As you step onto the rubber floor with your fresh shoes, you hear the clang of weights as they are carelessly bounding on the floor. You start to feel your stomach tighten and the room getting smaller with every breath. The plan you had has escaped you and only thought to go through your head is, "Everyone knows I don't know what I am doing."
Does stepping a foot into the free weights make you feel like you just jumped out of an airplane? Well, the truth is, you're not the only one that gets anxious trying new things or stepping out of your comfort zone. In this post, I will be explaining my experiences combatting my anxieties and overcoming barriers, as well as how I continue to grow when faced with fear in the gym... which I still struggle with!
***if you feel like everyone in the gym is watching you because you’re a New Years resolution gym-goer, this post will likely be helpful for you too!***
Have you ever come to the gym with a plan, and someone is using that one piece of equipment, and I’m not sure how to use this because I don’t want to look like an idiot, and
ugh where do I look... ok I’ll just look at my phone.
Before you know it, it's been an hour, and you've successfully accomplished increasing your heart rate with your self inflicted anxiety alone. Maybe you end up sitting on your phone instead of stay on the treadmill/wherever you feel safe, or perhaps I am alone in this struggle, but I do not think this is the case. The source gym anxiety, in my experience, is usually housed in doubt of our strength, whether it be physical or mental, as well as our knowledge.
You are strong. You came with a plan and know your stuff! So get at it beautiful.
For some people, they have never felt uncomfortable in the gym, and I envy entirely those that have no fear of trying something new in the weight room because I experience a lot of anxiety in new surroundings. If you are comfortable in the gym, please go out of your way to welcome those that may look lost!!! I have RBF too y'all, and I still do my best to help others in the middle of my workout. I recently heard a YouTuber talking about putting your RBF on and music that is your jam and get at it... if that works for you, absolutely, but putting up a facade or gym face isn't always the best way to go. Some of my great friends that I met at the gym or caught up with between sets I had met asking to borrow equipment or vice versa.
Mindset is the key to success and overcoming anxieties that may be stifling our potential in the gym.
Mindset is everything here, and could even apply to other areas of your life, not just at the gym! I feel like as a woman, we tend to stick out in the free weight section in particular with your stereotypical gym-goers, but the truth is, if you’re new you probably feel like you stick out no matter what.
It is easy to forget why we started when we are blindfolded by worry. Here are a few tips for overcoming fears when we step out of our comfort zone in the gym.
Nobody came to the gym to look at you today; everyone is there to work on themselves
Most people would be happy to help you out you just have to ask
Make a buddy
It is ALWAYS easier to laugh about it than to get embarrassed and tiptoe off the floor... it's ok, laugh it off and if anyone else is laughing, laugh with them. Smiling/joy and physical activity release endorphins = extra happy!
Have your jam on your playlist, and if you wanna add a head bob to the beat, you will not be the only one!
Dress for success! Do not show up in something that is not making you love your body on the outside, as this will likely foster more doubt that you don't need to take into the gym with you because you are beautiful inside and out!
When you are feeling anxiety, doubt, or self-conscious, tell yourself 3-5 positive affirmations or remind yourself why you started. I will share a few of mine that help me.
I have the strength to accomplish anything I set my mind to.
I set out for success, and I am going to do everything I can to leave here proud of my work.
I can and I will.
You might be feeling like giving up on things that you set out for in the gym this year, and I want to remind you everything you are capable of, but more importantly, remind yourself! I hope this post was helpful if you are like me and have been debilitated by anxiety in the gym for longer than imaginable. You are powerful, and don't forget to remind yourself every chance you get!
Keep pushing for your dreams because you can.