Have you considered going to a gym to start working out and getting back in shape, but the thought just scares you to death. This is normal, especially if you’ve never gone to a gym or it’s been awhile and you’ve let yourself get way out of shape. You need to remember that everyone was once the “new kid at the gym” when they started out too. You may feel awkward at first, but that will soon pass and before you know it you’ll feel like a pro.

Here’s some tips to get you over your fears:

First of all, the super fit people aren’t going to stare at you. They are there to focus on their own workout. They are not concerned with how you look. Now, they may offer you tips on proper form and how to use the machinery, but they are not there to make you feel bad about yourself. Chances are, they see a lot of out of shape and over weight people come through the door. It’s a gym, it’s where people go to work out.

Find a buddy. Either find a buddy to jump into this with you so you don’t feel alone or find one that is already an avid gym user who will take you under their wing, so to speak and get you started. Having a buddy will also help motivate you to keep going and will make the whole process a lot easier. People who have a workout buddy are far more likely to reach their goals.

Hire a personal trainer. If you can’t find a buddy to go along with you, you can hire a professional. Personal trainers see all types of people so there’s no need to be embarrassed. They are also well trained to help you devise eating plans, workout routines and will push you when you need that extra push to get over an obstacle. A personal trainer will also show you how to use the equipment properly and “spot” you to make sure you’re staying in proper form.

Start at home. If you’re not ready to hit the gym you can start working out at home. Invest in a few hand weights and start doing some strength training routines in the comfort of your own home. Get a good pair of walking or running shoes and start a daily walking program around your neighborhood or go to your local high school track. Once you’ve been walking awhile, you may decide to up the pace into running. Before long, you’ll feel better and ready to tackle the gym without feeling like such a newbie.

You can also get some fitness DVDs to use at home. There are literally thousands of them on the market, everything from basic aerobics, Zumba dance, Pilates, Kick boxing and other forms or martial arts. Choose something you think you will enjoy doing, but make sure it’s for beginners if you’re out of shape. After a few weeks or months with doing the routine at home, you can sign up for classes at your local gym and work out with others.

It can be scary when you first start out. You may not know what you’re doing or you’ve been out of the loop so long that it’s intimidating. Don’t worry about the regular gym goers watching you. They’re not, they’re too busy worrying about themselves.