Nothing is worse than wanting to get in shape and having gym anxiety. There are several reasons for feeling anxious about going to the gym. It’s a common problem, too. However, the problem is that gym anxiety may be enough to keep a person from going to the gym to work out. Avoiding the gym can have a major negative impact on a person’s health.
We’ve put together a list of common triggers for gym anxiety and a list of strategies you can use to either get to the gym or create alternative ways to work out.
What is Gym Anxiety?
Have you ever felt embarrassed, intimidated, or anxious about working out at the gym? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common problem, and it’s called gym anxiety.
There’s no getting around the fact that heading to the gym can make a person feel anxious. It may be that you’re a woman feeling uncomfortable working out in mixed groups. Or maybe you’re a guy who wants to develop some pecks but doesn’t want anyone to see you now. No matter the cause, gym anxiety is a real problem.
The issue is that exercise is something that’s necessary for your health. Not only does exercise improve your physical health, but it also improves your mental health. Working out is a great way to release stress, gain confidence, and more.
Gym Anxiety Triggers
Here are some of the most common gym anxiety triggers. Is yours on the list?
You’re just starting out: as a newb, it can be embarrassing to start a fitness routine. You may even be new to gyms! Or what if everyone’s in better shape? That can be intimidating, even if no one says something negative to you. Fear of being judged is enough to keep some people out of the gym for good.
You’ve changed gyms: switching from one gym to another can also be stressful. You may be working in a completely new gym with a different layout. It may even be more challenging to find the locker room or the restroom, find the equipment you want, and more.
Having trouble using the equipment: this is another common issue. You may want to use a specific machine, but you can’t figure out how to use it. This can be embarrassing.
Changing in front of others: some people are just more modest than others. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, it can make changing clothes in front of others very embarrassing and intimidating.
Gym is crowded: a crowded gym can make many people feel uncomfortable.
Did you find the cause of your gym anxiety on the list? If not, that’s OK! There are many other things that can make a person feel anxious at the gym. The main thing is to figure out what’s causing the anxiety and then find a solution.
Strategies to Ease Gym Anxiety
Here are some suggestions that may help ease your gym anxiety and enjoy your workouts!
Do Your Research & Get Acquainted
Some anxiety may be caused by fear of the unknown. So, learning about the gym ahead of time may help you feel more comfortable and confident.
Start with some online research about the facility. You may be able to find photos, a list of amenities, and more. Once you have enough information, you can go and tour the gym to become more familiar with it. You can also introduce yourself to the staff!
You don’t have to go all out during the first visit to the gym. Instead, make a small goal that’s comfortable for you. For instance, you could decide to spend 15 to 20 minutes cycling or doing some stretches. Let that be your workout. You can increase the time from there and feel more comfortable going at your own pace.
Hire a Personal Trainer
Working with a personal trainer is another way to learn a workout routine at the gym. You’ll learn how to do the exercise properly, how to work the machines, and more.
As you work with the trainer, it’s also helpful to be completely honest and clear about your goals. Let the trainer know you have anxiety about going to the gym and that you’d like one session to get familiar with everything.
Even just one session with a personal trainer may be enough to get you started with a great fitness routine!
Go with a Friend
Have you ever thought about heading to the gym with a family member or a friend? Working out together is a great way to have some support, guidance, and comfort if you have gym anxiety.
In addition, working out with another person helps remove some of the unknown factors that may cause some anxiety. You feel more comfortable and confident, too, when exercising with a friend.
Group Fitness Can Help
A group fitness class may also help relieve your gym anxiety. You can follow the instructor when doing exercises. And you work out as a group, rather than individually. That means all eyes are on the instructor, not you!
Alternative to the Gym If Anxiety is High
For some, gym anxiety may be too challenging to overcome. In that case, it can be helpful to use alternatives to the gym to exercise.
Work Out at Home
One option is to do a fitness routine at home. You can find many fitness apps available, some are free, and some are paid. Another alternative is to stream fitness routines on YouTube or other sites. This is a great option even if you don’t have expensive exercise equipment. There are plenty of ways to get and stay fit at home!
Find a Smaller, Inclusive Gym
You may also want to consider finding a smaller, more inclusive gym where you can find relief for gym anxiety. Changing the setting can do wonders to relieve anxiety.
Summing It Up
Gym anxiety is a common problem many of us face. So, try to find ways to relieve gym stress that work for you. If you’re not able to overcome gym stress, there are plenty of alternatives available to help you stay fit.
The key is to find what works best for you and provides relief for the stress you feel heading for the gym.