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How to overcome 'Gymtimidation'

Does gym intimidation have you feeling bent out of shape? Joining a new gym is an excellent way to promote and enhance your physical and mental health.

Does gym intimidation have you feeling bent out of shape? Joining a new gym is an excellent way to promote and enhance your physical and mental health. However, being the new jock on the block can mimic the insecurities and trepidations experienced on the first day at a new school. Luckily, you won't have to worry about dodging bullies who are handing out atomic wedgies, or stealing your lunch money.

Here are some helpful tips to aid in avoiding fitness floor fright:

Managing Machine Monstrosities. We have all experienced that long, foreboding, sweaty upper lip walk down the testosterone-filled gym floor. You are one pull-up machine away from a full-blown panic attack and are overwhelmed with a false sense that everyone is concentrating on you while you mull over what machine you will mount. You confidently step onto an unassuming looking treadmill, only to find yourself overcome with flashing lights and copious program options. All at once you feel intellectually parallel to the second guy on the primate chart as you fumble to operate a screen comparable to the switchboard on the USS Enterprise.

While unfamiliar machines can cause confusion, a simple solution to prevent this situation from occurring is to ask for help. Gym-goers dislike two things: Asking for help and listening to Smooth Jazz while running. Luckily, most athletic clubs offer new members a tour upon registering, in addition to providing personal training session options to aid in furthering your knowledge of the equipment. This opportunity is a great way to learn the lay of the land, and address any questions or concerns you may have regarding the fitness floor and its machinery.

Weighing in on Weight Area Anxiety. For non-flexing folk, the weight room can be downright intimidating. Female members may avoid what feels like a male-dominated meat market, while male members may experience a sense of insecurity standing near Paul Bunyan on the biceps machine. The weight area is not designated solely for the Vin Diesels of the world. Everyone benefits from resistance and weight training, so it is time to become familiar with this region of the gym.

Asking a Personal Trainer or a fitness floor attendant for help is a great way to become familiar with not only the weight stacks and machines, but also allows an opportunity to become acquainted with the staff at the gym.

Introduce yourself and ask Fabio at the front desk for some assistance (It beats ogling over the highlighted illustrations on the side of the machine, or worse injuring yourself).

Keep it Classy. Bored with the monotony of your current workout routine? Check out your gym's Group Fitness schedule. New members may find participating in a Group Fitness class nerve-racking due to an erroneous belief that you must be an expert dancer to join a Zumba class or that you need to be Mike Tyson to participate in a kickboxing session.

Group Fitness classes provide a unique opportunity to forge new friendships with other members of the gym. Your new best friend could be waiting at your next cardio class.

The gym is a wonderful resource for strengthening your physical, mental and social muscles. Don't let the hardest part of your workout be the first step into the gym.

Earn it.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.