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    17 Super Helpful Tips For Anyone Who's Terrified Of The Gym

    Everyone's gotta start somewhere. Here's how to jump in with confidence.

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    If you're new to fitness the thought of hitting the gym can be intimidating AF.

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    Gymtimidation is real, and pretty much everyone experiences it at some point. From the million machines that look exactly the same, to the countless people you feel are watching your every move, working out at a gym can be extremely overwhelming.

    So BuzzFeed Life spoke with Dr. Michele Kerulis, Professor of Sport & Health Psychology at Adler University, and Will Lanier, NYC Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, and came up with awesome ways you can overcome your fear of the gym and be on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

    You got this!

    1. Create a plan of attack so that you'll walk into the gym more confidently.

    2. Next, find workouts that will help you achieve those goals. Write them down and bring them with you.

    Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / Via

    You can use apps, BuzzFeed Health, Pinterest, or just Google a workout you're interested in.

    "If you get online and search a 20-minute workout, you’ll find a billion different exercises you can do," Lanier says. "Print out the workouts or write them down and take it to the gym with you. That way you'll have a clear sense of what you're doing, and you'll feel much more confident than if you were to wander aimlessly coming up with a routine on the spot."

    3. Make sure the gym you choose feels like somewhere you actually want to be.

    4. If a big gym full of equipment and people doing intense lifting is terrifying, consider a boutique gym where everyone does one thing and does it together.

    5. When you’re joining the gym, ask for a walkthrough of the space and equipment.

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    When you're considering becoming a member, ask that a staff member give you a rundown of the gym and show you around the equipment – at no extra cost. It is a completely standard request to make and will make you more confident in the space, easing some of your anxiety.

    Also take some time to note where everything is — the water fountain, locker rooms, towels, etc. Being familiar with the layout will help you feel like you know the space and can navigate it confidently.

    6. Pay attention to the brand of machines in the gym so you can look up instructional tutorials online later.

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    If you know what brand to look for, you can usually find helpful videos about how to use them online, says Kerulis. "Equipment can be extremely overwhelming. I have a career in fitness and there are still pieces of equipment that I don’t know how to use."

    7. Use a guest pass immediately so you can get to know the space with someone else.

    8. Take advantage of your free personal training sessions early on.

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    Almost all gyms offer at least one free personal training session when you join. Use this as an opportunity to learn new exercises and what muscles they work. That way you can incorporate them into your routines when you start working out solo.

    9. Start out by hitting the gym during off peak hours.

    10. If you’re scared to join a class right now, just take some time to peek in and see what it’s like. / Via

    You’ll get a sense of the instructor, the pace of the class, and what you can expect, which will make it a lot easier to join when you're ready. Keep in mind: The great thing about classes is that everyone is doing the same thing, which takes away some of the intimidation factor. You'll also get the opportunity to meet people — maybe even a future workout buddy.

    11. Find something exciting to train for that will get you through those gym doors.

    12. Always ask for help when you need it.

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    Understand that it's much better to ask for help and do things right, then to do things wrong and get injured. "Feel free to ask questions of the staff and let them know that you’re new and are trying to get accustomed to the gym," Kerulis says. "Most of them will be very open to helping you out. And it will also allow you to get to know them, making the gym a more inviting place for you."

    13. Consider doing workouts that let you conquer one part of the gym at a time.

    Start with whichever section you feel most comfortable with – ab mats, cardio machines, free weights, etc. – and once you feel you've gotten the hang of it, move on and take on another part of the gym. This also helps you avoid getting stuck in a workout rut where you do the same thing over and over and over.

    For example, you can start with some bodyweight workouts like this in the mat area and then work your way up to dumbbell workouts in the free weights section.

    14. Use headphones to block out the world.

    "Just making a great playlist and having a familiarity with what you’re going to listen to once you get going can ease some of the anxiety," Lanier says. If you don't have the time to put together a kickass playlist, you can find some on apps like Spotify, 8Tracks, or Pandora. This can help drown out the noise around you and distract you from wondering about what everyone else is doing so you can focus on your own workout. Heck you can even get lost in a podcast or an audiobook while you exercise.

    15. Use online groups to learn new tips or commiserate about being a fitness newbie.

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    You can join a Reddit fitness newbie group, or a Quora thread, or to find other people who are in the same beginner boat as you are — and maybe even experienced people you can learn from.

    16. Look good, so you feel good.

    17. Compete with yourself and only yourself.

    Remember: Everyone started somewhere. And if they can figure it out, you definitely can, too!

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