Do you know what? I’m going to answer this straight away, No, it is NOT weird to go to the gym alone.
This is something that I have done now for over a quarter of a century.
And there are literally millions of people who go to gyms on their own the world over.
Realistically, the reason you’re worried that it could be weird comes down to feeling nervous and being self-conscious.
So, I’ll focus specifically on these aspects within this article.
Here’s Why You Feel Weird About Going to the Gym Alone
It’s absolutely fine to go to the gym alone. In fact, the vast majority of gym-goers typically “fly solo”. The main reason you feel it’s weird is that you’re nervous and self-conscious. However, in reality, most people are completely focused on themselves and their workout. In order to gain confidence ensure you have an induction on your first visit and perhaps go to the gym during off-peak hours.
Worried About the Gym on Your Own Infographic
The Fear of “Going Alone” – It’s All in Your Mind
There’s no two ways about it, if you feel weird going to the gym alone it’s because you feel self-conscious.
I would hazard a guess that as you’re asking this question, you’re either very new to the gym, or you’re thinking about joining a gym.
Unfortunately, the human mind, more specifically our internal voice, is constantly speaking to us about irrational fears.
And one of the main irrational fears that our mind tricks us into is, “What will others think of me?”
Your fears then multiply:
“Am I doing this exercise correctly?”
“Will others laugh at me?”
“Will I fall flat on my face, injure, or embarrass myself?”
“Are the ‘beautiful-looking people’ going to judge me for my physique?”
And the list goes on.
But, can you see how irrational all these fears actually are?
In fact, you can read exactly what I have to say about feeling judged at the gym.
Realistically, one thing that you will discover about the gym is that no-one cares.
Actually, this is true of life in general.
We spend half our lives worrying about what others will think of us, when in fact they have their own worries, and are not even paying attention to us.
The exact same can be said of going to the gym.
I can guarantee that pretty much everyone in the gym will not even notice that you’re there.
Plus, you’ll tend to find that “gym people” are often some of the nicest people that you’ll meet.
I guess this has to do with the release of dopamine and serotonin during exercise, which in turn makes you feel happier and more alive.
Granted, you’ll get the occasional idiot, but isn’t this true in every walk of life?
Most people are wonderful, but there’s always a sprinkling of those we’d rather avoid.
However, I can categorically state that over the years I have found “gym people” to be friendly, accommodating, and helpful.
Make Sure You Get an Induction
So, I’ve spoken about many of the irrational fears that you may have when you visit a gym for the first time.
And one of the main ones is that you simply don’t know what you’re doing.
That said, the vast majority of commercial gyms will offer an induction with an expert, typically a personal trainer.
Now, as this is usually a completely free service you can’t expect to have a workout completely laid out for you.
However, your “expert” will generally ask you a few questions, mainly focused on what you would like to achieve in the gym.
Yep, I get it, most of us are going to say that we want to lose weight, get into better shape, and be fitter than we currently are.
You’ll then be introduced to the various pieces of equipment, as well as the specific areas of the gym.
This is also a great opportunity for you to find out how the equipment works.
Plus, I see nothing wrong with picking a “favourite”, learning how that works, and then concentrating on that for your first few weeks in the gym.
So, if you love the elliptical trainer, ask about it.
How does it work?
What are the different levels?
How long should you workout for?
And, of course, ask if you can try the equipment while you’re there.
The induction, learning about the equipment, and seeing where everything is, can inject some self-confidence into you.
Suddenly things don’t seem so daunting.
Hire a Personal Trainer
More often than not, the person showing you around the gym on day one will be a personal trainer.
So, if it’s affordable to you, why not hire a personal trainer for your first few weeks?
In effect, you’re no longer “alone”, as you have someone to meet when you arrive at the gym.
Furthermore, you’ll also be able to advance far better, as you have an expert showing you what to do, giving advice on technique, rest periods, etc.
So, in a way, you’ll also be learning, while you happen to be getting into great shape.
And you’ll find that within a few short sessions that you’ll get to know your personal trainer, you’ll understand the equipment much better, and those initial fears will start to fade.
What to Look For in a Personal Trainer
Visit the Gym During Off-Peak Hours (if Possible)
Okay, I know, it’s all well-and-good me telling you “not to worry about going to the gym alone”.
However, I completely understand that this doesn’t help you overcome your initial fears.
That said, most commercial gyms are open throughout the day, and many are even open 24 hours a day.
Basically, if at all possible, visit the gym during off-peak hours.
In other words, go to the gym when it’s least busy.
Essentially, gyms are typically at their busiest outside of “office working hours”.
So, if you decide to go first thing in the morning most people are in a rush, trying to get their workout in before they have to go to work.
Therefore, depending on your gym’s opening hours, it’s likely to be busy between 6am-8.30am.
Then again, between 5pm-7pm appears to be one of the busiest times, as many people have finished work for the day.
So, they’ll want to get their workout in after they’ve left work, and before they go home.
This obviously leaves a huge amount of time when the gym is generally occupied by no more than a handful of people.
So, if the fear of working out in front of others still strikes you, see if you’re able to go during the quieter hours of the day.
Have Your Headphones On
Is it just me that sticks in headphones, listens to my favourite songs, and then completely loses track of what’s going on in the outside world?
Nope, we ALL do it.
Music is a great equaliser, something that can make you feel happier, more confident, and you also feel as though you’re masked from everyone else.
Basically, when you go to the gym, stick your headphones in, put your head down, and get on with your workout.
You’ll be surprised at just how much you’re unaware of what’s going on around you.
Obviously, while you’re in the gym environment, keep an eye open for what people are doing around you.
I mean, you don’t want to walk into the giant hulk who’s deadlifting 500lbs.
However, if you listen to music while you workout you’ll find that you go into your own little, happy, and confident world.
Workout Music – Fitness & Gym Motivation Mix
Try a Group Class
Now, I have mentioned that I’ve pretty much gone to the gym alone my entire “lifting life”.
But, that’s not to say that I haven’t made friends along the way.
Hey, it’s only natural.
You spend hours of your life in the same environment, typically you see the same people day-in and day-out, you’re going to automatically end up gravitating towards certain people.
That said, I still always enter the gym alone.
However, most commercial gyms will have various classes.
And more often than not they will be a mix of newcomers and the experienced.
But, everyone has exactly the same goal as you.
So, if you are feeling a bit weird, perhaps nervous, why not book a class or two and see how you feel.
Don’t worry, I’m sure you can hide at the back of class, and probably go unnoticed.
But, eventually your confidence will grow, and you’ll make new friends to boot.
Then, I promise you that the gym won’t seem like such a scary environment.
Things Will Get Easier Over Time
Realistically, “gym fear” usually only lasts a while.
Once you start getting into the habit of going you’ll realise that it’s not such a scary place.
Look, I totally understand your initial worries, trust me, most people go through this.
However, if you follow the things I’ve mentioned above, you’ll ease yourself in gently.
Give it a few weeks, perhaps a month or two at most, and you’ll laugh to yourself about your initial reactions.
So, I hope you understand that it absolutely is NOT weird to go to the gym on your own.
I’ve done it myself for over a quarter of a century now.
And I can guarantee that millions of people go to the gym on their own on a daily basis.
This is nothing more than fear and a lack of self-confidence on your part.
Don’t worry, it’s perfectly natural.
However, I think the biggest takeaway should be that no-one is bothered by what you’re doing in the gym.
Do you know why?
They’re concentrated on themselves, their own problems, and their own workouts.
And as I say, after a few short weeks your gym fear will completely disappear.
Next, on a related topic, discover what I had to say about gyms needing a bank account.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.