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How to Conquer Gym Anxiety

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This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

According to the New York Post, a study of 2,000 Americans found that 50 percent of people feel nervous about working out around others. This is deeply concerning, as working out is essential to the physical and mental health for most people. Not to mention, gyms are critical if you want to practice resistance training. So, how can people get over this gym anxiety, or “gymtimidation”?

Tips For Conquering Gym Anxiety

Because gym anxiety is so common, there are many proven methods to help diminish it. The good news is, it seems gym anxiety goes away after being consistent with your workouts. As you learn more about working out, learn the layout of your gym, and start to recognize people, you will likely feel less anxiety about going. But, in the meantime, below are some tips for conquering anxiety at the gym.

  1. Have a Plan

Practicing time management in the gym can help ease gym anxiety greatly. Map out which muscle groups or cardio workouts you would like to do that day. From there, write down the exercises you will do and how many reps and sets you will do. Completely mapping out your exercises will help you focus on what you’re doing, so you don’t feel like you look lost in the gym.

In addition to planning your workouts, research the equipment you will use. Understand what equipment you need to look for and how to use the different machines. This can alleviate the anxiety of looking like a beginner. If you don’t know how to use a machine, a gym employee should be able to help you as well. It’s unlikely you’re the first person to be confused about that particular machine.

  1. Understand Why Others Are There

Working out in public can feel like all eyes are on you. But, when you look around at the gym, you will start to realize this isn’t the case. Of course, you may make quick eye contact with a few people, but typically, other people are focused on themselves. Working out takes a considerable amount of focus as you have to use the correct form. Not to mention, an effective workout will require full attention and energy to get through it. So, other people should not be paying attention to what you’re doing.

When you understand why others are there, you will realize that your gym anxiety is irrational. Once you realize your anxiety is irrational, it may help you to feel less anxious. So, the next time you’re in the gym, consider their reason for being there. It’s not to judge you – it’s to work on themselves and their health.

  1. Find a Gym You Feel Comfortable At

Although gym anxiety is usually irrational and without cause, gyms don’t always have healthy environments. If you ever feel judged or unwelcome due to a particular instance, consider going to another gym or at a different time. Gyms are supposed to be positive environments where everyone is focused on themselves. Furthermore, most gyms will cancel the membership of someone who purposefully makes others uncomfortable when reported. So, if the members of one gym are not influencing an environment positively, and the staff does nothing to help, cancel your membership.

Feeling Comfortable at the Gym

Perhaps one of the best things to remember is that 50% of people experience the same anxiety you’re feeling. Knowing that you are not the first, and you won’t be the last person to experience gym anxiety may be comforting. The next time you go to the gym, just focus on yourself and not what others are thinking. Exercise is your time to improve yourself, so don’t let fear stop you.

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.