Do you happen to have an irrational fear of the gym? Do you get a wave of sudden anxiety walking by the seemingly foreign equipment? Are you a little scared to try something new in the gym because you are worried others might judge?
Trust me, everyone has felt exactly the same way as you.
Gym intimidation has held us all back at some point or another and it's a hard feeling to shake off. Fortunately for you, I have gathered a few tips and tricks that have recently helped me calm my nerves when it comes to utilizing the gym. I'm by no means an expert- in fact, I've only recently (like within the last few weeks) been going to the gym regularly. However, the suggestions I'm giving you have actually really helped me a lot. I can see a big difference in my demeanor at the gym these last few weeks compared to the way I used to act before.
Grab A Gym PartnerGym Dancing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
I know everybody says this so often that it must sound like a broken record, but having a buddy or two to go to the gym with can be extremely helpful. Finding the motivation to actually just get up and go to the gym can be hard, especially when you're already unsure of what to do when you're there. Having someone with you not only holds you accountable to actually go to the gym, but it will help you feel a little less awkward.
Drown Out The NoiseFord Workout GIF by Now Apocalypse - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
Not only should you have a playlist at the ready to get you pumped and keep you motivated during your workout, but you should have a nice pair of headphones to blast your music through. AirPods, the Beats wireless headphones, or something similar is awesome because there are no wires to fiddle with and they stay put through a range of motions.
Having some music blaring that hypes you up will take your mind off anyone else at the gym and help you focus on the exercises you're doing.
Take A ClassExercising Ariana Grande GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
I think this is one of the best things I've started doing that has lessened my gym anxiety. If you're lucky enough to have a gym that offers classes, personal trainers, or anything similar, I highly suggest taking advantage of it. At James Madison University's UREC there are tons of different options for exercise classes like yoga, weight training, boxing, and cycling. Most of the classes have beginner classes as well, so there's no need to worry about keeping up with others or not knowing what to do. Taking a class is so beneficial because it gives you ideas and inspiration for workouts you can do on your own, you have a teacher or trainer that is by your side and can answer your questions and help you perfect your form, and it allows you to try new things without being embarrassed or worried if you're not doing it exactly right.
Go In With A PlanDisorganized Aubrey Plaza GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
Sometimes I have a very structured plan of what I want to do at the gym, other times I wing it and make up a workout on the spot. Each person is different, so it might not be necessary for you to have an exact plan. However, I recommend at least knowing what part of your body you want to focus on for that day's gym session so you're not wandering around the gym aimlessly. It's also a good idea to decide how many circuits and reps you'd like to do so you're not just walking into the gym and then immediately walking right back out.
Stop Over-Doing ItLifting Weights Gym GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy
Sometimes we feel like everyone is looking at us when we walk into the gym, judging the workouts we're doing or how we're doing them- I promise you, no one is doing any of that. However, because we tend to think these things, we usually try to overcompensate by pushing ourselves harder in the gym, as if to prove something to everyone else. While it is good to push ourselves and try our best, we need to be careful when it comes to working out- we can easily hurt ourselves if we get sloppy with our form, if we try to use too much weight, or if we don't take enough breaks. Do your workouts at your own pace and focus on how you're doing each exercise. I can assure you that everyone is too focused on their own workout to wonder how hard you're going at yours.
Gym intimidation is a hard thing to shake, but it's not impossible to get over. Following these tips will definitely lessen your anxiety and hopefully help you to become more comfortable at the gym, as well as more confident in yourself while working out. I think the most important thing to remember is that everyone is at the gym for the same reason as you: to become a healthier, happier version of themselves. Everyone is working on themselves in some way or another, and everyone has had to start somewhere. Nobody walks into the gym knowing everything and being an expert. It's a process, but it's worth it. Just keep pushing yourself.