HIf you’re feeling anxious at the thought of hitting the gym, you’re not alone. Whether it’s your first time working out, you’re returning from a post-injury hiatus, or you’re just feeling self-conscious, gym anxiety is a real issue that many people will experience at some point.
Pushing through anxieties and going for that workout can be tough, but ultimately it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. Try these 5 tips for easing gym anxiety to help make things easier the next time you step through those gym doors.
1. Have a fitness plan in mind
According to gym trainer Travis Telfer, “One of the biggest causes of gym anxiety is a feeling of being lost or confused amongst all the bustle. To combat this, you should have a clear fitness plan in your head before you even enter the gym”.
Whether it’s a thorough training program or just an idea of which machines you intend to use, having a plan beforehand will stop you from feeling overwhelmed or anxious at all the options and things going on at the gym. If you need help, there are plenty of fitness and workout guides online as well as encouraging and supportive personal trainers who can help you.
2. Join a group class
Sometimes it helps to not feel alone, and group workout classes are great for initiating a supportive atmosphere and community mindset. This collective vibe can really help to ease your gym anxiety by making you feel like part of a group.
Look for group classes at your local gym and find a suitable fitness class that suits your personal health goals. Try to do as much research on the class beforehand so that you’ve got a good idea of exactly what will be required of you, that way you’ll feel less anxious stepping through the door on your first visit.
3. Say no to the caffeine
A cuppa before training might sound like a good idea, but it certainly won’t be helping ease your nerves. Before you reach for that cup of coffee or tea, make sure you know that it could very well be contributing to your feelings of gym anxiety.
It’s no secret that caffeine increases anxiety, and we all know that jittery, nervous, heart-pumping-out-of-your-chest feeling. When it’s time to head to the gym and start your workout, all that extra energy is not going to help keep you calm. Instead, go for a pre-workout option that’s stimulating without the caffeine.
4. Focus on you
And just you! Gym anxiety can often be a result of comparing ourselves and our progress to other people. When you’re in a room full of fit, healthy, muscular athletes, it’s not surprising to know that many of us experience anxiety. On the other hand, anxiety is often due to comparing our bodies, strengths, and fitness abilities with others.
The truth is, there will always be someone further along the path than you, and someone well behind you. Start looking at other people as irrelevant to your own successes and strengths, and stay focused on you.
5. Take a mate
Having a training buddy is always a good idea, and stepping into the gym with a close friend beside you will go a long way in helping to ease anxiety. Ask around for a good friend or family member to start training with you – it’ll be a great chance for them to get fit while also squeezing in some quality social time.
If you don’t have a mate to ask, don’t be afraid to reach out to trainers at your local gym. They’re experienced professionals who are here to help anyone and everyone feel comfortable in the gym, and that includes you. Make a point of sharing your anxieties with a trainer and don’t be scared to ask for support when you need it.