What is Gym Anxiety and How to Overcome It?

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It can be downright terrifying joining the gym. With all the buffed up people and complicated gym equipment, it’s no wonder you’re intimidated. But, intimidation shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid going to the gym. Even so, gym anxiety is a real thing. But there are ways to overcome it.

What is Gym Anxiety?

Gym anxiety is where you feel self-conscious and lack the confidence to go to the gym out of embarrassment, intimidation or awkwardness. You may fear being judged based on your fitness level or are uncertain about classes or equipment.

Causes of Gym Anxiety  

There are many causes of gym anxiety such as:

Being Overweight

Feeling uncomfortable with your body is a big reason why a lot of people avoid the gym. You may feel awkward knowing they’re going to be surrounded by individuals who are buff and work out frequently.

Being Judged

Fear of judgment is another common excuse for not going to the gym. You rarely see advertisements showing overweight individuals at the gym. Typically, it’s your hardcore muscle and flat-abdomen gym-goers that are in gym-brochures and television commercials. You may feel that in order to be worthy enough to go to the gym, you need to be fitter, thinner and know what you’re doing.

Not Understanding the Equipment

You’re definitely not alone if you’re intimidated by all the machines, equipment and rules. Plenty of people, like you, avoid going to the gym because they haven’t a clue how to work all that equipment and stick with gym etiquette.

Fear of Failure

Chances are you feel you don’t have a shot at being successful at the gym. You probably don’t think people your size or fitness level represent the average fitness medium or role model. And, how many people with your inexperience and your size actually have achieved athletic greatness?

Tips to Overcome Gym Anxiety

1. Find the Appropriate Gym

The first thing you want to do is find a gym that you’re comfortable with and is appropriate for you. What kind of classes or equipment do they have? Does the gym have personal trainers who can get you on your feet? How close to home is it and is it open within your preferred exercise hours?

2.  Avoid Peak Hours

If you’re worried about a lot of people, go during an oddball time when you know it’s slow. Most gym attendants will be able to tell you their slowest times.

3. Watch Equipment Training Videos Before You Go

Not sure how to use the elliptical machine or what to do with those weights? You can find a boatload of YouTube how-to videos showing you different machines and gym equipment with step-by-step instructions so you can learn the basics at home before you venture out to the “scary” gym.

4. Bring a Workout Buddy

Have a friend go with you, at least your first few times. Your gym session will be much easier and more fun when you have a friend there with you. They can help ease your fear.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Although it may be difficult, try not to compare yourself with others who are at the gym. What other people are doing at the gym is irrelevant to your goals. And chances are they’ve been doing this for a while. Focus on your own personal progress and health goals instead. Talk to your doctor about your fitness goals before you begin a new workout program.

Above all, remember that regularly working out is good for your health, may help you lose weight, boost your mood, help you sleep better and more.


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