Do you avoid the gym because you feel like you’re making a fool of yourself when you exercise? Do you feel like people are judging your form or body? Are you not going to the gym period simply because people are there? I can tell you now that this is normal. Especially if you’re a beginner and not used to working out, or if you’re that person that simply isn’t comfortable around others.
So how do you overcome Gymtimidation in order to accomplish your fitness goals?
What’s most important to understand is that caring what people think of you will not get you far. In fact, caring too much about what others may think can stop you from doing what you believe in. Below are a few helpful tips to get your mind right before you open the gym doors.
First tip: Remember your why.
Why are you going to the gym in the first place? Everyone has a reason to exercise. Yours may be to lose weight and you’re feeling as though you gained too many pounds over the past year. Or, your job may require you to sit for long hours and you want to expand your life with more mobility. Maybe you look at yourself in the mirror and feel “too skinny” and want to lift weights to gain muscle mass. You have to remember your WHY to give yourself a reason to TAKE ACTION. If you don’t take action you can’t fulfill your why. Before I go to the gym, I think about what muscle group I have planned to train that day. For example, glutes. As I’m getting dressed there are all kinds of thoughts running through my mind like, “I hope the gym isn’t crowed”, “should I just skip today”, “people are going to stare at my butt”. Then I think to myself, why am I training my glutes? Well because I want to feel confident in my jeans and love what I see when I turn my head to my backside. That’s the honest truth and I know I won’t feel any good if I don’t keep glutes in rotation. Then, I take action.
Second tip: Look at people, well… like people.
Sometimes we look at people and automatically wonder what they think of us. What you assume people think of you may really reflect what you might already think about yourself. You’re not a mind reader, right? So, assuming someone’s negative thought creates an entire bad energy and makes you feel judged. Don’t assume someone is thinking of you, like at all. I know it’s easier said than done but, try to look at people like they are just there and aren’t worried about you at all. About 95% of the people at the gym are utilizing headphones and are probably jamming to their favorite tunes in their head. People are there but you are too. And you all showed up to exercise. Speaking of tunes, that brings me to my third tip.
Third Tip: Block out the world with music.
It’s been said that music can enhance physical performance and increase serotonin levels, “the feel-good hormone”. Music can drown out distractions. This has always helped me focus on what’s in front of me and not around me. And its me, I’m what’s in front of me. I’m busting out bicep curls in the mirror, checking my form and Travis Scott is making me feel really cool. Set up a playlist with lyrics that encourage you to Just Do It, like Nike. I have a bad habit of turning up my music super loud in case someone tries to talk to me, I won’t be able to hear them. Maybe its rude, and yes, I do it on purpose but it keeps me focused. When I come to the gym, I show up to get the job done. I feel like I’m in a music video with myself. I squat to the beat and when my favorite part of the song plays, it makes me go harder. When I go hard that means I’m in zone and no one around me matters anymore.
Fourth Tip: Go in with a plan.
The last thing you want to do is show up like a freshman in high school. Figure out what muscle group(s) you are training and create a workout before you get there. This way, you know exactly what exercises to complete. 5 exercises are usually ideal and the reps/sets are contingent upon your fitness goals. You can create a workout using your notes on your phone or bring a notebook to the gym with the workout written down. If you don’t know how to create a workout and have no idea how to properly do certain exercises, check out my Total Body 9 Week Fitness Program.
I hope these simple tips can help you with any fear you may have with the gym environment. Keep in mind that its all about you. Its all a mindset. That anxiety, fear or self judgement is in your head. Once you recognize what you’re feeling, you can then choose what to do with that feeling. Exercise can improve your health and you will not tackle any of your fitness goals driving pass the gym 7 days out the week. Everyone at that gym ultimately is there for the same reason as you.
This is a really cool blog too. Never noticed it before. Seem like you probably hit on the average person’s idiosyncrasies and angst at gyms. Its very relative, I remember those feelings playing basketball at new gyms. It’s reminiscent of stage fright and in its familiar fashion subsides when you focus on the “why” and execute the “plan”. Great advice, the personal reflections makes its that much more palatable. Kudos Neen!