Conquering Gymtimidation: A Guide to Overcoming Your Gym Anxiety

In an ideal scenario, the hardest part of going to the gym would be your workout, not walking through the doors. You’re not alone if you struggle with thoughts of navigating equipment, being watched or judged, trying a class you’ve never done before, or even just being in a gym in general. Gym anxiety, commonly called “gymtimidation,” is something that affects more people than you may think, and is something that prevents a lot of people from maintaining a consistent workout routine. 

Exercise not only benefits your physical health, but also your mental health. Identifying what may trigger you, and learning coping mechanisms for gym anxiety can help you overcome these fears, and step into the gym with confidence, reaping the benefits of exercise. 

Here are some common scenarios that might trigger your gymtimidation:

  1. You’re a Beginner
  2. Changing gyms, trying a new workout class, or being in a new environment
  3. Learning how to use new equipment 
  4. Crowded gyms 
  5. You’re a woman wanting to use the typically male-dominated weight room 
  6. Feeling like other people are looking at you or judging you 

If any of these scenarios feel familiar to you, you are not alone. Here are a handful of helpful strategies you can try to help you overcome your gym anxiety:

  1. Do your research

It can be helpful to start online by researching the facility, its amenities, and class offerings. Going on a tour or getting acquainted with the staff can help you feel familiar and comfortable with the environment beforehand. 

  1. Start Slow

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to go all out during your first visit to the gym. Start small – spend 10 minutes on a new machine you haven’t tried or just stretch in an area you haven’t been in before. Then build your way up from there each time.

  1. Bring a Friend

Going to the gym with someone you already know can help provide comfort and support when trying something new. Doing this also takes some part of the unknown out of the equation. Starting off with a workout buddy can help you dip your toes in the water before venturing out on your own later on. 

  1. Try Group Fitness

If you are anxious about not knowing what to do at the gym, group workout classes could help take some of that stress off of your shoulders. Exercising in groups can help alleviate the anxiety of having to plan your own workout by letting you follow the instructors guidance. 

  1. Push Yourself 

It’s natural for people who struggle with anxiety to want to avoid situations that make you uncomfortable. However, sometimes it’s beneficial to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. The more you go, the more confident you’ll become and the easier it’ll be for you to keep going to the gym. 

Gym anxiety is a normal part of almost everyone’s fitness journey, focusing on taking small steps forward and learning coping mechanisms can help you overcome your fears. Find comfort in the fact that everyone at the gym was a beginner at some point, and overcame the same challenges that you will be able to overcome on your own!

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