Your first time at the gym can be daunting. I remember the moment I made the decision to go to the gym… And then the weeks I spent plucking up the courage to sign up for a gym membership… Followed by how much longer it took me to actually pluck up the courage to go. My gym anxiety stayed with me right up until I walked out of those gym doors after my first workout.

Gym Anxiety Comparison – What Happens VS What You Think Happens:

In my head I had this horrible idea about what it would be like to go to the gym. I used to be a skinny guy, and believed the moment I walked through those gym doors people would be staring, laughing and pointing at me. Because I wasn’t as strong or as big as everybody. I imaged I wouldn’t know how to use any of the machines properly. That I’d do all the exercises completely wrong and just look like a massive idiot.

In reality this is what actually happens: You walk in. Almost nobody notices you as you head to the changing rooms to get changed. Once you’re out and back on the gym floor you begin your workout. The machines all have instructions on how to use them correctly. Since they are there you can use them without looking inexperienced. But most importantly. Nobody even looks up at you or acknowledges your existence. Because they’re so busy focusing on themselves and how they look they don’t have time to care about what you’re doing. You’ll especially realise this when you start going to the gym. Because you’ll realise you’ll have no idea who’s new and who’s old. You’re too busy worrying about your workout and that you’re doing things right!

How To Overcome Gym Anxiety – 6 Tips

I don’t expect that last paragraph will suddenly evaporate your gym anxiety. The only way you are going to lose it is when you’ve been to the gym and realise it’s nowhere near as bad as you thought it was going to be. So here are the 5 tips that can help you get started:

Put your headphones in.

Putting your headphones in acts as noise barrier to block out everything else that is going on around you. This is great if you’re scared people will be talking or laughing about you (which they won’t). If you’re blocking out the noise around you, you only have to focus on your internal voice. Therefore you can just keep reminding yourself your gym anxiety is all in your mind and you have nothing to worry about!

Start off on something easy.

The exercise bikes are a great place to start. You don’t even need to know how to ride a bike. Because the machine takes the balancing out of the equation. If you’re super nervous about going to the gym, just hop on the bikes the first few times. This will acclimatize you to the gym environment. And you’ll see how stress free going to the gym really is.

Learn before hand

Learn your workout before you go to the gym. Everything you could ever want to know is now on the internet. So you don’t have a reason to go to the gym unprepared! Look at exercises you’re not sure about and the correct technique on how to do them. With this knowledge in your mind you can lose the fear that you’re going to mess up on one of the machines.

Go at quiet times

I still do this now. Not because I have gym anxiety, but because I like being able to go on any equipment I want, whenever I want. Find out the times your gym is busy and when it’s quiet. For example my gym gets busy between 7-9 in the morning and 5-9 at night. So I avoid these times. If there is a 24 hour gym near you this will be perfect for you. Because you can just go at a time when nobody is around.

Dress the part

For your own confidence why not dress the part. Forget “All the gear, no idea” you only have to “Fake it ’til you make it”. If you can’t afford to do this though it doesn’t matter too much. When I first started going to the gym I went in a pair of jogging bottoms they haven’t made since the early 2000’s and a t-shirt that hung off me.

Go with a friend

Have you got a friend that has the same fitness goals as you? Go with them. If your friend is an experienced gym goer then you have absolutely nothing to worry about because they will show you the ropes. And if you’re both new then you’re simply in it together! With each others moral support who cares about the other people around you (and trust me they don’t care about you!)

Bonus Tip: If you can, hire a personal trainer. They will show you exactly what to do and give you the best advice on how to meet your fitness goals. Because you’re with them you’re gym anxiety will disappear because you’re with an authority of the gym.

Where Is Your Gym Anxiety Coming From?

Have you asked yourself this question? While these tips will help you tackle going to the gym for the first time you should try to find the underlying reason why you’re getting anxious. There could be a deeper problem that you can figure out and work on.

Want to overcome fear altogether? Check out this article on why you need to reprogramme your subconscious mind

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