We’ve all been there, we have all felt nervous about being the newbie in class or starting a new fitness club or gym. Sometimes first time nerves even stop us from giving something new a try. But you’re not alone. Everyone feels the nerves.
But remember, nerves are good! It means whatever you are doing is important to you so utilise them and make them work for you. Nerves activate your ‘fight or flight’ so use this adrenaline to get ahead!
Let’s untangle a few of the reasons why we feel like this to help you overcome the fear and use these nerves as a positive.
It is difficult to escape the influence of social media. If we give ourselves the chance it’s not difficult to spend ages wading through the infinite health and fitness profiles on Instagram and comparing ourselves.
This behaviour often results in developing a perception about how we are inferior to these people, or not as fit or strong. We then carry this perception with us to a new fitness class with the fear in the back of our minds that we are not good enough and that we will be judged.
But, reality is different and everyone starts somewhere. In most classes, you will find a range of fitness levels, abilities and motivations. Some people will be fitter, but there will also be people who are also coming to their first class or are a beginner.
Just focus on you and your reasons for coming. Soon enough you will be feeling pretty good about your achievements and progress which will push you to grow even more. And who knows, in a couple of months, it may even be you flaunting it on social media!
Even simple things like not knowing where the changing rooms or toilets are or not knowing what to wear or what the class will be like can make you nervous…it’s like that feeling of being the new kid at school again. But that’s all part of the fun, trying new things does wonders for your mental health so recognise them but don’t let them stop you.
You could try and arrive early before your first class/session to orientate yourself with what’s going on and even ask for a little tour. Remember, there is no harm in asking questions, ask the receptionist or the trainer. Feeling comfortable in your surroundings helps you to feel more confident.
It can be stressful (not to mention exhausting) if you discover you’ve found yourself in a class that’s too challenging for you. Do you stick it out or make a dash for the exit?
It’s the responsibility of the gym or studio to guide you on what to expect in classes so this doesn’t happen! If they haven’t offered support upfront in selecting where to start, and left it to you, then you should ask for some help. Choosing the right classes for you will help you to work your way up and enjoy your workouts rather than be scared off so don’t just guess.
We all have to start somewhere. A good class will support you with technique, coordination and instruction at your level. It can be difficult, but the easiest thing to do in this situation is take no notice of everyone else! Judging yourself against someone else you perceive to be better than you is pointless. You are comparing someone a different stage in their journey to you. The middle of a journey never looks like the start or the end!
Urgh. Mean Girls. We have all experienced at one point or another the feeling of being left out because you’re the new person and you don’t get the joke, know the instructor, or get the conversation. We’re right back at the first day of school hoping to make friends.
In reality though, those cliques could just be a group of people that have been attending the same class or classes for a period of time who feel comfortable enough to break down the barriers and have a chat with each other or the instructor. They could be just as likely to welcome you to the group once you become a familiar face so don’t allow yourself to stand on the sidelines and get involved, break down the barrier.
And it is usually a sign that the class is popular or the instructor is good. These are the people who will be the first to comment if something in the studio is not up to scratch so therefore standards are maintained.
Don’t focus on nerves being a negative, because nerves are a sign that you are out of your comfort zone. This is the best way to grow as a person! It means you are going to overcome a fear or learn something new so embrace them and push past your barriers!
It’s also down to the club and the staff to make sure the members are feeling supported and there’s a good morale in the club. They should be guiding their clients to feel empowered within their bodies, health and mindset with encouragement, and friendliness.
So, overcome the fear and test the waters. You’ll soon know if the club is right for you and you will begin to feel comfortable and confident in no time so stop worrying and push past it.