All of us have been helpless at some point in life. Most people have felt that simmering and boiling sense of humiliation that strikes fear in your soul — none more than at the gym.
The fears of stepping foot in a gym are common, especially for a new gym goer. Those fears of judgment and failure permeate at the beginning of starting a new healthy journey — and it’s typically the reason most stop going. But there’s hope. There are, nonetheless, ways to attack your fears of the gym, and we have penned an outline to keep you in the gym for good.
Acknowledge Your Fears
Combating the fear of the gym starts with knowing exactly why you are scared. The gym intimidation could be a multitude of reasons: you are self-conscious, you’re worried you’re going to get hurt or you won’t sustain the drive to continue. But at that moment you have to acknowledge those fears and fight them head-on. Stating to yourself — or your gym partner— that you have a fear of the gym is the first step to success.
“I hated it,” former Charmed Wellness blogger Meghan Ragni told Daily Burn of her first day her local Planet Fitness. “I felt like everyone was watching me and judging how well I was doing. Or they were looking at my body and what I was wearing.”
According to her spotlight in Daily Burn, Ragni didn’t know how to operate the machines and didn’t want to ask for help. That’s when she created a game plan for herself to make her feel more comfortable. She had a cheat sheet in place to guide her to proper form with the weights and was paying attention to the workout videos on YouTube to gain knowledge. Even so, Ragni remained hesitant.
“When I got there, I almost froze,” Ragni explained to Daily Burn. “I had to tell myself, ‘Even though you’re afraid, you have to keep going.’”
Now Ragni, the Daily Burn stated, eventually trained herself to put in hours of resistance training in the weights room and regularly does cardio. She faced her fears by knowing specifically what caused her gym’s anxiety disorder. She had to start somewhere and keep pushing forward toward her fitness goals.
“I’ve actually begun to enjoy my workouts,” Ragni told the Daily Burn, “and I get through them without crying or having to run out of the gym.”
Set A Fitness Strategy
The first step to getting past your gym anxiety disorder is setting a game plan and strategy. You need to be goal-oriented. That begins when you find a fitness plan that fits your abilities and health goals at the same time.
For those first-timers, this is the most important tactic. You could be overwhelmed and intimidated from the get-go. You simply need to start slowly and feel more comfortable with your surroundings. That means you shouldn’t jump into group fitness programs or try high-intensity interval training classes right away. Rather, this means you SHOULD begin with small steps like trying a stationary bike and then gradually progressing to the elliptical and then finally upgrading to the treadmill. Your body will get acquainted with the environment and it will build up considerably over time.
The comfortability level will grow eventually. Before you know it you will be working out in the weights room with ease. Again, setting a distinct strategy will make your transition in the gym smoother and help subside those phobias. It’s also important to let your body get used to the exercises — if not, the injury risks will abound.
Know All the Facts
Creating positive and achievable fitness goals begin with knowledge. This part your health journey begins way before you step in the gym. You should first start somewhere legitimate such as seeking medical advice from nutritionists or professional personal trainers. You should also do plenty of research to what types of exercises and regimens will make you feel comfortable in the gym setting.
Most importantly, the medical advice you will receive from those nutritionists will allow you to establish your weight loss goals. Once you understand the type of weight loss results you want to attain, then you should research the gym the properly fulfills your needs and comfortability level. Depending on the gym program you have chosen, many gyms offer unbridled access to personal trainers that will help guide you to your personal goals.
Find Your Comfort Zone
No matter how scared you are to step into a gym you must first recognize your comfort zone. A big step to striking down your phobias is picking out what setting fits best. Many first-time gym goers are typically worried that the people at the gym are looking at them. In truth, no one is looking at you. Those people at the gym are focused on themselves.
A number of ways to find a setting that will make you will feel more comfortable are engaging in fitness classes. Mostly everyone in these classes is first-timers. They are all struggling with themselves. That translates to not feeling alone. Also when you are in these fitness classes the trainer will be paying attention to your needs and help correct your forms. The trainer will also motivate you to go further in the workouts. If you are still feeling shy in the class, then take a spot in the back. That will give you some extra comfort.
One group fitness manager at Equinox in Los Angeles, Justin Rubin, told the Daily Burn that with fitness classes “there’s safety in numbers, and you quickly realize everyone is different ages and body sizes and is struggling together.”
Another way to feel good at the gym is dressing comfortably. You shouldn’t wait until you see results to purchase proper gym clothes. The only real tip you need to know is that you shouldn’t buy clothes that are too baggy or too tight. Something right in the middle will do just fine.
Go to the Gym in Off Hours
Peak hours at a gym is the most daunting and challenging hurdle you will face for those with gym fears. So don’t go to the gym in peak hours, plain and simple. Even for experienced gym members, the peak hours could be crowded, annoying and overwhelming. For those suffering from gym phobias, the off hours in the gym the perfect time. You could work out at your own pace and feel good about your cardio sessions — not to mention ample access to the cardio machine. Even more, you don’t have to worry about all those eyes from bulky body-builders staring at you.
Nowadays most gyms offer 24-hour access to their facilities. Being a newbie you should ask personal trainers or managers at the gym when are the down hours. Typically, the facilities peak hours range from 6 pm to 9 pm and then 5 am to 8 am — before and after work. On the weekends, the early morning into the early afternoon the gym will be packed. That should be a good starting point to properly schedule your time at the gym.
No matter how fearful you are failing you mustn’t give up on yourself. When times are overwhelming, you just need to take a step back and remind yourself that even the healthiest health nut once started at this low point and succeeded.