Have you ever walked into a gym, intending to do an hour-long workout only to turn around after five minutes? Or do you take a couple of steps into the locker room before giving in to that ‘nope, not today’ feeling?
Do you feel like all the people in the gym are staring at you, judging your size, your form, or your workout clothes? In your eyes, does everyone else look better, lift more, and run faster? Do you walk out of the gym because you feel like you don’t belong there not because you don’t have the motivation to work out?
Ironically, a place of health and wellbeing makes people so uncomfortable. Yet many people I know experience some degree of gym anxiety, regardless of how fit they are.
Even though it’s easy to feel intimidated at a gym, there are things you can do to feel more confident.
4 Ways to Be More Confident in the Gym
- Find a Gym Buddy
I have a friend who outright refuses to even walk into a gym without a buddy. Having someone that I know to focus on, makes my gym experience much brighter.
Find someone whose company you enjoy to be your workout buddy! If you are inexperienced, find someone who can help teach you the ropes. If you are experienced, I’ve found it’s generally easier to work out with someone closer to my height and lifting ability. A friend will make going to the gym a less anxiety-filled experience.
If you don’t know anyone to workout with, consider attending group classes. Classes give you the advantage of learning more about properly performing exercises. Plus, they give you a group to belong to.
2. Become Familiar with Common Gym Equipment
Knowledge is power. If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment, then it’s time to study up. You can watch videos, read books, and observe other people to learn the proper way to use weights and machines.
If you’re not familiar with the proper form for various exercises, consider working with a certified personal trainer. They can help you avoid injuries and get the best workout.
3. Go to the Gym Often
Confidence is like any other skill in life: to learn it you have to practice it. Become a frequent gym-goer. Every time you go, you will feel more comfortable.
However, keep in mind practice always goes better when you have an outline. Before you go to the gym, have a workout plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but knowing what you want to do before you get there saves time and prevents you from feeling silly while milling around indecisively.
4. Remember No One is Staring at You
By nature, we are social creatures. We assume other people are watching and judging us. Remember, we go to the gym to get our blood pumping. No one is paying attention to you; they are all more concerned with their workout. Just focus on what you’re doing and don’t mind the other people.
Be patient with yourself. You aren’t going to feel more comfortable and confident overnight. It is a process.
Start hitting the weight room and shredding the indoor track. Like any other goal, confidence in the gym is achievable. Stick with it and smile: you got this!
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By: Emeline Haroldsen
“Gym Anxiety: What it is and how to get over it.” Precor. https://www.precor.com/en-us/resources/gym-anxiety-how-get-over-it
Cunic, Arlin. “How to Cope with Social Anxiety at the Gym”. Verywellmind. 2020. https://www.verywellmind.com/cope-with-social-anxiety-at-the-gym-4125214