It’s not uncommon to feel nervous about going to the gym. Especially if you’re a newbie – and you’re going alone. It all sounded great in your head. You planned to join a gym, go everyday and give it 110%. It was going to be epic!
But the reality soon sets in when you get there. All the treadmills are taken, the other machines look way too complicated, and everyone looks like they know exactly what they’re doing except you. Feelings of insecurity slowly start to take over.
This is called gym anxiety. It’s that self-conscious, confidence-melting feeling you experience when faced with an intimidating, awkward or potentially embarrassing situation at the gym.
It often involves the fear of being judged based on fitness level and / or uncertainty about how to use the gym equipment. But you’re not alone. Lots of people experience gym anxiety at some point. It doesn’t matter what your gender or fitness level is – we’ve all been there.
But it’s not too difficult to get past these insecurities. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when you feel that gym anxiety kicking in.
Plan your workout in advance
Make a detailed list of everything you want to accomplish from your workouts. By doing this you create a sense of responsibility within yourself to meet the goals you’ve set. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. You’re not competing with anyone at the gym.
Meet with a personal trainer
Most gyms offer new (and existing) members the opportunity to make use of their personal trainers. This is very useful especially if you’re just starting out. A personal trainer will show you around and teach you how to use the equipment. The first or even second session is usually free but, be sure to take full advantage of it.
You’ll feel much more comfortable during your workouts. It’s also worth noting that you can hire a trainer to set up a customized workout plan for you.
Focus on yourself
If you’re completely focused on your own workout you won’t have time to compare yourself to others. Chances are you won’t even notice anyone else at all. Concentrate on yourself and what a great job you’re doing. If you’re easily distracted, bring along your iPod and headphones. Listening to your favorite tunes while you are having workout is a great way to keep you motivated and distracted.
Workout during off-peak hours
Gyms are usually busy in the early mornings and after 5pm. If a crowded workout space makes you uncomfortable, schedule your workouts for when it’s not too busy. Ask someone at the front desk when the gym is generally busiest and decide which times suit you the best. This will help you make you feel more at ease until you’re ready to be around more people.
Bring a friend
It’s always tough going to any new place alone. Ask a friend to join you on your first day at the gym. When you’re with a friend you will automatically feel more relaxed and less anxious. It’s always more fun to be clueless in pairs anyway. Having a friend with you can also help to keep you motivated.
Believe in yourself
Always believe in yourself. Comparing yourself to others is never helpful. You’re only in competition with yourself. Keep in mind that everyone started out as a beginner at some point – so don’t give in to those feelings of insecurity. Keep your goals in mind, stick to your fitness plans and just do you!
Overcoming your gym anxiety can feel daunting. It helps to keep in mind that most people who go to the gym just want to get their workout done and leave. They’re so focused on themselves and their workout that they’re not paying attention to anything else. Know that everyone has to start somewhere and the gym isn’t just for people who are fit. You’re all there with the same goal – to become healthier. And that’s the most important thing.