Like many individuals, I'm not thrilled with my body. I've spent years dieting on and off, trying new workout programs and hating exercising and myself all the while. It wasn't until college that I developed the habit of going to the gym. I started off simply with the treadmill. I then jumped onto the elliptical, stair climbers and eventually other cardio machines. A year and a half later, having conquered every cardio machine available to me, I got bored. I knew I needed more from the gym and more for my body than just cardio. This is when I decided to begin weight training.

If you are interested in exploring the activity of repeatedly picking up heavy things and putting them back down, this article might help guide you if you're as intimated as I was.

1. Ask for Help

If you're anything like me, asking for help is not an easy thing to do but here's the thing— strength training isn't easy either. You're curious and ready for a challenge so you just have to take the plunge. 

I am lucky enough to know Erin, a member of the Spoon community and the best trainer I could ask for. She was able to guide me through overcoming all of the anxiety I had entering the weight room. Find yourself an Erin. Great trainers are available to you. If finances are an issue, find a friend or even a staff member at the gym for help. Chances are, they'd be thrilled to assist you.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Most gym anxiety stems from comparing oneself to others. Stop that. The frat bro next to you making scary grunting sounds with the ridiculously heavy weights is too busy doing his thing to notice you doing yours. The girl squatting 200 pounds with the defined legs is also minding her own business. Everyone at the gym began somewhere and it is now your turn to start. The weight room is a place for only ever comparing yourself to how strong you were the day before. 

3. Have a Workout Plan

Having a strategy helps immensely when starting a new workout regimen. You know what you have to do, for how long you have to do it, and why you're doing it. This helps maintain your focus and intention.

A trainer, knowledgeable friend or friendly gym staff member will help structure a strength training program customized to your level, goals and interests. If you want to give yourself a head start and establish a baseline, trying out these machines is a good way to begin.

4. Nothing Will Get Done If You Stay In Your Comfort Zone

My greatest concern while doing uncomfortably low and complicated squats was looking funny. I was worried about looking silly struggling with a 12-pound weight. What I found out is that everyone looks weird while exercising. 

If I wanted progress and growth, I was going to have to stare myself down in the mirror and watch my arms shake. Most of weightlifting is making unconventional movements that feel and look odd. Getting strong first requires getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

5. Be Sure of Yourself, You Can Do This!

If you choose to take this on, remember that YOU GOT THIS. Failure is good when it comes to weight training, that is how you learn and improve! You can only get stronger from here.

Good luck!