Exercise and fitness are supposed to inspire courage and boldness. As you get in shape, you become more confident in who you are and finally start to enjoy life the way it was meant to be lived. But some people have trouble getting to this point. It has nothing to do with a desire to exercise. Instead, it has everything to do with the anxiety of going to the gym.
If gym anxiety is something that you’ve experienced, then this article is for you. We’re going to break down what gym anxiety is, why it’s so limiting, and how you can defeat it and accomplish your fitness goals. Let’s dive in and discuss together!
What is Gym Anxiety?
Gym anxiety is a combination of fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment all wrapped into one. It’s an overwhelming feeling that certain people experience when they’re either new to exercising in a gym or feel like their body type or fitness skills don’t match up with the people around them.
Gym anxiety doesn’t discriminate – all genders, sizes, strengths, and body types can be affected. Symptoms and triggers include:
- Changing in front of people. It doesn’t matter what sort of shape you’re in, the thought of changing in front of others in a public locker room is enough to make anyone nervous. For some people, the thought of doing it is so crippling that it might prevent them from working out altogether.
- Gymtimidation. This term – which is a combination of the words gym and intimidation – is used to describe the overwhelming feeling that everyone is watching you. Common gymtimidation thoughts include: Am I doing this right? Is everyone watching me? What if I look like an idiot? Am I the fattest/weakest/oldest person here?
- Trouble using equipment. There are hundreds of different types of equipment, weights, machines, and exercise gadgets in a gym. If you’ve never spent much time in a gym and have trouble using different pieces of equipment, it could lead to a general sense of anxiety. This is a telltale sign of gym anxiety.
- Fear over side effects of exercise. Some people have anxiety over the side effects of exercise, including sweating, flushed skin, dry lips, and other physical symptoms. In many cases, there’s worry or fear over smelling bad or looking unattractive after working out.
If you experience any or all of these symptoms, then it’s possible that you suffer from gym anxiety. As a result, you’re probably not getting the sort of exercise you need to be healthy and accomplish your fitness goals. Thankfully, there are ways to push through.
5 Tips for Defeating Gym Anxiety (Once and For All)
Your family doctor might not officially diagnose you with gym anxiety, but if you’re experiencing telltale signs and triggers like the ones highlighted above, then you need to address this condition sooner rather than later. Here are a few helpful tips for doing just that:
1. Shift Your Mindset
Most gym anxiety is rooted in the fear that other people are watching. But do you want to know a little secret? Everyone else is so focused on themselves that they don’t have any time to watch you. The experienced gym-goers are so locked into their workout routines that they don’t have time to stop and stare. Everyone else is experiencing their own varying levels of gym anxiety, which means they’re not looking around and judging others. Once you shift your mindset to embrace this reality, you’ll feel a huge burden disappear from your shoulders.
2. Exercise During Off-Peak Hours
If you work out on weekdays at 6 p.m. or Saturdays at 11 a.m., you’ll find yourself in a packed gym more often than not. This does nothing but increase levels of gym anxiety. You can remove some of this pressure by exercising during off-peak hours when the gym is less crowded. Early morning, mid-afternoon, and late-night all tend to be ideal workout times for people experiencing gym anxiety.
3. Go With a Friend
There’s power in numbers! Try going with a friend, mentor, or workout buddy. This will help you feel more relaxed and confident. Not only can you help each other out by sharing tips, but you have someone else to laugh with when you make a mistake or face an insecurity.
4. Put in the Reps
There’s no replacement for experience. The more you show up and exercise, the more comfortable you’ll be with the workout equipment, your routine, and the people in the gym. Show up day after day and put in the reps. Talk to people, build relationships, and don’t let your fear hold you back. It might take a few weeks, but the gym will eventually feel like a second home.
5. Have a Plan
Nothing is more intimidating than walking into the gym without any idea of what you’re going to do. If you want to be more confident and less prone to the triggers of gym anxiety, go in with a specific plan. Map out every exercise and rep (and record it in your phone if needed).
Try Online Personal Training
Having a personal trainer can give you the motivation and encouragement you need to push through gym anxiety and conquer your fitness goals once and for all. If you’re looking for the most flexible and convenient option, an online personal trainer could be the perfect solution.
At DeMetz Online Personal Training, we specialize in improving fitness and body composition using physical training, nutrition, and even mindset shifts. And while the “other guys” will nickel and dime you for every service, we offer comprehensive coaching at a flat monthly rate.
Our online personal training includes:
- Unlimited changes to your training plan
- Unlimited changes to your nutrition plan
- Unlimited video reviews
- Unlimited messaging
- Unlimited stat reviews (body stats, exercises, etc.)
- Anything you reasonably need to succeed
- Custom everything (no workout templates or pre-canned routines)
- Direct access to Nathan DeMetz (owner)
Our online fitness programs include strength coaching, fitness coaching, and run coaching. To learn more – or to sign up for your customized online personal training program– please contact us today!
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!