For many of us, finding the motivation to work out is a challenge. Making a plan to go the gym is easy, but often the fear of criticism deters some from actually following through on that plan. Will other gym goers secretly judge your form, your choice of workout wear, or worse, your weight? Gym anxiety is a genuine concern for plenty of people, and is often cited as the reason that some choose to avoid working out altogether. If you’ve ever felt the fear of failing at the gym, you’re not alone. Just about everyone experiences gym anxiety at some time or another, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your goals. In this article, we’re offering some strategies for overcoming your fear of the gym, so you can finally prioritize your fitness and feel like an expert the next time you exercise!
Common Causes of Gym Anxiety
To address gym anxiety, it’s important to know what’s causing you to feel hesitant in the first place. Though each individual is different, the following are the most common causes of gym anxiety:
- Fear of incorrectly using equipment
- Feeling like people are watching you work out
- Anxiety over being sweaty or out of breath
- Feeling intimidated by those who are in better shape
Believe it or not, even the most experienced fitness buffs have felt these same fears before. Everyone has to start somewhere, even if that means training your mind to overcome anxiety before you can begin training your body. If gym anxiety is holding you back from achieving the body you desire, consider these strategies to help dispel your doubts, and get you on track towards your goals.
Tips for Conquering Your Fear of the Gym
Develop a Routine
They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Therefore, to make the gym a part of your daily routine, try committing to attending for 21 days straight. Don’t let anything get in the way of your workout, even when you’re feeling extra tired or a little under the weather. Consistency is key, so try scheduling your workouts at the same time and place each day.
Ease into It
The biggest mistake people make when starting out at the gym is believing they have to push themselves to prove something to their peers. This is absolutely not necessary, and can actually harm your body. If the most you can manage is a 30-minute jog on the treadmill, that’s perfectly fine. Start with that, and soon you’ll discover that your body can handle a more demanding routine.
Focus on Your Own Workout
When working out, it’s easy to look around and compare yourself to others. Are you using the proper technique and form? Is your outfit appropriate for the type of exercise? You could spend hours second-guessing yourself, or you can choose to make the most of your workout instead. Focus on yourself and nobody else, and keep reminding yourself of your objective. Bring a pair of headphones and blast your favorite tunes or catch up on a podcast to prevent your eyes from wandering. The more distractions you have, the more likely you are to feel uncertain and insecure.
Talk to an Instructor
Fitness classes like cycling or Pilates can be extremely fun and beneficial for your health. However, this is often the most intimidating setting for beginners. As tempting as it may be to hide in the back row and keep to yourself, this won’t help you make any improvements. Instead, try making a friend in the class, or speaking to the instructor beforehand. They’re always excited to welcome newcomers, and are happy to help you perfect your form or master any moves that you’re struggling with.
Bring a Buddy
One of the simplest ways to build some confidence at the gym is to bring a close friend or family member along for support. Having a gym buddy can help you feel more relaxed so that you can actually enjoy your workout, and even have some fun. And in the event that you make a misstep, you and your friend will likely laugh it off together and keep moving. The best part about having a companion is that you’re more inclined to keep up with your routine when you have someone holding you accountable. Gym anxiety or not, bringing a buddy is always a good idea!
Create a Custom Workout at Leo’s Fitness Lab
Wondering where you can work out without the fear and intimidation you might feel at a traditional gym? At Leo’s Fitness Lab in San Diego, each workout is tailored to you and your abilities and can be completed in just 20 minutes. We also offer convenient scheduling, so your customized training sessions can be private and personal. Our equipment offers the most sophisticated technology while also being incredibly simple and easy to use. It’s appropriate for people of any age or fitness level. Visit our state-of-the-art fitness lab today to discover your ideal workout!