit happens and if you don’t put yourself in new situations, you will never grow and develop as a person.


If developing your physique, strength, fitness or self confidence is important to you, don’t let your fear of the unknown stop you from taking action. The satisfaction you get from being shit scared of something and doing it anyway is fucking priceless. And guess what? The more you do it, the better you get. And the better you get, the more confident you become – until eventually you aren’t nervous anymore. It becomes second nature and the anxiety or intimidation you felt at the beginning is a distant memory. This brings me on to my next point.


Knowledge Breeds Confidence

So what’s the best way to increase your confidence in the gym? Well, actually knowing what the fuck you’re doing is a good place to start.


Those of you that have gone to the gym without a plan and proceeded to wander around, bouncing from machine to machine with no real idea of what you’re doing or how you’re supposed to be doing it may understand where I’m coming from with this.


I don’t mean for this to sound confrontational – but in an age where literally millions of pieces of information are available at your fingertips through Google, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, there is honestly no excuse for not having some kind of plan before you rock up at the gym.


The amount of free content there is on the internet is obscene. Let me say that again: This content is FREE. There is no investment required on your part other than time and attention.


Yes, you need to be a little careful that you aren’t learning from complete fuckwits that don’t know their arse from their elbow. But you can very easily learn the basics of training for your goal with a few days worth of research online.


When I first started training I used to religiously watch YouTube videos after I finished work and before I went to the gym to figure out what exercises I was going to do that day. I’d read articles on free websites (like the one you’re reading now), read magazines, watch training videos, learn from as many different sources as I could. Sure, a LOT of the information I learned in the early days I don’t agree with right now, but it gave me a structure. It gave me a base level of knowledge and most of all, it gave me CONFIDENCE.


I cannot understate the importance of having the confidence to go in the gym and hit your training hard. You won’t be perfect. You won’t be a bodybuilder or physique athlete on your first week of training. But I can promise you this: the guy that has the confidence to train hard – even if he isn’t doing things perfectly – will progress a million times faster than the guy who doesn’t have the stones to go and give it a go.


Learn what you can, and then go and give it everything you’ve got. Repeat these two steps over the course of many years and I promise you – your physique will be drastically better than not only what you have right now, but it will also be night and day different to what the average person possesses.


You can do it. You just have to start. Get to work.


Andy Clements


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