5 Tips on Reducing Gym Anxiety
We’ve all been there before – you change into your exercise gear and mentally encourage yourself to jump in the car and smash out your best workout yet. But then an unwanted friend decides to join you last-minute – gym anxiety.
The fear of being judged is a common fear in everyday life, however, it’s one that is amplified when you find yourself in a sea of sweaty individuals (who somehow appear to be looking better than you, despite deadlifting 100kgs) and you’re awkwardly trying to seek out a vacant piece of equipment.
But, rest assured! Here are a few tips to help you conquer your workout without those feelings of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety:
1. Visit the gym in non-peak hours
It can be quite intimidating to walk into a gym full of hardcore gym junkies. This feeling can quickly transition into one of awkwardness as you wait for a treadmill to be free. Visiting the gym in non-busy periods may help you to build your confidence without fear of judgment or feeling self-conscious. Ask the front desk when the busiest periods are so you can time your visits accordingly. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym at 2 am – research shows that most people visit the gym before work at around 8 am, and in the evenings from 4 pm to 7 pm.
2. Train with a friend or PT
One of the most common thoughts that go through the mind of someone with gym anxiety is ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’. If possible, engage a personal trainer for the first couple of weeks/months to help build your confidence. This can be a great way to ease you into gym life, learn about different exercises, adopt the proper techniques to avoid injury, and to stay accountable.
3. Plan your workout ahead of going to the gym
Also referred to as the know before you go strategy, doing your research before going to the gym can reduce those feelings of uncertainty, and lessen the time you spend chewing your fingernails whilst contemplating what to do next.
The type of research you do is dependent upon how you like to learn. In the age of fitness influencers, there are a great range of workout tutorials on YouTube that are easily accessible and quite short in duration. Websites, podcasts, and blog posts cover almost every workout routine there is and can also be an enjoyable way to learn. There are also plenty on programs available online to help keep you focussed.
4. Attend group classes
Getting sweaty and red-faced alongside the lady from Coles or a group of strangers may not be a compelling idea at first, however exercise classes can have plenty of worthwhile benefits.
Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned gym junkie, group classes can help you find motivation and inspiration during exercise. Rather than attempting froggy squats on your lonesome, you are doing so as a group. And the beauty of it is that people are way more focused on what they’re doing rather than what you are doing two rows behind them. Shared exercise also carries the added benefit of social interaction, enabling you to make a new friend whilst getting sweaty.
Group classes can also help you to stay accountable. Because most group classes require that you secure your spot ahead of time, you are less likely to cancel last minute and risk incurring a cancellation fee.
5. Slowly expose yourself and stick to your sweat schedule
There’s only a certain amount of excuses you can tell yourself to avoid the gym. Eventually, if you show up despite the fact that you need to water your plants at some stage today, it will become a habit. Remind yourself that everybody has to start somewhere, and the confidence will come with time providing you stay consistent with your workouts. A good way to maintain regular exercise is to find something you really enjoy doing. By doing this, it will be a part of your day you look forward to rather than dread. This may be intense cardio, heavy weightlifting or body resistance exercises (just to name a few), but it depends on what you like doing.
How The Brisbane Spine Clinic May Help
If you’re struggling with gym related anxiety, you may be unsure of what types of exercises to do and how to correctly perform them. As physiotherapists, we can assess your fitness, teach you the correct technique, and develop an exercise program tailored for you.
Most importantly, we understand that taking the first step in your fitness journey can oftentimes be the hardest yet most important. To chat more about kickstarting your fitness journey, make an appointment with us today.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.