The mere thought of going to the gym could cause your heart to race and your sweat glands to activate, but not in anticipation of the heart-pumping activity that awaits you. Instead, it’s possible that feelings of worry and anxiety are preventing you from really committing to a regular gym regimen.
60% of people are anxious about working out in the gym. And this is something we need to change fast!
Honestly, you are not alone. I’ve seen gym anxiety affect a lot of other gym goers here at Strength Ambassadors, and I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t affected me every now and then!
Overcoming gym anxiety is easier said than done, however you can overcome these feelings and adhere to a sustainable fitness regimen whether you’re just starting out, returning to the gym for the first time in a while, or you feel this way every time you go.
Here are some tips from a personal trainer about overcoming gym anxiety.
What is gym anxiety?
Gym anxiety refers to the fear of going to the gym or working out in a gym. Most people feel this way the first time they enter an exercise facility. The simple reason for this is because you have no idea what to expect.
Another sort of gym anxiety that some people face is fear of the unknown throughout their workout. This is especially true if someone else, such as a personal trainer or group exercise instructor, is writing your workouts.
Working out in front of others, like starting a new job, a new school, or presenting a presentation, may greatly tap into our fears. In these instances, we examine ourselves for areas where we are sceptical or doubtful about our own abilities.
We do this by comparing ourselves to our peers and examining how we believe we are comparable, better, or worse. We also compare ourselves to our expectations of what we believe we are capable of, our mental depiction of our ‘best’ self.
But fear not, your fitness journey doesn’t have to come to an end. Try these gym anxiety tips below to get you back to your workouts before long!
4 tips to reduce anxiety at the gym
We know it can be hard to let go of that negative voice in your head and that your mental health greatly affects how you feel about going to the gym. Try these tips below if you’re wanting to try a new gym or if you’re ready to bust that gym intimidation!
Know before you go
Because the unknown is the main source of gym anxiety, you can recover control of the situation by preparing ahead of time. This is especially useful if you are new to a facility.
Check out the website for images, personnel information (to help you recognise faces) and general gym information such as the gym equipment and if they offer any group fitness classes.
This can help you in determining what questions you may have ahead of time, allowing you to either call ahead and ask or write them down to bring with you when you visit. Before you come in, it’s a good idea to know what the hours are, where to park, whether you need an appointment to speak with someone, and anything else you might need to know.
The gym staff want you to feel comfortable in their environment and so should always be happy to reduce your anxieties any way they can!
Deep breathing can assist your nervous system relax and reduce anxiety symptoms. Try “box breathing” as a breathing exercise. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds (breathing out all air), and hold for 4 seconds.
It really does help!
Change your perspective
Working in the gym and strength industry has really taught me that perspective is everything. You can’t control your body’s reaction to its surroundings, but you can channel it for your benefit!
When you get the classic social anxiety or stress related feelings, they will seem eerily similar to excitement. The heart is racing, the hands are sweating, and the heart rate has skyrocketed. Instead of thinking about how anxious you are when you feel those typical feelings, tell yourself (out loud or in your brain), “I’m so excited! This is going to be fantastic!”
It may sound silly, but this simple shift in perspective can help you harness those sensations and use them to your advantage.
Talk to your personal trainer
While your personal trainer or group instructor may not be able to provide you with the exact programme you’ll be undertaking ahead of time, they will most likely be willing to assist you in setting your expectations for what’s to come.
Based on your goals and where you’re starting, your trainer is likely to have devised a broad progression plan for you. They can assist you in understanding what phase of training you are in, what types of workouts to expect, and how long you will be in that phase so you can mentally prepare.
As a trainer myself, I can assure you we want you to succeed! If you’re feeling anxious when you go to the gym we want to know so we can do everything we can to put you at ease. The gym should be a place you can escape to and get rid of all the stress you’re holding on the inside.
Looking for a friendly gym to begin your strength journey?
Whether you want to join a women’s weightlifting class or learn how to become a Strongman or woman, the Strength Ambassadors gym is a safe and friendly environment for both beginners and seasoned lifters.
Book a class today and start your strength journey with us!
Anxious about going to the gym FAQs
Why do I have anxiety about going to the gym?
You may feel “gymtimidation” if you are a newbie. According to research, anxiety is frequently caused by a sense of uncertainty. If you’re new to the gym, the unknown can be intimidating, such as not knowing gym etiquette or how to use the equipment.
How do I get over social anxiety and go to the gym?
Start small, invite a friend, organise your workout ahead of time, focus on yourself, use music or podcasts to distract yourself, and seek expert help if necessary. Visiting the gym should be an enjoyable experience. It’s not about having a certain appearance or being the best.
What does gym anxiety feel like?
Gym anxiety is the fear that a person experiences when exercising at a public gym or even thinking about using one. An individual may be concerned about working out in front of others. They may be concerned about what others will think of their ability in the gym or their appearance while exercising.