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I grew up as an only child in a fairly remote area of Colorado. And if that was not isolating enough, my dear mother home schooled me. So, i...

How to Go to a Gym If You're Shy


I grew up as an only child in a fairly remote area of Colorado. And if that was not isolating enough, my dear mother home schooled me. So, if you think that you were shy as a kid and shy as an adult, to the point of not being able to join a gym because you're too timid, trust me that you're not alone.

As I've matured, I've learned a lot about myself. And one of the most important lessons I've come to realize is that we have to do what is right for us, to follow our passions, and not let our worries about other people get in our way.

And it is for this reason that being shy does not need to stop you from joining a gym.

I've found that there are 3 steps to being able to start going to a gym to workout, even if you have social anxiety and think that you're much to shy to even go through the doorway.

1. To sign up, visit your local gym at an off time. Typically, this is mid-morning between 10 AM and 12 noon. But, if you're incredibly shy and don't want to chance things, drive by at various times and days to see which windows of time have the least amount of cars in the parking lot.

Once you choose a good time, go in with the main focus of signing up. and worry about the rest later. Because signing up is the most important step.

2. Dress for comfort, not for others. Take some time to choose an exercise outfit that you feel very comfortable in, and don't worry about what others will think of you. Maybe you feel best in baggy sweatpants or perhaps all black. Whatever it is, if you're too shy to join a gym, you'll find that once you put your comfort above any perceived judgement, you'll be a lot happier.

Some tips that have worked for me are to wear rather baggy clothing (I've even worn my husband's sweatpants at times) and in colors that do not stand out. You'll never find me in bright pink, purple, or blues. I also keep my hair back in a band to keep it off my forehead, but not up in a ponytail, because I like the security of being able to 'hide' behind my hair.

3. Focus on yourself, not on others. It can help to listen to music on a personal device. Allow yourself to 'get in the zone'. Whether you are on the elliptical in the corner or working out on mats near others, you'll be in your own space, enjoying songs that inspire you. This will keep you concentrating on what's happening in your own world, and the rest of the gym can fade into the background.

Believe it or not, after about four years of going to my local gym, I started a local walking group with friends I've made there. And we welcome newcomers all of the time. It was nothing I ever planned on. However, quick glances and seeing the same people over the course of weeks, lead to hellos. And hellos can lead to longer exchanges. This can eventually evolve to having acquaintances and then friendships.

I was probably the shyest person at the gym, and never thought I could join one. I'm healthier and stronger than I've ever been as I move though my 50's. So, don't let shyness slow you down. Go for what you want.

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