Pages Navigation Menu

Things to do in Orange County for OC Moms

Categories Navigation Menu

5 Tips for Getting Comfortable at the Gym


Tips for getting comfortable at the gym
When I was told I was getting a membership at the Renaissance Club Sport for being part of the ocmomblog weight loss team I must say I was a little less than enthusiastic. As a 200+ lb., middle-aged woman the “gym” is not exactly my comfort zone. I know as well as you do that it is crucial to exercise several times a week. The older you get the more important it becomes.. but a gym? I decided pretty quickly that I was going to have to get over myself and at least give it a try. If you are like me and know you need to exercise but feel intimidated by the gym, here are my 5 tips for making your experience a little more comfortable.

1. Look the Part

Okay, so I know we’re not in grade school anymore but we don’t want to feel as if we stand out like a sore thumb any more than we think we already do. I also know that we middle-aged, out of shape girls are not going to run around in spandex and a sports bra. So here is my suggestion; get a couple pairs of black yoga pants and some workout shirts. The yoga pants are more smoothing than you might think. Surprisingly, the black ones do not show every bump and bulge. Pair it with a long workout shirt with sleeves and you should feel pretty comfortable. Macy’s has a good selection of age appropriate sportswear in all sizes. Check out Macy’s Woman’s Department for plus sizes. If the girls need extra support, I highly recommend the Enell sports bra. I promise the girls will behave in this thing and won’t move a muscle.

2. Familiarize Yourself with the Gym

It is a great idea to get a good tour of the gym before you sign up. Know where the locker room and bathrooms are. Find out where classes are conducted. Know if you need to bring your own lock, water, and towel. This will save you from wandering around like a lost puppy your first week there. You may discover some great areas of the gym you would not normally have wandered into on your own. My tour of the Renaissance Club Sport was quite impressive. I discovered Kid’s World, a very cute boutique, the world class spa, the jaccuzzi, saunas, the restaurant, the bar, schedules and brochures for over 110 classes, really, 110 classes. With that many classes to choose from, everyone can find something that works for them. And oh yeah, I found the workout equipment.

3. Don’t Worry Yourself with What Others are Thinking

I know when you feel out of place you feel like everyone is watching you but I’ll let you in on a little secret, they’re not. When you are really working out and focusing on what you are doing, you don’t notice your surroundings. It takes all your brain power to get through your own workout. People are thinking about what they are doing, not what you are doing. So if you have that feeling that all eyes are on you just remember they are thinking about themselves not you.

Getting revenge on my trainer Peter Riggs aka THOR

4. Get a Consultation with a Personal Trainer

This is my best tip; get a consultation with a professional trainer! This is important so when you actually go to the gym, you’re not wandering about trying to figure out what to do with yourself. In the past, I have had two very different experiences with personal trainers. With the first one, I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I didn’t feel challenged at all and when I mentioned it, there was little improvement. It was a waste of my time and money. The second time I tried, I wanted 1 session with a trainer to show me what I should be doing and how I should be doing it. First, the gym wouldn’t sell me a consultation visit. I had to buy 6 sessions and use at least 2 sessions a week. What I really wanted was for someone to teach me how to use the equipment, give me a good workout and then go back to the trainer in a few weeks to re-evaluate my program and adjust it accordingly. This particular gym wouldn’t allow it. So I bit the bullet and paid for the 6 sessions just so I could figure out what in the world I was supposed to be doing. Session 1, the guy practically put me in traction. I spent the next 3 days sleeping, hardly able to move. I couldn’t even reach the steering wheel of my car without a lot of pain. Guess what, I never went back. I lost all that money and 3 painful days of my life that I will never get back. So it is important to get the right trainer for you. If one doesn’t work for you, talk to the manager and try to find one that does.

What I love about the Renaissance Club Sport is that you get 2 FREE consultations with a personal trainer as part of your basic membership. I didn’t even have to ask. By the way, you also get 3 hours of child care EVERY DAY with the membership….I’m thinking 3 hours in the spa and Jacuzzi would be lovely!! Anyway, the first thing I did was make an appointment.

I was so lucky to get Peter Riggs, aka THOR as my trainer. My first impression of Peter was that he was very warm and friendly. He has a good sense of humor and immediately put me at ease. He spent the hour talking to me about my medical history, experience, and my goals for myself and HE LISTENED. Peter is also very knowledgeable and I learned a lot in that first session.

We did a complete body composition test which showed not only my percentage of body fat but it also showed that I am well hydrated and it showed my lean muscle mass. Now, I walk with my toes pointed out, I always have. I learned that this is because my hips are weak. I have also been having a lot of muscle aches and joint pain on my left side. The body composition test showed that my left side is significantly weaker than my right side, so part of my training is to strengthen my hips and balance the muscle mass on both my left and right sides more equally. The first session we just talked and set very personalized goals. Easy peasy, I could do this all day long but I knew I was going to actually have to work at some point.

During my second session, Peter walked me through a good basic workout. We really focused on doing the exercises properly so that I am working the correct muscle groups. This is important in order to get the results you want. He challenged me just enough so that I had to work but I didn’t feel like it was something I couldn’t do. Here I am the next day, not only am I NOT exhausted but I actually feel energized. And while I can feel the muscles we worked, I am NOT in pain. If you do decide to join the Renaissance Club Sport in Aliso Viejo, I highly recommend making an appointment with Peter Riggs! He really was great and besides, who doesn’t want to be trained by THOR..right ladies?

5. Make a Commitment

Here is one of my favorite weight loss/exercise quotes:

“It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Give it 12 weeks. Don’t quit.”
Author unknown

So those are my best get comfortable in the gym tips and trust me if I can be comfortable at the gym, anyone can!!!

pic3At Renaissance Club Sport every trainer is a Super Hero!

If you go to the Renaissance Sports Club in Aliso Viejo, mention OC Mom Blog and get a free one day guest pass. If nothing else, at least tour the place and stay for Taco Tuesday (6:00) and a glass of wine on the patio. I promise you’ll be impressed! ..and if you run into THOR while you’re there, say “Hi” for me.


Personal Trainer Peter Riggs
[email protected]
(949) 643-6700

Terri Garcia has been a Southern California girl since the age of two. She has lived in Los Angeles County and both North and South Orange County. A stay-at-home mom and confessed “pinaholic”, she loves all things creative. She believes in giving back and practicing random acts of kindness. She finds joy in creating thoughtful, creative gifts, traveling, historical fiction and most importantly being mom to two very active boys. Similar to the Little Red Hen, she likes to do things herself; although in the end, she will happily share the homemade bread with family and friends.
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Connect With Us


  1. Super article, Terri!! I love the inspiration you are sharing with others and putting into action for yourself! Two things I always tell people who are nervous about being in the gym are: 1) If you feel like everyone is watching you, just sit back and observe for a few seconds while you rest between sets. You’ll soon realize they’re not watching you, but more likely checking out their “guns” or butt in the mirrors or staring at tv/phone screens while they do cardio. And 2) If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not alone. I’d say about 90% of the other members don’t know what exercises they should be doing or why they’re doing them. That’s why we (trainers) exist! To help build a personalized exercise program designed for YOU! Don’t be shy or embarrassed, just come talk to one of us (if we’re not with a client) and get some quick tips!

  2. Nicely written! I am also a memeber at RCS and have very similar experiences with the trainers there. At another gym, I did have an experience where a trainer pushed me, a couch potato, too far and I couldn’t walk for 5 days, I didn’t go back either. That didn’t happen with my trainer at RCS because she listened when I told her I was a couch potato!

    I have witnessed several trainers at RCS correct the form of a memeber or simply suggest to lengthen the TRX bands to get the proper form. These quick tips go a long way in a members confidence and journey to a great workout!

    It is hard to find comfort in a gym, especially as a female. Working with a trainer to find your way around and proper use of equipment suited for you are the best way to build comfort. I’d also say, keep going! The more time spent in a place, the more comfortable you will feel. Plus, the more you go, the more you see familiar faces smiling back at you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *