On the second day of my first semester here at UNC, my roommate and I decided to go to Rams Head Recreation Center.
OH. MY. GOD. It was absolutely terrifying. Everybody seemed to know exactly what they were doing, and everybody seemed to be staring at our inadequacy as we bumbled around feeling out of place. It was crowded, loud and very overwhelming.
I never want anyone else to feel that way!! After struggling through the first couple days of feeling out of place, I finally got to the point where I felt like I was "okay" at going to the gym.
Here are some pointers on how to skip those awful first days:
1. Nobody else is paying attention to what you're doing!
Trust me, ain't nobody got time fo dat. The people lifting are too involved at looking at themselves in the mirror — for proper form...but also constantly checking themselves out — and the people on the cardio machines are just thinking about how much time they have left.
The only time anyone will notice what you're doing is if they want the equipment that you're using!
2. Rams Head is less scary than the SRC!
For some reason, this is the opinion of the vast majority of first-years. I think that it's caused mostly by Rams Head being on south campus with the freshman dorms and the Student Recreation Center (SRC) drawing a bigger crowd of the intimidating upper class and grad students.
3. Start with the things you know!
Know how to run on a treadmill? Cool, do that first. But don't be afraid to use the weight lifting machines! They have these cool little diagrams on them that show you exactly how to use them. (Again, ain't nobody gonna judge you for reading these, they aren't paying attention!). Also people loveeeeeee to think that they are knowledgeable about the gym. If you have any questions, find someone who looks like they know what they're doing and ask — just make sure that they aren't in the middle of something!
4. The more you go, the less awkward it seems!
Repetition, repetition, repetition. The only way that you'll get better is if you establish a system and stick to it! There's always time to go to the gym, even if it's just for a half an hour. The locker rooms make it easy to pop into the gym between classes or shower before going back to your dorm!
You've got this. I believe in you. Go forth and get fit.
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