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Is Gym Anxiety Stopping You from Working Out?

Admin 28-10-2020

A lot of people avoid going to gyms for a variety of reasons, “I don’t have the time.”, “I work till late.”, “Gym just isn’t for me.” While these could be valid reasons for not being able to go to a gym, for most people, the real reason behind it is Gym Anxiety.

Yes, gym anxiety is a thing and a very common thing at that. A gym can be a very daunting place, especially for those who are going there for the first time. Where most people can get over the initial intimidation, many become anxious about the whole experience, and it is completely okay. All you need to do is find out a way to overcome that anxiety.

Several things can trigger gym anxiety, being able to identify those triggers is the first step towards overcoming it. Once we know what causes us anxiety, it becomes easier to work around it to become more relaxed in our surroundings at a gym.

What may cause gym anxiety?

Gym anxiety is a result of having the fear of facing any potentially embarrassing situation at a gym. It often leads to a person avoiding the gym or any place to exercise.

Anxiety triggers may differ from person to person. However, certain things potentially raise a person’s anxiety levels. We have listed some of them below.

·       Feeling overwhelmed by the regular crowd.

·       Trying new equipment but not knowing how to.

·       Thinking that others are staring or laughing at you.

·       Worrying about sweating or getting easily out of breath, etc.

·       Thinking that you don’t belong there.

These are some of the major reasons why you may get anxious at a gym. People may have other triggers as well. However, it is not impossible to overcome gym anxiety.

If you have put your mind to it then let us help you to find ways that can help you relax at the gym and workout more confidently.

How to overcome gym anxiety?

Feeling uneasy at the gym can affect your workout and your fitness. Your mind is constantly thinking about all sorts of negative possible outcomes of any activity you do at a gym. Because of that, you may lose focus on what you came there to do.

That being said, there are certain ways you can control and manage your gym anxiety for a better workout experience at a gym or fitness center. Here’s what you can do:

Chart out your plan of action

When you are new to something, most of your fear is about the unknown. You don’t know what you are going to face there or what you might need to do there. Researching about your gym, its equipment, and the accessories needed, can give you an idea of what the gym might be like.

Knowing what lies ahead can ease off some of your nervousness and help reduce your fears. You can then go there with at least some knowledge to get you through your first day while you collect more information from the gym for the next day.

Meet your instructor

One of the main reasons why most people suffer from gym anxiety is that they do not know how to use the equipment. Thoughts like “are they judging me”, “Are they laughing at me”, “Am I doing this right”, “I’m not making a fool of myself, am I?” constantly go around in people’s minds when they try to use new equipment or not know what to do.

In situations like this, it is better to hire a personal trainer who can show you how to work out with any equipment. Or you can join a fitness center where an instructor always shows you how to do a particular exercise.

At the fitness center, most of the crowd is new and inexperienced so that setting can also alleviate your anxiety.

Ask your friend to come along

This friend can be familiar with the gym equipment or someone who is not. In any case, you will have someone you know around you. If your friend is a regular at a gym, he/she can help you understand how to use the gym equipment.

If they are as new to the gym as you are, then you will get a companion you trust at the new place. That way you can focus on your workout along with your friend.

Find a suitable time for your workout

The serious crowd often frequents a gym during peak hours. If you don’t feel easy around them, then it is better to avoid that time of the day. Instead, you can schedule your time when the gym is less crowded.

This will give you time to get used to the environment without having a lot of people around you.

On the contrary, if you really want to face the factors that induce anxiety so that you get used to it, you might want to choose the peak hours for your workout. It is a known fact that when you avoid situations that make you anxious, then those situations become scarier as time passes.

The best way to overcome any anxiety-inducing situation is to keep facing it one after another until you get so used to it that you forget what about it made you anxious.

Distract yourself

When you go to a gym for exercise, one way to stop any negative thought that induces anxiety is to distract yourself. You can listen to music, podcasts, or an audiobook while working out.

This will help your mind focus on something when your body is exercising. When your focus is on something else, you will feel less anxious about the situation.

It will also help you to manage your thoughts and pull them in a more positive direction.

Find your crowd

If your body shape and fitness are what’s making you feel nervous about going to the gym then know that you are not alone to feel that way. Many people feel that since they do not fit in a particular body shape, they do not belong to a gym.

That is not even remotely the truth. So, what you can do is, find other people like you to work out with. When you have those similarities in your body shape and size, you will be more comfortable to do exercise with them.

Know what makes you move

Exercising is not only about treadmills or weights. There are different ways with which you can keep your body fit. You need to find out what suits you best.

Say if you love dancing, it is better to join a dance or Zumba class rather than a traditional gym. Or if you like the quiet pose and hold exercises rather than cardio, you can choose to go to a yoga studio.

In the end, if you like what you are doing then your focus will be shifted to the activity from those anxious thoughts.


Exercise is often used as an additional therapy for anxiety disorder along with the medication. However, if going to a gym makes you feel more anxious then, simple things like distraction, preparation, or having a friend may help you feel at ease.

Remember to have more confidence in yourself and focus on exercising. Challenge your negative thoughts and push them in a positive direction. These small changes will help you in a long run.

Do you find it difficult to go to a gym? What do you do to overcome your anxiety? Tell us in the comments below.

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