Gym Anxiety: 6 Tips

When you step into the gym the first time and see a bunch of dudes in cut-off shirts taking over the weight room, whether or not you're a guy or a girl, it can be intimidating, especially when you've never lifted a weight before. It can be discouraging, but you're stronger than that. You made it to the gym despite anything you've been telling yourself and you owe a killer workout to your future self. If you need some tips on getting started, I wrote a post about that here.  My 10 tips to getting through gym anxiety:

  1. Start planning at home. Write out what your workout is going to be ahead of time so that you go into the gym knowing exactly what you're going to do, down to the sets and reps, so that you're not wandering around trying to think of something to do. I used the notes on my phone to do this every time! I still do, it makes me more focused and efficient. 
  2. If you're confused about what an exercise is, look it up at home. You can find a lot of videos online on how to do a lift or use a machine, they're super helpful. Watching videos is how I learned to deadlift!
  3. Wear what you're comfortable in. Whatever makes you feel the most comfortable in your own skin will translate to how comfortable you are in the gym and how confident you are.
  4. Think about yourself. Think about what you do when you work out. Are you focused on what other people are doing? Probably not. Are you staring at other people the whole time? No. No one else is either. Everyone (should) be there to do their own thing, no one is watching.
  5. Know your place. You deserve to be in the gym as much as anyone else. Don't let anyone try and push you out of the way before you're finished. If you have a few more sets, finish them. If you want to use a machine or platform, ask the person using it how many more sets they have and that you'd like to use it when they're done. Just because another person has been lifting for longer than you doesn't mean they're entitled to anything.
  6. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Whether this be a friend who is experienced in training, a person in the gym, or a personal trainer, it's ok to ask. No one knows everything without first asking questions. That's what trainers are there for, to help.

The gym can definitely be overwhelming at first. Nervousness is totally normal, I've been there! Keep these tips in mind when you're starting out and eventually it will get easier. One day you'll feel comfortable there and probably even see a lot of familiar faces that make you happy and motivated to be there. Do your thing.

By Brendan Bannister |