Whether you’re a new to the gym or you show up to sweat it out daily, there are always those same few thoughts that run through your head during a workout. And sometimes you can’t help but wonder if anyone else has the same questions or insecurities that you do. I’ve worked at a gym for about 3 months now and I can tell you that the answer is yes; we all have the same questions.

After those 3 months, though, I feel like I finally have some answers. Here’s what I’ve learned:

No one is actually watching you work out.

This is something many of us fear, but let me put your mind at ease. No one is observing your every move and critiquing you. When I wasn’t running around cleaning the gym, I was able to satisfy my curiosity and glance at some gym members’ faces to look for exactly this. My friends had reassured me before that no one was watching when I was at the gym, but I wanted to see for myself if it was really true – and it totally is. People are more focused on their own workouts than anyone else’s. So put your mind at ease and go try that strength routine or fitness class you were too scared to try before. No one is watching! 

It’s okay to ask other exercisers questions.

Most people get excited to answer your questions.

“What’s a deadlift?”

“How do you do this?”

“Will you show me that exercise you’re doing?”

You can ask anything and 9 out of 10 faces will light up! Everyone wants to share their knowledge with someone. When I was asked how to do an exercise for the first time, I was ecstatic. It’s a good feeling when you have answers to someone’s questions and you are able to help them out. Do not be embarrassed to ask questions; asking is the best way to learn. That said, remember that the average gym-goer isn’t a fitness professional and use common sense about taking their advice.

Girls can grunt, too.

It’s more common to hear guys making the loud noises and occasionally yelling at the gym, but that doesn’t mean that girls can’t. Working at a gym that offers both CrossFit and Olympic weighting, I hear a lot of battle cries from both guys and girls. Why not make noise at the gym? You’re breathing heavily and you’re probably uncomfortable from sore muscles, so just let it out. Especially when you’re lifting heavy, breathing is important. There’s no need to be cute in the weight room. Lifting might make you look like a beauty, but you can still grunt like a beast.

Making friends is 10x easier inside of a gym.

You’re in a giant room filled with people who share the same passion as you. What could be better? You’ve already found something in common, so just say hi and you might have a new friend! I’ve seen brand new members walk in for the first time and other members introduce themselves right away. When you’re at a gym, you’re part of a friendly, dedicated community. That guy you ask to spot you could potentially be your best friend.

If you’re going to ask someone out, wait until post-workout.

You’ve seen it before: a guy confidently starts a conversation with a girl right in the middle of her sets. He may be a genuinely nice guy, but most of us would like to work out while we’re working out and talk… later. You know that time you were killing a workout and suddenly your friend walked up to you just to start a never-ending conversation you could have had over coffee? You were a little annoyed, right? Well, the same thing happens in this scenario. So, wait until your crush has crushed a workout before you strike up conversation. Bonus: everyone is a little happier after they finish a great workout, so you have that going for you.

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