Stop Avoiding the Gym for Fear of Being Judged
It’s not uncommon for a little anxiety to creep into your gym time. Am I doing this right? Are people staring at my sweat stains? If you’ve ever felt intimidated walking into a weight room, you’re certainly not alone. According to a new survey, gymtimidation does more than just cause a little anxiety—it’s keeping a shocking number of people at home.
Fear of judgment is a false manifestation, most of the time there is nothing to fear about. I can tell you this: the only one who really cares is you, everyone else is so focused on themselves they couldn’t care less or they’re thinking the exact same thing themselves.
Here are some strategies to help you score some major confidence gains. Here’s how to increase your confidence at the gym and crush a fear of being judged.
Plan your workout.
You want to have a plan. Before heading to the gym, read-up on a workout routine that will take the guesswork out of your sweat session or download an app that will take you through a circuit in real time.
Practice at home.
Fifty-one percent of women reported fear of improperly doing an exercise—even with a plan, nailing a single leg deadlift can feel nerve-wracking. Borden suggests perfecting your form at home to help you feel more confident. “I always stress form first, then layer in intensity, weight load, etc.” Look for apps and downloads that break down the fundamentals.
Know your equipment.
Even if you’re an avid gym-goer, not all gym equipment is the same. You might confidently stroll up to a machine only to realise you have no idea how that model works.
There’s an obvious solution to this. If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment, grab a trainer and ask. They’re eager to show you proper form—that’s one reason they are there.
But if the thought of asking a trainer a newbie question freaks you out, you can also up your gym confidence by planning ahead. There are good YouTube instructions online with very straightforward clips on how to use equipment,
Find one piece of equipment you know you’re comfortable with, and make that your home base, Borden suggests. The idea is to not wander around the entire gym, but choose a workout and stick to a plan.
Be a follower.
Classes can be a blast and are a great way to get into your workout groove. But the thought of stepping into a new class where the instructor might call you out or you might not know how to use that studio’s spin bike might keep you from signing up. It’s okay to choose a spot in the back until you feel more comfortable. That way you can easily follow the more seasoned cardio queens and not feel like all eyes are on you.
There are some reasons for gym anxiety that are out of your control: 5 percent of women reported being sexually harassed at the gym. There is no excuse for sexual harassment and you should report anyone to management immediately if you feel harassed or threatened in any way.
Remember your goals.
Remember what makes you want to go to the gym in the first place: To make your body stronger, score a little mental health boost, prioritise taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself also means eliminating the self-sabotaging jury in your head, or at least starting to ignore it. Even if you don’t believe it yet, act as if you feel the confidence. If you arrive at a gym prepared, with a workout in hand, you won’t have time for anything else other than a good sweat.