There’s a lot of advice out there about being new at the gym. Advice like, don’t forget to re-rack your plates and adhere to the 30 min cardio machine limit. That’s all well and good, but here’s some advice that you probably haven’t heard much about:

You belong.

Yes, you. You, with the weird, lumpy body. You, with the t-shirt and sweatpants. You, who goes left when everyone else goes right. You, who crossed that doorway after only working out at home. You, surrounded by strangers and those horrible mirrors. You, even though you forgot to bring a water bottle. You, especially, when your heart lurches to the floor when you think, suddenly, that you’re not a “fit” person.

You belong.

Say it again. It bears repeating.

You belong, just as you are.

The gym is your space. Maybe it’s an unfamiliar, new-to-you space, but it’s still yours. Love it. Own it. Make it a place you can’t wait to come back to. You’re worth it.