This article will help if you’re new to the gym and a lack of confidence is preventing you from getting started. The simple answer is confidence takes years of practice and failure. The most confident people in the gym probably spent the first few years doing things less than ideal, and that experience of failure has provided them with confidence.
Here’s what I would recommend to anyone new to the gym who lacks confidence:
Get Help from an Expert
Record your technique
Learn from High School
Find someone online who you trust and purchase a training or coaching program from them. This should be someone who has helped other people. Don’t ask the biggest guy in the gym because he could be a damn fool. There are a lot of people who have incredible bodies and they’re dumb as rocks. Some people are blessed with great genetics and have no idea how to help someone else.
This is the first tip because too many guys spend all day in the gym training bicep curls and tricep pressdowns to get big, not realizing that squats and deadlifts are actually how you get big. Starting with a training plan from an expert, preferably a custom program for you specifically, can drastically improve the effectiveness of your training because you won’t be wasting time.
This is where you start because it’s the biggest bang for your buck. However, if your program has deadlifts and every time you deadlift your back explodes, it’s probably necessary for you to work with a coach who knows how to cue and teach the more dangerous lifts. If money is available, find the best coach you can and pay them for 12 weeks to coach you in-person. If money is tight, purchase a custom program and learn from YouTube.
Record Your Technique
Get a camera and record yourself when you exercise. After a few years of lifting, I started recording myself and what I saw shocked me. By that point my confidence in the gym was growing, but my technique was not that good. I was rounding my back on deadlifts, flaring my elbows on bench press, and my body was finding ways to cheat even the simplest tricep pressdown or bicep curl.
If going to the gym is scary then recording yourself is even scarier! However, if you’re going to grow you need to improve your technique, and you can do this by recording yourself and reviewing your technique. Once you know that your technique is pure, your confidence will skyrocket because you won’t be insecure about what you’re doing.
Learn from High School
In high school we think that everyone notices the pimple on our face. The reality is nobody cares about you as much as you do. Value your own opinion more than someone else’s. Ideally have a coach or a friend who’s more advanced than you and listen to their advice, but not your stupid friends who make goofy comments about the gym. Only listen to a few people who you respect and trust, and forget what the rest say.
Those are my tips for building confidence in the gym. I hope this helps! - Tom