Gym anxiety is a common problem, and it’s easy to understand why. You’re probably feeling nervous because you don’t know what to expect or who might be there.
Many people find it difficult to work out in a gym. Some people are scared of a large number of strangers, others may be worried about what they will do if their fitness plan falls through, and many others are just intimidated by the space.
There is no need to feel anxious in a gym whether you’ve never been or if you’re an experienced weight lifter; it’s all about how you feel.
Many gym-goers experience feelings of anxiety before they walk into the class. They might worry that they don’t know what to do or how to use all the equipment, and then feel embarrassed or self-conscious if they don’t know the routine.
However, through a combination of trial and error, as well as some basic tips to make yourself more comfortable in the gym classroom, you can get through your workout without any anxiety.
Three main causes of gym anxiety
When you go to the gym, your mind is filled with thoughts of all the things that could happen.
You might get a call in class and have to leave early so it’s important not to let these negative thoughts stop you from going at all.
Some people have mild anxiety when they first start working out because their body isn’t used to new movements or weights but don’t worry about this! With some practice and patience, anyone can overcome their fear of exercise.
Feeling anxious about not knowing what to do, or if you are doing anything right is what causes gym anxiety. There are three main causes of this: uncertainty, feeling like you don’t know how to approach your workout, and fear of failure.
To overcome the feelings of insecurity and inadequacy associated with gym anxiety, make sure that there’s a structure for your workouts to follow; research effective workouts before starting them; set realistic goals for yourself that will keep you motivated; find work-outs that best fit your personality type.
Another cause of gym anxiety is social comparisons. If you’re constantly coming up short relative to other people, that’s likely to weigh on you and make you uncomfortable. Research shows that upward comparison doesn’t have to be negative; in fact, it can help improve performance if the person consciously makes a positive comparison.
The first approach is to avoid comparisons altogether. This can be a pretty negative experience, as people tend to compare themselves negatively with others in the gym. The second approach involves researching what other successful individuals have done and implementing those actions into your own workout routine.
The third approach is to practice self-compassion, which involves being kind and understanding with yourself instead of harshly criticizing or judging. This can be done by using positive affirmations in the mirror or journaling about your accomplishments.
Feeling judged is an experience that is typically caused by someone who has a sense of superiority and believes they are better than others.
When people feel judged, it can lead to anxiety, self-doubt, and feelings of guilt. People who experience these feelings may also feel like they’re not worthy or that what they do is not good enough. People are at the gym to work out, not judge other people.
When you are feeling judged, take a deep breath and remember that the people around you are there to work out. They’re not judging your workout routine; they’re just doing their own thing.
When you take a deep breath, your body responds by releasing hormones that make you feel more relaxed and less stressed. This can help clear away those pesky feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
There’s no need to be self-conscious about what you’re doing. No one cares if your squats aren’t perfect; we all started somewhere!
Triggers and benefits
With the gym being one of the most popular places for people to meet, it can be difficult not to feel intimidated by everyone else.
Everyone is at that level you are trying to reach, and they have all been there before.
Although coming out on top in a competitive environment may seem daunting when you first join your local health club, you need to know more about anxiety triggers and exercise benefits to help overcome your anxiety.
Social anxiety triggers at the gym
It is common for people who suffer from social anxiety to report having an increased level of arousal when they feel intimidated by those around them. This type of stress can lead the individual to avoid going out or participating in activities such as working out at a gym, which might exacerbate their symptoms and make it harder for them to maintain healthy behaviors that are important for managing anxiety.
Even someone who does not have social anxiety may feel intimidated by some aspects of gym class. These could include:
1) If you suffer from social anxiety, it can be difficult to exercise in public.
2) Changing clothes or using equipment might cause feelings of intimidation and feeling like people are looking at your body differently.
3) Getting teased about your body type.
4) Seeing a reflection of yourself in the mirror and feeling self-conscious about what you see.
5) Having to take part in physical activity that you are not good at.
6) Moving your body in ways you aren’t used to or that can be difficult for people who have orthopedic issues.
To avoid these triggers, it is important to have an active mind while training so you do not focus on anything else but your workout.
Benefits of exercise to help with anxiety
Exercise is one of the most widely accepted activities in order to help alleviate anxiety. It has been shown that exercise will increase serotonin levels, which can decrease anxiety, improve mood and help alleviate depression.
Exercise may help with social anxiety disorder, but it’s best if used in conjunction with other treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
6 tips for overcoming gym anxiety
I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like going to the gym and I totally get it. There is nothing worse than feeling pressured or embarrassed when you’re in public, but this doesn’t need to be your reality!
The key for me was taking things one step at a time and just getting started with small changes that were manageable.
Here are 6 tips to overcome your gym anxiety:
Zone out from others
People might feel uncomfortable and intimidated by the gym environment. If you’re feeling anxious, try these tips to help you zone out from others:
1) Listen to music when you work out.
2) Focus on your breathing when you lift weights or do cardio.
3) Find a spot where there’s less foot traffic and train there if others are making you stressed.
4) Keep your eyes focused in front of you instead of looking around at other people working out.
5) Get a workout partner.
Know before you go
Make sure to prepare yourself before you go to the gym. You should know what equipment is available, how long it will take, and whether or not there are any classes that day. Make your workout plan ahead of time so that you can avoid feeling rushed or anxious about going to the gym.
Consider doing some warm-up activity as well as a cool-down activity at the end of your workout routine. These can include going on a short jog, doing 10 pushups, or stretching.
For the most part gym anxiety is usually caused by a lack of preparation and awareness about what goes into a workout routine.
Deep breathing techniques can help people with anxiety to feel more comfortable and productive. Breathing for as little as 5 seconds can reduce symptoms of panic attacks while taking a breath for 8 seconds helps relax the body and reduce symptoms of stress and tension.
Here are the steps:
- Inhale for a count of 5 seconds
- Hold your breath for 3 seconds
- Exhale for a count of 8 seconds
- Repeat this for 5 minutes
- Try to focus on how you’re breathing, not what’s causing your anxiety
- Practice deep breaths when you feel anxious again
Anxiety caused by fear of the unknown is one of the most common reasons for not going to the gym, but there are ways you can overcome this anxiety. Having a friend who already goes will help you feel more comfortable and less anxious about joining them at the gym.
Buddy systems can be a way to meet new people and learn from them. They’ll have experience in weightlifting, as well as help you navigate gym etiquette.
It’s important that you find someone who can help you stay on track, especially if this person has the same fitness goals as you do. The social aspect of the gym will make you feel more comfortable just by having someone to talk and laugh with during your workout.
Ask your trainer
If you are nervous about going to the gym, ask your trainer what is coming up and how long it will last. Your trainer can help set expectations for what to expect in different phases of the class so that you’ll be more comfortable with whatever comes next.
If you’re a beginner, a trainer can guide you through proper form and help reduce the risk of injury.
Even if you think your trainer is gruff or strict, ask them to walk with you during part of the fitness class so that they can help show you what to do step-by-step.
If you have a question about any of the equipment, ask your trainer or another gym employee. You can find out which weights will be available, when they are open for use, and when they are cleaned.
They are helpful and friendly, so this is a good way to get to know them better.
If you’re feeling anxious about going to the gym, make sure that there is a game plan in place.
A game plan is a written outline of what you are going to do for your workout. You can mentally prepare for your workout by knowing what phase of training you’re in and how long it’ll be there.
A group fitness instructor can help design the best game plan for you. In order to feel comfortable and productive, you should always show up at the gym with a plan.
Here’s an example of a game plan:
1. 5-10 min warm-up on the elliptical or treadmill.
2. 30 minutes lifting weights.
3. 10 min cooldown stretching routine.
Making your own game plan ensures that you’ll stick to the routine, giving you a better workout and helping you feel more comfortable at the gym.
You don’t need to know how to use every machine or weightlifting equipment, as there are always people willing to help those who ask or even those who don’t.
Preparation and awareness are the keys to overcoming gym anxiety. By having a game plan of what you’ll be doing at the gym, you will be able to feel more comfortable knowing that there is only one way to go.
Warm-up activities like jogging or pushing weights can help get your body ready for intense physical activity while stretching can help you cool down and recover for the next workout session.
When it comes to working out, the idea of doing something that you are not good at can be scary. If you feel like your gym anxiety is holding back your performance and progress, then this article should help you overcome that fear while still feeling comfortable in a new environment.