Gym anxiety is very real and very normal. You are entering unfamiliar territory with machines and equipment that at first glance, may seem foreign to you. Perhaps you are intimidated by what other people will think of you, your appearance, abilities and lack of knowledge on how to use the equipment correctly. Or, maybe you are concerned about the gym being too crowded and busy.
Whatever the current trigger is, below are 7 tips that will help you feel more confident in the gym.
1. Choose your gym
Spend time exploring a space before committing to a membership. Get a feel for the location, opening times, range of equipment, staff and all the available facilities. Familiarity creates comfortability and a strong sense of safety which is a great first step on your journey towards being more confident at the gym.
2. Make use of the gym induction process
Almost all commercial gyms have fitness instructor staff that upon signing up, will take you around the gym and show you each piece of equipment and training section. This is extremely helpful, giving you a chance to ask questions and map out the parts of the gym that you would feel most confident in.
3. Hire a personal trainer or follow a professional program
Confidence comes from action and action comes from knowing what to do. If your budget permits, hiring a personal trainer is a great way to boost your confidence in the gym. A good personal trainer will tailor a program suited to your goals and needs, teach you correct training and breathing techniques, actively work on building your confidence and become a support system for you on your fitness journey. In the instance that you cannot afford a physical personal trainer, there are online trainers as well as professional workout programs and apps that are low-cost and easy to follow.
4. Try training during off-peak hours
Training during off-peak hours gives you the opportunity to exercise at your own pace and zone in with minimal distractions. Using equipment without having to wait around or feel rushed gives you the opportunity to really connect with what you are doing.
The gym should always feel like a safe space for you, which means finding a good balance between location, time, environment and accessibility.
5. Set goals and don’t compare
Everyone in the gym has their own journey, goals and focus. They are not there to compete with you or make you feel inferior. Have a set goal in mind and focus on taking small steps towards getting there.
Having a goal will keep you focused, moving and motivated.
If you need help writing your goals check out our article on ‘How to start your fitness journey’.
6. Pick your favorite gym outfit
Wear something comfortable that you can move in and makes you feel great. Much of our confidence is baked into how we see ourselves, and what we wear plays a huge role.
Whether your choice is something fitted or loose, if it makes you feel good and look good, then wear it! This will make going to the gym feel like an event that you should make an effort for and in turn, add to your motivation.
7. Find a workout partner
We are naturally social beings and being around like-minded people with similar goals is uplifting and very motivating. Finding someone to train with will help you feel comfortable in the gym, is great for accountability and will ensure that you find a routine.
Studies have also found that there is a positive correlation between social support and physical activity (1).
How to find a workout partner?
• Ask family, friends or colleagues
• Join a fitness class
• Try a bootcamp
• Use the gym noticeboard
A few words…
The gym is a great space to help further you on your fitness journey, and while accessibility is dependent on the facility and equipment available, it should always feel like a safe space for you. The tips shared above are helpful to all, but the most important thing to remember is that this is your journey. Prioritize what will make you feel safe, confident and comfortable. If this means trialing several gyms until you find the right one, then so be it. Take your fitness journey in the gym one step at a time and tailor the experience to your needs.
Until the next post.
Mike and Viv aka MrandMrsMuscle
1. Treiber FA, Baranowski T, Braden DS, Strong WB, Levy M, Knox W. Social support for exercise: relationship to physical activity in young adults. Prev Med. 1991 Nov;20(6):737-50. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(91)90068-f. Erratum in: Prev Med 1992 May;21(3):392. PMID: 1766945.