How to ELIMINATE GYM ANXIETY (especially for new gym goers!)
Aight so first, if you’re reading this, CONGRATULATIONS!!! You’re probably about to start an exercise program but you need a few tips before you do. If that’s not you, then stop being fake and go start a program! You know you want to ;) I’ll be waiting--let me know when you do!
So, for you new gym goers and exercise newbies, I got a few tips that are going to make your first few times in the gym much easier and stress free.
One of the biggest concerns that new gym goers have told me is that they feel anxious because they don’t know what they are doing in the gym. They feel like they’re in the way or doing an exercise wrong or they just feel out of place. I get it. Every single person in the gym has had that feeling. Everybody started as a beginner. Here’s how to avoid that anxiety.
1. First, do your research, seriously. Doing research on the gym is the same as anything else you’ve done. Take 30 minutes or so to scope it out. No pressure. Walk around each floor and room, checking out the machines, what they do, and where they are. Get the lay of the land and maybe talk to a few staff members as well, just so you know somebody. Most gyms let you walk around to get a feel before getting a membership. Take advantage and see what it’s like.
2. Second, decide what you want to get out of your workout. Looking to get a chest workout? Sounds good. Legs? Awesome. Full body? Let’s get it. No matter what you want to do in the gym, you have to choose something. Not knowing is often the root of anxiety in the gym. Know what you’re going to do every time you go into the gym so you aren’t unsure of yourself. You’re there for a purpose. Make sure you know it.
3. Alright, so now you know what kind of workout you want, time to figure out what you’re going to do. Research some exercises for whatever muscles you want to work. Choose about 3-5 that you like and look good to you. Now, watch a few videos on them. Look at the form and how to do the exercises. Write down a list to take with you to the gym so you know what to do when you get there.
4. Choose when you want to work out. Gym anxiety can also come from the presence of too many other people around. You sometimes feel like they are watching you. With this in mind, choose when you want to go to the gym. If you prefer less people, pick a low traffic time (you might have to figure this out yourself, but usually the gym is more crowded after work, so consider things like that when choosing when to go). Low traffic also has the advantage of less people using the machines, which means a higher likelihood that you won’t have to wait for what you need to use.
5. Last but not least...GO TO THE GYM!! Getting your foot in the gym is one of the hardest parts about getting and staying fit, especially when it's all new to you. There are plenty of times when I just wanted to stay in bed and not go to the gym. I run through every reason and excuse in my mind NOT to go, but I still know that I have to. As soon as you step into the gym, things get 10x better, I PROMISE!
So quick summary:
Scope out the gym and get familiar. Walk through the rooms and see what equipment they have without the pressure of feeling like you have to do something.
Choose what kind of workout (which muscle groups) you want to do.
Choose 3-5 exercises and research their form (a simple youtube video should be fine) so you know how to do them in the gym. Knowing what to do and how to do it eliminates most anxiety!
Choose when you want to go. Think about high traffic and low traffic times of the day and plan when you will go accordingly.
And here’s a few more bonus tips:
Bring music. Music can help you stay in your zone and not worry about anyone else.
Bring a friend. You might feel more comfortable with someone you know. BUT THIS IS NOT SOCIAL HOUR. If you bring a gym buddy, make sure you’re both serious and ready to workout.
A lot of the anxiety you have probably comes from lack of knowledge. When we know something, we’re confident in ourselves and doing things related to it. When we don’t know something, we’re anxious. So the more you learn about what you want before you go to the gym, the less anxious you will be! The more you go, the more confident you will be!
Aight now go put that work in.
Be Greater, fit fam.
- Khalil Jones