If you’ve never stepped foot in a gym or it’s been several years since you’ve exercised consistently, it can be an intimidating experience to start going regularly. However, the first step in your fitness journey is simply showing up. Continue reading to learn some helpful tips to help you overcome your gym anxiety and improve your overall health.
Plan Your Workout
If you feel anxious about going to the gym because you don’t know what types of exercises you should do or how to use the equipment, you’re not alone. To ease your stress, it’s a good idea to tour the space with an employee who can explain how everything works.
Once you have a lay of the land, you can write down each step of your routine before you start exercising. When you have a clearly defined plan, you can confidently focus on your fitness goals. If you approach a weight machine and realize you don’t know how to use it, don’t be afraid to ask a gym employee or a fellow patron for guidance.
Work With a Trainer
If you’re just beginning your fitness regimen, working with a personal trainer can be invaluable. Although it’s an extra cost, a trainer can assess your current abilities and specifically tailor a routine to your skill level and goals. A trainer can also recommend the best weight training exercises for beginners to ensure you have proper form and don’t injure yourself.
A trainer will ease some of your fears and help you build confidence in the gym. Once you feel ready to tackle a workout on your own, you can put the tips and tricks from your trainer to good use.
Another tip to help you overcome your gym anxiety is to start small. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to feel completely comfortable as soon as you enter the building. That’s why gradual, repeated exposure to the gym is ideal.
It’s perfectly acceptable to work your way up to a complete gym routine. For instance, you could start with 10 minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill. The next day, increase your workout to 20 minutes. The day after that, shoot for 30 minutes and incorporate some weight training. Before you know it, you’ll be able to complete an entire exercise routine with ease.
Go With a Friend
Exercising with a friend can make the gym experience seem far less intimidating. When you know you have someone in your corner to rely on, you’re more likely to try new things. Plus, the two of you can hold each other accountable. If you know you’ve made plans to meet at the gym, it’s harder to back out at the last minute. There are so many reasons why we make excuses for not exercising, but knowing someone is counting on you can provide the motivation you need.
Not to mention, once you both start seeing progress, you’ll feel compelled to continue your fitness journey together. Working out with a friend is also a great way to try new exercises you may not have considered on your own. By swapping tips and tricks, you’ll both expand your knowledge base.
Gym anxiety is a real concern, but these helpful ideas can make the experience more approachable and rewarding. By conquering your situational fear, you’ll be able to achieve your fitness goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
Dianne Pajo is a Certified Personal Trainer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.