In this article, we will look at some common gym fears and provide some general tips to overcome gym anxiety.
Happy Monday, I hope you had a wonderful weekend! It was a gorgeous weekend here in Maine as we had blue skies and warm weather both days. I enjoyed a fun bike ride along the coast with a friend on Saturday. On Sunday, I participated in a relay team at the annual Tri for a Cure. It is a fantastic event that I love because it is a fundraiser for the Maine Cancer Foundation. This year over two million dollars was raised to help fight cancer in Maine, which is just incredible!
Another thing I absolutely love about this event is that it encourages women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to participate. It is a first triathlon for many ladies and it catapults them into a lifetime journey to health and wellness. It is so remarkable to hear everyone’s “why” for them to do this event. It is also ultra-inspiring to see so many cancer survivors participating in the triathlon!
As I was talking to a few ladies I met this weekend, I started to think about the barriers that can prevent people from starting a daily fitness routine. One thing that came up in some conversations was anxiety and fear around going to the gym. I have to say, that even though I have competed in many running races and triathlons, I do get a little nervous when trying out a completely new class at the gym. I thought about how I felt that first time I took a class at the local gym after having my son. It had been a long time since I had consistently exercised and I WAS nervous! So today I would like to share a few tips on how to overcome gym anxiety, which I hope will be helpful for people to take that first step!
What is Gym Anxiety?
According to one survey conducted by Fitrated, both men and women have shown signs of gym anxiety, with different reasons behind their fears. For some, it’s the fear of being judged by other gym users when improperly using equipment. For others, it’s the fear of body shaming or feeling of “not looking fit” enough to be at the gym. These are just a few examples; others are listed in the linked article, and there will be some fears that are personal to you or anyone you know with a fear of the gym.
Gym anxiety and fear is real, and it should not be minimized or baked at. Do not be embarrassed if your avoidance of the gym has become a fitness hurdle. However, you also do not need to let your fears hinder your workout goals, as there are ways to overcome them. In this article, we will look at some common gym fears and provide some general guidelines that we hope will be useful to you if you have experienced gym anxiety.
Tips to Overcome Gym Anxiety
1. Ask for help
One common fear is that other people may judge you at first, especially when learning to use the equipment. Most gyms will offer an introductory lesson to all of the different equipment and machines as part of the membership. Make sure to sign up for a session as it will be very helpful to alleviate any anxiety. It is also extremely important to learn how to properly use the equipment to prevent injury.
If you are still feeling a little overwhelmed after the introductory lesson, don’t hesitate to ask the personal trainers that work there! OriGym case study of personal trainers suggests, there is an average of 6 personal trainers at every gym, each of them professionally qualified to help you. If you don’t know how to use a machine or a particular piece of equipment, you have somebody available to show you the ropes. They will also be able to point you in the right direction to the appropriate gym equipment that you should be using as well as tell you how many reps and what weight to start at.
2. Go with a friend
Heading to the gym with a friend is one sure way to alleviate any apprehension you may experience. It can be very helpful to have someone there to talk with as your go through your workout. Working out with a friend is also great for accountability. People are much less likely to “skip the gym” after a long day if they have plans to meet someone there.
3. Try out a class
Many people workout solo at the gym, using any of the machines and pieces of equipment that are available to them. However, other people attend the gym for group fitness classes, which could be anything from Zumba to Pilates to Spinning. These are fun activities that are terrific ways to help users meet their specific fitness goals. There are many great benefits of a group fitness class too. Personally, I have made several great friends through taking group classes! It is also motivating to be with a group of people as it can help to push individuals to work harder then they would on their own. The instructors of these classes can be great resources as well, especially for newbies to the gym.
4. Avoid Comparison
They say comparison is the thief of joy and the gym can be a prime place for this to happen! It can even lead to cognitive distortion about your own body image while exercising. One way to avoid this is by focusing on your own fitness journey and goals. Keep a journal of your progress and look at it before heading to workout. This can be very motivational and help you stay on track.
5. Find out when it’s not busy
Avoiding peak hours is a great way to tame down gym anxiety. It will allow you take your time as you are learning the routine, so you don’t feel rushed on each piece of equipment. I always try to go during off hours as it has other benefits too, like not having to wait for machines and the classes are less crowded. So if your schedule allows it, try going mid-day or later in the evening to do your workout.
6. Make a plan
Plan out what you are going to do before you head to the gym. For instance, if you are lifting weights for your upper body, decide what exercises you want to do for your workout. I find specific plans easily online and write them down or take a screenshot of them to refer to. This will lessen any anxiety as you will go in with a mission to accomplish and be able to move from one piece of equipment to another more smoothly.
7. Start out at home
If you are really struggling with the idea of joining a gym, there are so many other options available! Now, you can find any number of fitness classes on-line that you can do in the comfort of your own home. You could also create a small area in your home to serve as your “gym” until you feel more confident. It is always great to have a few things you can do at home for times when you can not make it to the gym too! Check out this guide to building a budget home gym for some useful ideas.
So Tell Me…
Do you remember the first time you went to a gym and how you felt? Have you ever experienced gym anxiety? Do you have any favorite tips to overcome gym anxiety that I have not mentioned? Is there a class or sport you would like to try, but are nervous about being a newbie?
Thank you so much for stopping by! As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Have a great week!
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Looking for more tips on how to get started with an exercise routine? Check out this post: