Combatting Gym Anxiety

Everyone starts working out. No one walks into the gym their first time with complete and utter confidence. I started working out when I was about 14, and I tried as hard as I could to be invisible. All I did was machines, and didn’t touch the free weights for years. But I kept my head down, and got my workouts done. Once I gained confidence in myself and in my skills, it got easier. But even now, I still feel nervous walking into an unfamiliar gym. Here are some tips that can help you fight the stress of scrutiny and unfamiliarity.

  1. Plan your workout. Having a written out list helps you stay on track, and be accountable for finishing your workout. The list can also help track your habits, and your PRs. I will usually just jot down a list of my workout, my reps and sets, in the notes of my phone. Super simple, but really helpful.
  2. Wear what makes you feel comfortable. It’s okay to wear makeup, it’s okay not to. People are going to judge, and stare, no matter what. Wear sweats, wear spandex, wear whatever makes you feel good. Being uncomfortable for the sake of fitting in will not benefit your workout, and won’t do you any good.
  3. Take your time. Taking a minute to get your bearings when you first arrive is essential, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the people and the environment. Gyms are such a noisy, busy place but you can thrive. Take your time, stretching or walking to take in all the energy around you, and channel it into your own workout.
  4. Get a friend to workout with. Even if they only come with you every once in a while, having someone who motivates you can help so much. And being able to show someone your moves can increase your confidence.
  5. Educate yourself. Learning about what you’re doing, and why, will determine the course of your workout, and help you determine your goals. Once you have goals, and a plan to achieve those goals, it will make the gym essential. You’ll be more comfortable there, simply because you know you need to.
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