Anxiety about training in a public gym is a major contributing factor to many refraining from going after their fitness goals.
My name is Donald Wilson. I’ve been a fitness enthusiast for many years, and I remember struggling with anxiety about going to the gym myself. I was pretty shy and apprehensive of putting myself out there, so I understand the difficulty of taking a large step like that in pursuit of achieving your goals.
Anxiety about going to the gym is situational, so even if you don’t suffer from anxiety in most everyday situations, it is still a common problem that many, including myself at one point, face. There are many ways you can overcome gym anxiety, and once you figure out which way works for you, you’ll find in no time that you can’t stay out of the gym!
Read on to learn how you can overcome your anxiety about going to the gym.
9 Ways To Overcome Gym Anxiety
1. Do Research
You can get started on overcoming anxiety you may feel about going to the gym by doing your research.
By doing your research, you gain a sense of confidence through exposure and familiarity. By familiarizing yourself with the gym, its layout, and its busiest times, you will feel more at ease knowing you’re not walking into the unknown.
It’s also good to do your research on how to do exercises and how to use gym equipment. You can also find plenty of workouts online that you can do at the gym. By knowing about these things, you will have a better idea of what you’re doing. Having a good idea of what you’re doing will help you feel more confident when you’re in the gym.
2. Bring Friends
Bringing friends to the gym is a great way to get over gym anxiety and how I personally was able to overcome my anxiety.
The reason is that you and the friends you bring can make the visit fun and give a sense of security by having a partner to train with.
The toughest part of this is getting a committed friend to join you. It can be difficult to get your friends to go with you to the gym, but if you find yourself a dedicated gym partner, you can expect to go far in your fitness journey.
Even if your friends stop going to the gym later, by then, you’ll hopefully have had the chance to build up enough confidence so that you can keep going to the gym alone.
3. Start Slow
Gradually exposing yourself to the gym environment is a good way to build up your confidence.
Getting a tour of the gym definitely helps so that you know the layout and will give you a chance to meet the staff. Then, going at the least possible busy times will give you a chance to become familiar with working out in a gym.
Ideally, a 24 hour gym will give you the opportunity to go and workout completely alone late at night if you really need some slow exposure. As you get more comfortable, you can gradually go during busier and busier times.
You can also start slow by doing very short workouts to start with and progressively do more as you go. For example, you could start by doing a quick warmup routine and then calling it quits for the day.
When you’re comfortable enough to do more after the warmup, you can then do a single set or two of a particular exercise. From there, continue to increase the amount of sets/exercises you’re doing until you’re comfortable enough to do a whole workout!
Gradual exposure is a great way to slowly build the comfort you need to get in the gym. What matters is that each time you go to the gym, you progress just a little further past your comfort zone than you did the day before. The idea here is that you have small, daily goals you can work toward in order to satisfy your mind and put it at ease.
4. Wear Clothes You’re Comfortable In
It’s important when you train that you wear clothes that are both comfortable for working out, but also that you feel comfortable in. If you’re feeling self conscious in a certain outfit, then you are going to have a hard time overcoming your gym anxiety.
Try different outfits and see what you feel most confident wearing. Often it is common for many to wear more concealing clothing early on in their fitness journey and as they get more fit over time, they will switch to clothing that will show off their physiques more and more.
5. Wear Headphones
Wearing headphones (and listening to something) is a good way to overcome your anxiety because it helps give you something enjoyable to listen to while you train. You won’t have to worry about talking to anybody (beyond asking if the equipment is being used or not), so you can only focus on what your task at hand is.
You can listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks when you train. Any of these are good for training. Ideally, you want to listen to something that is either uplifting or motivating for the best results.
6. Hire A Trainer
Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get familiar with the fitness lifestyle. They have a wide range of knowledge and expertise on fitness, and can help set you in the right direction to reach your goals.
Make sure that you have a good idea of what your goals are. You need to be as specific as you can with yourself and your trainer so that you can get the most help from them possible. This is where doing your research ahead of time can help.
You can hire a personal trainer to teach you how to do exercises, use machines, how to eat/diet properly, and how to set up a workout plan. You can even hire them to make one for you! Whatever your goals are, make sure you make them known and you can slowly build up your confidence in going to the gym with their guidance.
Personal trainers generally charge by the hour. Again, do your research ahead of time if you decide to go this route.
7. Group Fitness
Keep in mind that if you have bad social anxiety, then group fitness may not be the way to go for you.
Group fitness is a great way for you to build comfort with training at the gym if your anxiety stems from not knowing how to do exercises or not knowing what workout plan to follow.
Group classes will provide a structure for you that will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with fitness. Once you feel confident enough, you can try and venture out into the gym on your own and do your own workouts. You may even make a friend or two from the classes that you can bring with you!
8. Just Go
This advice may be the most cliche on here, but it truly is the most important.
You can try to overcome your anxiety by preparing to go to the gym, but by far the best way to overcome your fear is to face it and just go to the gym. In fact, physical activity itself can be enough to alleviate your anxiety once you start doing it, which is another good reason to just go.
It takes discipline and courage, but through the application of these two traits, you will overcome your anxiety. Procrastination is your enemy. The longer you put off going to the gym due to anxiety, the more likely it is you will make excuses and find reasons not to go.
Remember, many things often seem impossible until they’re done.
9. Keep Going
You will gain confidence in any endeavor with continual application and exposure.
By continually showing up to the gym, you become more and more familiar with the facility, the machines, the people, and the environment overall. As you gain that familiarity, you will find that your anxiety will disappear as you become more at ease with your environment.
As you keep going, you will naturally become better at doing your exercises, using the equipment, and you will get stronger. All of these will definitely give you more confidence.
Just keep going to the gym and never give up on your goals, and in time, you will find the strength to keep going again and again.
Anxiety in general is a difficult thing to overcome. When it comes to gym anxiety, there are so many things that may run through your mind as you try to contemplate all these different scenarios and worry over what may go wrong.
The key is to believe in yourself and have the determination to overcome your anxiety. Use the tools provided in this article and you will overcome your anxiety. If after all that, you still are too anxious to go to a public gym, then your best alternative is to create your own at home!
If you would like to learn more about home fitness and how you can build your own home gym, please visit Fitness Solitude to get started.