When I originally started working out, I had a gym buddy whom I became extremely dependent upon. I never had to deal or worry about going to the gym alone. Beginning of last year I made a new years resolution that I was going to join a gym and lose weight… yet again. In March I joined my local Gold’s Gym. I went for a handful of times, however, each and every single time I started dealing with severe anxiety. My hands would start sweating, I would have shortness of breath, and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. True anxiety. Once you face what is causing you anxiety, your nerves typically calm. Not mine, I dealt with anxiety the entire workout, worrying that people were watching me, laughing at me, and judging every little thing I did. I ended up not going to the gym again until October, all due to my anxiety. 7 months I let my fears take the best of me. No more. Here are some things that helped me beat gym anxiety, and I hope they might help you.
1. Start slow. Don’t pressure yourself into going all out.
You might be wondering why this is the first on my list of tips. The reason for this is when I originally started working out the beginning of last year, I said I was going to workout 4 to 5 times a week. When I actually started thinking about going to the gym that many times, my anxiety would flair up tremendously. Committing myself to once or twice a week starting out helped me not feel as overwhelmed.
2. Learn the layout of your gym and plan your workouts in advance.
This made a lot of difference for me when I made a commitment back in October to start working out again. Having that plan and knowing the layout of the gym, I could walk in, clock in, and instantly head to where I needed without feeling lost, overwhelmed, or out of place.
3. Going first thing, right after you wake up.
Originally, I worked out a night mostly due to the fact that I am more of a night owl than a morning person. However, planning my workouts in the morning, I have less time to talk myself out of the workout and less time actually thinking and worrying about the gym. My gym opens at 5 am Monday through Friday, and I make sure my ass is there right at 5 am. I have worked out a daily routine where I wake up around 4 or 4:30 am, get dressed, walk the girls, then head to the gym. The fewer things I have to think about or do first thing in the morning, the more automatic going to the gym is, less room for fear to arise.
4. Listening to music.
I have gotten to the point where I am completely comfortable walking into my gym, saying hello to the office staff, going where I need to for my daily work out, then put on my headphones. At the beginning, before walking out my door, I’d plug in my headphones and start playing songs that got me pumped up. By the time I rolled up to my gym, I was too busy jamming out to let fear get in the way of my workout.
Gym anxiety is a thing and a multitude of people have battled and still battle with it. Just know that you belong. You have every right to be at the gym to better yourself. Everyone that was out of shape or overweight had to start somewhere. Those beefy dudes lifting weights over there weren’t always that beefy. Those beautiful women running on the treadmill for an hour couldn’t last that long originally. Everyone starts somewhere and I hope you don’t let your fear of the gym take control of your happiness and you trying to better yourself. You are beautiful and you are worth it.
Are you going to give any of these tips a try, or do you have any tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comment section. I hope that if you are struggling with gym anxiety these tips become of some use to you. Never give up and keep moving forward.