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How to Beat Gym Anxiety

Conquer Your Fears & Actually Enjoy Your Workout

There are countless reasons why things might have gotten away from you - maybe your priorities changed after starting a family or maybe the dreaded Freshman Fifteen turned into the Freshman 25 and stuck around longer than expected. Now that you’ve made the decision to finally take some time for yourself and focus on feeling your best, you’re ready to get started. It’s an exciting time with endless possibilities, but taking the first step of going to the gym can be one of the most daunting things about beginning your fitness journey. It may seem like you have to have the body of a personal trainer just to set foot inside a gym, but we promise that’s not the case. Here’s a few tips on how to overcome your anxieties and take back control.

Start Small

Baby steps are still steps. If signing up for a gym membership seems like a bit too much, set smaller goals to help you get there. Walking is one of the best things for your body and a great way to start increasing your endurance. After making this a regular part of your schedule, consider making the leap from your outdoor walks to a treadmill at the gym. This is a great way to become familiar with the space, even if you don’t use most of the facilities at first. While you’re on the treadmill, take note of your surroundings, including the other machines people are using and see what looks like a good next step. Before you know it, you’ll gain the confidence you need to become more and more ambitious and finally feel like you belong there.

push ups

Have a Plan

Once you feel a bit more comfortable just going to the gym, develop a plan for your workouts. List out the exercises you want to complete and set goals for weights, sets, and reps. This will not only help you track your progress, but will make sure that you’re getting the most out of your time there. Instead of strolling through the space, trying to decide what you’re in the mood for, a set plan will take the guesswork out of the experience, so you can hit the ground running. There are a lot of free apps to help you plan and track your sessions, but if all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with a pencil and a piece of paper.

Ask for Help

Asking for help at the gym can be terrifying to someone with anxiety about working out in public. Should I already know how to do this? Are they judging me? Maybe I can just figure it out on my own… These thoughts are all incredibly common, but submitting to them does a huge disservice to yourself and can even be dangerous. The gym’s staff are all there to help and the good news is that they’re typically really excited to do so. They want to make sure that you’re enjoying your time there and that you’re working out safely.

Consistency is Key

Building habits is hard work, but is the cornerstone for a successful fitness journey. Believe it or not, once you become accustomed to exercising regularly, you’ll start to want to do it, rather than feeling like you should do it. Schedule gym time as a fixed appointment in your calendar or find a workout buddy to help keep yourself accountable. Do whatever you need to in order make sure that you’re giving yourself the best possible chance at making a lasting and positive difference.


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