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Gym anxiety is a real thing and this time of year when it’s all “new year, new me” it’s the last thing you need right? Maybe you’ve set yourself some fitness goals and want to start going to the gym to help you achieve them but the thought of walking into a new social setting and on top of that having to let people see you exercise makes you want to nervous poo. I get it, I was there when I first started going to the gym. I’ve compiled all the little things that helped me get over my gym anxiety, .
Go with a friend
You’ve probably got at least one friend who has set some health and fitness goals and wants to get started. Maybe they’re even in the same boat as you. Go together, it makes it a hell of a lot easier if you feel like your anxiety is shared with someone else and you can support each other through it.
Prepare before you go in there
Visit the gym you want to join and have a proper look around before you go. Get a feel for the place and gauge how comfortable you feel when you walk in there. There’s always those gym’s that have a myriad of beautiful people looking fantastic and barely breaking a sweat, but you’re probably looking for something a bit more relaxed where you feel ok looking like a sweaty tomato at the end! I know I always am, so make sure you find somewhere that’s right for you rather than the first place you see.
Once you’ve found your gym, if you have a plan you want to follow and you worry you’re going to be the obvious newbie, YouTube any exercises before you go so you have an idea of how to do them and what the correct form is.
Speak to the staff and ask for help
If you didn’t manage to look up all of your exercises before and feel a little lost, ask a member of staff! That’s what they’re there for. If you went into a shop and wanted information you’d speak to the staff members, its the same at the gym. It’s not embarrassing to ask for help and it’s far safer to get a form check or understand how to use equipment than realising you need help when it’s too late and you have a heavy weight above your head. Blue light to A&E is not the look you’re going for here!
Accept that you’re feeling anxious
Don’t pretend it’s not happening, acknowledge how you feel but remind yourself that you’re in control. You can stay as long as you want to and do only what you want. If there’s certain things you feel comfortable doing then stick to those to begin with, allow yourself to become more relaxed whilst you’re there and you can work up to doing the other bits. Small steps are still progress.
Don’t let gym anxiety stop you from changing up your routine
Although you may feel more comfortable sticking to what you know, try not to get too set in your ways when you go to the gym. You may love long distance running on the treadmill and if so great, you do you! But if you’re confining yourself to the cardio machines and you’re desperate to pick up a weight then do it girl! Most gyms will have smaller free weights dotted around the gym so you don’t need to go into the scary racked area. Try your hand at those smaller weights and some exercises until you feel ready to conquer the rest.
No one is looking at you!
Promise! I know it feels like all eyes are on you, but seriously no one gives a shit. They’re too busy getting their workout done before they get on with their day or get home for the evening. If I’ve ever looked at someone in the gym it’s because they’re doing something that I need some help with so I’m watching their form, other than that I’m in my zone and so is everyone else.
Remember everyone had a first day
Every single person in that gym had a first day and they’ll have felt just as unsure and anxious as you do. Keep reminding yourself why you’re there and what you want to achieve by going.
The gym can feel like the scariest damn place in the world the first time you walk in but hopefully these tips will help you get through the front door. If you’re really not up for the gym you can read my review of the Fiit app which allows you to work out at home away from prying eyes!