5 TIPS TO OVERCOME GYM ANXIETY
Whether you’ve been a lifelong athlete, bodybuilder, or you’re stepping foot in the gym for the first time, we can all experience anxiety in the gym.
It can be a scary place. The feeling of being watched while wearing the tightest clothes you own in front of a hundred strangers, attempting to use that piece of equipment that looks like an absolute torture device, trying not to trip on the stairmaster… it’s a lot, no wonder it makes us anxious.
There are ways to cope with gym anxiety, however. Here are my 5 tips to help you walk into the gym with confidence and get over gym anxiety once and for all.
TIP #1: WALK IN WITH A PLAN
Having a plan for what you’re going to do that day will take a lot of stress off your plate and help you get over gym anxiety. When we don’t have a plan of what exercises we are going to do that day we can end up feeling lost and overwhelmed by all of the options.
One thing that helped me overcome gym anxiety when I first started was following a training plan from a coach. That way I knew what I was doing was “right”. I didn’t feel judged by other gym goers for not knowing as much as them because I was following a workout plan made for me by a coach. No worries if you can’t afford a coach right now- there are a ton of resources out there that can make a simple workout split for you to help you get started.
Another simple tip I like to use is to walk a lap around the gym first to see where all of the equipment is. I make a mental note that the dumbbells are here, the smith machine is here, the machines I’m going to use today are here, etc. This will help you feel more confident as you get into your workout and move from exercise to exercise.
TIP #2: START BY GOING DURING SLOW HOURS
If your schedule allows it, going to the gym when it isn’t busy can help you familiarize yourself with the gym without the overwhelming amount of people that can be there during peak hours.
Typically, the peak hours of a gym fall between 8am and 10am, and 4pm to 7pm on weekdays. Going on the weekend, early mornings, or early afternoons will allow you to workout without all the extra eyes.
TIP #3: NO ONE REALLY CARES
This is much easier said than understood when you have anxiety, but truly no one at the gym cares what you are doing. Everyone in the gym is way more focused on themselves than the people around them. If you think someone is looking at you I guarantee it’s just because they’re seeing if you’re still using that piece of equipment.
Once you accept that the “fittest” people in the gym are too focused on themselves to judge anyone else, it will become easier to get over gym anxiety. If someone in the gym is judging someone else, it’s a reflection of their own insecurities.
TIP #4: BRING A FRIEND
One of the most debilitating parts of anxiety is not being able to escape the loop of thoughts in your mind that tell you you have something to fear. Having a friend with you helps you to voice your thoughts, and break out of your negative mindset. It’s much more fun to look a little silly trying to learn a new exercise with a friend by your side.
Make it fun! Put on your favorite gym fit that makes you feel comfortable and confident, grab a friend, and make a fun day out of it.
TIP #5: DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF
Remember that it’s totally normal to get anxious in a new setting or around a lot of people no matter how many times you have been to the gym. If you need to take a break to drink some water, take a few deep breaths before you get back out there- do it! The gym is your time to work on yourself. Don’t let anxiety get in the way of becoming your best, and healthiest self.
BEFORE YOU GO…
Getting over gym anxiety is something you are capable of. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you show up for yourself and take steps to feeling confident at the gym, the easier it will be. Overtime exercise will help you ease anxiety in all areas of your life!