How to Conquer Gym Anxiety

Photo of gym equipment, including dumbbells and a ball. Gym anxiety is very common - here's how to conquer it.

Whether you have a serious case of gymtimidation or lockdown has destroyed your routine, there are some simple ways to take control of gym anxiety.

Many people feel anxious when going to the gym for the first time. It’s natural to think, Everyone’s staring at me, I don’t know how to use any of this equipment and everyone looks stronger than me

But your fears aren’t fact and you shouldn’t let your gym anxiety hold you back from achieving your health and fitness goals. Here are my top tips on conquering gym fear and gaining confidence. 

Ask coaches for help

If you’re a first-timer at a new gym or you’ve just not been in a while, contact them on social media beforehand. Any decent gym will have approachable, friendly coaches who are more than happy to show you around and answer questions. 

Here at Triple X, we offer a free taster session with one of our coaches so you’ll get one-to-one support and a taste of what the atmosphere is like. You can also work with a personal trainer to get the extra support you need.

Prep yourself

Go to the gym knowing exactly what you want to do. Is it leg day, upper body or a bit of everything? Note down the exercises you’re going to do and the equipment you’ll need. This will make it less daunting when you walk into a busy gym. When you go with a plan, you’re less likely to be knocked off course and more likely to smash your workout. 

Avoid peak times

Scared of getting your sweat on around strangers? Try to get your session in early morning or during the day to avoid the post-work peak. Once you’ve done your workouts a few times without the crowds, exercising around people won’t bother you. 

Join a class

When you want to learn more exercises and gain confidence in the gym, classes are perfect. You’ll soon get over any fears of messing up moves and people seeing you sweaty, because everyone’s in the same boat. 

Once you’ve nailed some new exercises, you’ll be brave enough to do your workouts on the gym floor without the anxiety. 

Buddy up 

If you’re truly terrified of setting foot in the gym alone, ask for support from a friend. If you go to the gym together, you’ll feel less intimidated and you’ll be able to help each other navigate new exercises and the equipment. You’ll also have someone else to hold you accountable so you don’t ditch your sessions.

Don’t compare yourself to everyone else

Just remember: everyone goes to the gym to improve their fitness and to work on their own personal goals. Nobody is focusing on what you’re doing, staring at you or judging you. Look around and you’ll see people concentrating on what they’re doing. Many people will be on their phones. 

If working on your health and fitness is a reason for someone to mock you, then they probably won’t be a member at that particular gym for much longer. Most gyms have a code of conduct to maintain a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, so nobody should be going out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable. 

So, if you see other people sprinting on a treadmill or squatting with 30kg when you can barely manage 10kg, don’t worry. Everyone was a beginner at some point, even those who look like pros.

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