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How to beat gym anxiety

Gym anxiety is something we all know too well. Whether you are an avid go-er or a first-time starter, it is important to remember - along with everything else in life - not to let your fears stand in the way of accomplishing something. 

What is gym anxiety?

Gym anxiety refers to that self-conscious, intimidated, dreaded feeling either in the run-up to your session or while you're there. It usually stems from a fear of appearing as though you don't know how to use the equipment, aren't performing 'well enough' in classes, and general judgment from others. Comfortingly, you won't be the only person feeling this way, and there are things you can do to minimise your anxiety.

Anxiety about going to the gym

Many people feel nervous in the run-up to going to the gym, regardless of gender, size, fitness or strength levels. Often, you think about negative situations rather than positive ones. Some members have told us that fears include being judged based on fitness levels or looking like amateurs. However, you'll find that people aren't looking at you; they are focusing on their own exercise program. 

Think about it, when you’re exercising, are you looking at the person across the room and analysing their form or fitness levels? Nope. And no one is looking at you or judging you either. 

Perhaps the most challenging thing is finding the strength to turn up and get started. Once you’ve been a few times and are focused on your exercise plan, your concerns will melt away. 

How to get over gym anxiety

Here are three tips to help you beat gym anxiety and achieve your fitness goals.

  1.  Plan your workout

The most important and valuable step you can take to beat gym anxiety is to plan your workout. Planning what you'll be doing in each session will give you something to focus on, leaving little or no time to compare yourself to others. By concentrating on yourself and your training, you will accomplish far more than if you spend time worrying about other people. 

If you're finding it hard to focus and block out distractions, try plugging in some earphones and work out to your favourite music or television show. 

  1.  Ask for help

Yes, we know that this can also feel daunting, but we promise it's a much better option than struggling alone. If the tasks you've set yourself are confusing, or you are faced with an unfamiliar piece of equipment, then ask an instructor for assistance. They are there to make sure you are using everything correctly for your safety. We promise they are more focused on helping you than judging you.

  1.  Bring a friend

Whether it's someone you already know or a new workout buddy you've found, it's always good to have someone around you to turn to who understands and will be there to support you. 

Bringing someone you know has your back will help you feel far more relaxed and able to enjoy your workout a lot more, laughing off any awkward experiences and discovering that they're no big deal. If your friend doesn't already have a membership, try signing them up for a one-off pass so they can join you just for the day to keep you motivated.

Overcoming your gym fear

The best way to get over gym anxiety is to face it head-on. By doing one or more of these suggested tips, you will slowly build confidence and no longer feel overwhelmed with gym anxiety.

Soon, if you are regularly going, the gym will feel like a comfortable and familiar environment. You can start to step out of your comfort zone even more to experiment with new exercises and routines. It is essential to switch these up to get the most out of your gym experience.