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Gym Anxiety and How To Tackle It

by Kayla Mulligan

As we enter the second month of the new year, many will be reflecting on the resolutions they haven’t dared to tackle yet.

For many, it may be the infamous “going to the gym” resolution. While the gym can be a stress reducer, it can feel like a dark abyss of judgmental looks and unwelcoming confusion, especially for those beginning their fitness journey.

It’s not always a lack of motivation that causes people to delay their resolution. They might be suffering from gym anxiety.

It may feel like you’re alone when it comes to facing your daunting gym anxiety, but you’re not. Here are five simple ways you can put your nerves to rest and get yourself towards your goals:

Dress for Your Own Comfort and Confidence

When you start on your gym journey, you may not feel the most comfortable in your skin, and that’s okay. It’s easy to feel intimidated seeing other people in flawless workout sets or cut-off tank tops.

Instead of feeling the pressure to wear something stylish or trendy, allow yourself to wear a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants. You’ll have a better experience when you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes.

Bonus tip: wearing a hat can provide a barrier and help you feel like you have a space of your own.

Listen to Music or Podcasts

Listening to my favorite podcasts always helps me get in a good headspace at the gym. It can be very therapeutic listening to things that interest you while working out, and it actually distracts from any anxious thoughts or feelings you may have.

As for music, listen to what gets you in a good mood. Whether that’s AC/DC or One Direction, there’s no shame! After all, the gym doesn’t have to be a serious zone; you should enjoy yourself while prioritizing your health.

Don’t Be Afraid to Research What You Don’t Know

Working towards your fitness goals can be fun. Do you know what’s not fun? Injuring yourself because you’re too embarrassed to ask questions or look it up.

Almost every time I’m at the gym, you can see me on my phone looking up exercises or how to help my form.

The embarrassment you might feel from looking up how to do certain things will last only for a few seconds. However, hurting yourself doing a workout you’re unsure of can last for much longer.

Be Consistent and Be Patient

You can walk into the gym with a full workout plan on your phone, and the moment you get in there, all your motivation just disappears.

On those days when you are lacking the motivation or aren’t comfortable being in a certain part of the gym, do whatever you possibly can. Walking for 10 minutes may feel like you did nothing at the gym, but you did 100% more than what you would have done if you just stayed home.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing results as fast as you want. A little bit of work every day is the key to attaining your goals.

Focus on You

When we feel anxious and uncomfortable, it’s easy to have low self-esteem. The key to tackling gym anxiety is understanding that you deserve to be there just as much as anyone else does.

Whether it’s your first day or your 100th day, it’s your gym too. It’s okay to have bad gym days. What matters is you pushed yourself, and you’re taking the steps toward bettering yourself.

Overall, it’s important to remember that nobody is watching you. It’s easy to feel like everyone saw you make a mistake or is judging you, but in reality, everyone is worried about themselves.

With that being said, focus on yourself and your fitness goals to make the new year yours.

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