So, you are not quite sure you want to go to the gym? For some reason you say you are going to start, but when it is time to put up or shut down, you tend to shut down. “What am I afraid of? Why can’t I just go?”, may be some questions you ask yourself. It is probably because of something called Gym Anxiety.
What is Gym Anxiety?
Gym anxiety is that self-inflicted, self-conscious, confidence-destroying feeling you get when you are thinking about going to the gym and are afraid of doing something wrong, being judged, or simply looking dumb. It’s a real thing. We care about how we are judged and what other people think. This psychological challenge can be debilitating and keep you from building a better you. Let look at some common causes and how to get past them…
Common Causes And How To Get Past Them?
1. You Are Unsure of Yourself and Feel Uncertain
If you are new to the gym or weight lifting, you are bound to have a lot of uncertainty. And, as humans, we don’t like uncertainty. It may be that you don’t know what exercises to do, how to use the equipment, or are not sure of the proper gym etiquette.
Solution: With all of the YouTube videos on exercising and free information on the Internet, it is easy to do a little research before you even go to the gym. Read about what kind of workouts are available and have a plan about what you want to accomplish. Check out my post: Aerobic, Strength, Or Balance…Oh My!!! to get started. Once you come up with the type of workout you want to start, go on YouTube and search for videos featuring those workouts. Also, don’t forget to read up on gym etiquette. I will create a post about that next week.
2. Comparing Yourself to Others
It is intimidating going to the gym and struggling to bench press 95 lbs when the guy next to you is cranking out multiple repetitions of 225 lbs. And what about the lady who is squatting 2x her weight when you are sore just doing 10 reps with no weights? This can make you seriously doubt even getting started.
Solution: Everyone has to start somewhere. Understand that the person benching 225 lbs or squatting twice their weight didn’t start out that way. They started the same way you are going to start. You could also imagine that you are the only one there. Enter a zone where it is just you, and focus on you. Meditation can help with this.
By the way…I was that guy struggling to bench press 95 lbs my first day at the gym. Now my personal best is 315 lbs.
3. You Think People Are Judging You
“Here comes another fat guy,” or “Here is another New Year’s resolution dropout.” You may be thinking others are thinking this about you or pointing you out to their friends. You would rather not go than imagine someone talking about you this way.
Solution: People at the gym are there to work out, not to judge you. We tend to think we are the center of attention, but that is rarely true, especially in public places. Most people are too fixated on themselves than they are on other people. Gyms don’t have mirrors all around so people can see you better. People want to see themselves better. For the few times where there are immature people who do judge, ignore them. They have bigger issues. For them, turn your head, keep at it and show them you won’t give up!!!
4. You Don’t Feel Like You Belong There
Some people feel like they have to get in better shape to belong to a gym. “I will start going to the gym when I lose 15 lbs.” This is nonsense. Gyms are made for people to get fit. Maybe you don’t have any friends there, and you will surely see people who know each other and will chat without you. It doesn’t mean they belong there any more than you. Or if the people there are generally older than you or younger than you, you may feel like an outsider. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Solution: Do some research on the gym you are considering joining. What type of people are there? Is it a younger crowd in the morning? An older crowd in the evening? Or vice versa? Maybe you just need to get some gym clothes so you feel like you fit in better? Lots of gyms have classes you can join for beginners. Either way, do some research and put your mind at ease.
Some Other Ways To Get Past Gym Anxiety
In addition to the solutions mentioned above, here are some other ways to get past gym anxiety:
– Have a plan for your workout. Go there prepared.
– Figure out the slow hours at the gym and work out during those non-peak hours.
– Work out with a friend.
– Hire a fitness coach for a couple weeks or month.
– Focus on yourself and be confident.
Gym Anxiety is a real thing that can keep you from building the body you want and from getting into shape. Though gym anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, there a number of solutions for it. Utilize the solutions and recommendations listed above. Be prepared, do your research, and walk into the gym confident. Confidence is key here. Know that you can do anything you set your mind to and that you only care what you think. Be focused, be strong, and get to it!!!
Check in next week for my post on Gym Etiquette.