A picture of Hart House gym

How I Got Over My Nerves and Started Going to the Gym

I never thought I would become a gym person. After years of hating high school gym class, I never wanted to willingly exercise again. Though I eventually started exercising later in my life, I’d never gone to the gym at U of T. Everyone just seemed really intense, and I got pretty used to my no-exercise life.  But, recently I started noticing that I was actually really out of shape. So, I decided that getting back into exercise would be a smart thing for me to do.  So far, I’ve been going to the gym for about a month, and it’s actually been great! It's become one of the happiest parts of my week, as exercise helps me decompress and feel great in my body and mind. Here are some things I found to be really helpful for getting into the swing of the gym and not feeling so intimidated.
A picture of Hart House gym
Hart House Gym!
Start small.  I was worried about going to the gym because I’m not very fit, and thought that everyone would judge me. But, I realized pretty quickly that I didn't need to worry about this. Everyone is focusing on their own workout routine, so I never see other people looking at me. You can also adjust machines to whatever speed or weight you feel comfortable with. So, if you set your machines to an easy level, it won't be obvious that you're not super fit.
A picture of a machine at the gym
It's okay to start on an easy level!
I also thought that I would need to do a really intensive workout to see any results. Though I don’t think I’ll be getting super buff any time soon, going to the gym and only staying for ~30 minutes definitely feels like enough time to get in a decent workout, feel good about myself, and build my discipline. So, don’t push yourself too hard! Just get out there, and do what feels good and healthy for your body.  Find a Gym Buddy.  I found getting a friend to go to the gym with me to be super helpful, as it motivated me to go to the gym when I didn’t want to. I also found that if I was with someone else, I felt a lot less anxious at the gym. On the flip side, if you don’t have a gym buddy, don’t worry. I’ve since gone to the gym many times alone and found it super relaxing and fun! 
A picture of two dogs at the gym.
creds: giphy.com
Exercise classes are a great starting point.  Another great resource is exercise classes. If you’re not sure how to work out or what to do at the gym, going to the free, drop-in classes that Hart House or the Athletic Centre offer are great ways to get some exercise, without the pressure of the gym. I found that after doing exercise classes for a bit, I developed the confidence to go to the gym! Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments below!

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