The gym can be a very intimidating place, especially when entering the guy-dominated weight section.
1. Go in confidently.
No one at the gym is looking to critique you while you're exercising to reach your goals. The insecurity is in your head.
2. Don't be shy to read the instruction on the machines or ask for help.
Operating a machine you know nothing about is dangerous. I was hesitant to read the instruction on the machine because I felt it was silly and would show what an amateur I was. Then, I realized I would look worse operating a machine incorrectly. All the machines I've ever worked out on have a picture and highlight the muscle it targets. Also, most people at the gym are happy to help, and you see the crowd every time, so don't be shy.
3. Go in with a plan.
You have to walk in knowing what you want to tackle. If you walk in and work your way from machine to machine, you can look like you don't know what you are doing. Having a plan is also the best way to avoid conversations you might not want to engage in, and it'll get you out of the gym as quickly as possible.
4. It's not just for the boys.
Guys do not care how much you're lifting. If anything, they'll respect you just for lifting weights and working on your muscles. You can also avoid the crowd by going when the gym opens on Sunday morning when there are less people. You can explore the weight area undisturbed and without any reservations.