It is day one of your new fitness journey. You pump your fist in the air with excitement on the car drive over to your new gym. You imagine yourself like Rocky Balboa, ready to get your sweat on and crush your workout. As you walk into the reasonably crowded gym, you see only one open treadmill in a sea of what looks like marathon runners. Confidence starts to fade as you walk up to the machine- these guys are speedy. The feeling of defeat follows after a gym employee has to assist you in turning on your treadmill, and you can’t seem to breathe after slowly jogging one mile. You have concluded that the gym scene isn’t for you.
Gym anxiety is common for new fitness pursuers. Such a concern comes from fear of shape judgment or lack of gym equipment knowledge. Awkward situations at the gym can quickly spark those insecurities that keep you from reaching your exercise goals. David Reagan, Atlanta native who specializes in weight loss, personalized workout plans, bodybuilding, and nutrition, is passionate about helping others feel comfortable in any gym environment. He shares four ways to get over any fear of the gym.
1. Bring a friend
One of the best ways to build confidence in the gym is not to face it alone. When you bring a friend with you to work out, not only are you both more likely to keep each other accountable to stick with your fitness goals, but you also have a soundboard for any arising anxiety and can have fun together during the process.
2. Work out during off-hours
As discussed above, gym anxiety can stem from being judged by others on your physical shape or level of athleticism. This stress can create a fear of a crowded gym. If that is the case for you, don’t give up and continue to strive for your physical goals by going to the gym during off-hours. That way, you can easily avoid the rush hour at the gym and are more likely to have the gym to yourself.
3. Feel the fear, and do it anyways
Whether it’s walking into the gym, waking up the morning of a marathon, or stepping onto any sport’s court in front of a crowd, fear can be inevitably a part of the athletic process. If you feel it and do it anyway, you grow stronger in your mental and physical health and not allow fear to overpower your life.
4. Make a warrior playlist
Music can act as a therapeutic tool to motivate you to conquer your workout regardless of your fears. Research has proven that fast music can distract your brain, which results in you exerting a more efficient and harder workout.
Take time to create your playlist. Choose songs that are linked to positive memories to get those feel-good endorphins flowing and improve your physical performance. It is a good idea to keep your earbuds in to reduce social interactions and stay focused on maintaining your confidence level.