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Workout Tips for the Shy but Soon-to-be Swole

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Written by Aeryn McMurtry

Coming to college or transitioning back into a new school year can be a bit hectic sometimes. Whether you’re a freshman who is completely new to RC or even a senior living on a new part of campus, you are bound to run into people you’ve never met before and people you want to impress. One of the most daunting places for this to happen is always the gym, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re aiming to set a “New Semester New Me” workout plan or just trying to get ahead of the dreaded Freshman 15, here are some tips to help you get over your gym-time jitters.

1). Go during a regular meal time. The most common times for students to be at the gym are at right after dinner and mid-afternoon, after most classes are over. If you have the option, going during the 11:40-1:10 block on Tuesday/Thursdays and around 6pm every day will ensure that traffic is slow and most other people are preoccupied.

2). If you’re worried about overcrowding, one of the gems on campus is the Belk Fitness Center in Bast. It used to be the primary workout room, but since the Cregger Center opened its doors in August 2016, the Belk Fitness Center has become a room used by HHP classes and students trying to avoid the hustle and bustle of a busier area. The only drawback to Bast is that the facility does not have an as extensive range of equipment as the Cregger Center does. But if you’re just looking for basic fitness, you’ll find everything you need.

3). Go with a friend. This one might seem a little obvious, but you’d be surprised what effect having a pair of familiar eyes around can do for your nerves. They don’t need to be a best friend or a roommate, and the two of you don’t even need to work out together. Having someone there that you know has your back and won’t be staring does wonders for your confidence.

4). Take a couple of times to get yourself acquainted with the area. Even if you’ve been a loyal gym-goer for years, adjusting to an unfamiliar space feels awkward. There is a reason for the phrase “home field advantage”; knowing the feel of the space and the layout will give you a reason to keep coming back.

5). Keep in mind that nobody is watching you, even if you feel like they are. It’s stressful getting all the way to the third floor in your (possibly ratty) workout gear and seeing an entire team of athletes. Maybe there is somebody really cute on the treadmill, or lifting weights bigger than your head next to the mirrors on the back wall. But remember: whatever it is they’re doing, they are paying way more attention to themselves than they are to you.

Everybody goes to the gym for the same reason: they want to feel good about their bodies. Whether they are working their shoulders and lifting or choosing not to skip leg day, every single person in the gym is doing their own thing. And in reality, none of us are surviving the zombie apocalypse anyway, so it doesn’t really matter in the long run. So get swole, burn some calories, tone those legs. When the zombies come, we’re all going down.