Fitness

Tips for Overcoming Gym Anxiety and Working Out in Public

14. Keep realistic gym expectations. When you want to begin a fitness regime, it is crucial to keep in mind what you can do. You do… Trista - August 12, 2021
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14. Keep realistic gym expectations.

When you want to begin a fitness regime, it is crucial to keep in mind what you can do. You do not want to defeat yourself before you even get started. Keep realistic expectations, especially if you had been away from exercise for a lengthy amount of time or if you had been living a mostly sedentary lifestyle. If you enter with high expectations and try to accomplish those goals, you may disappoint yourself and add to your anxiety. 

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Understand that even the first step is a brave commitment. Slow and steady can make the race. Be kind to yourself if you need to walk before you can run, and you may need to catch your breath now and again. If you can pull through and build your skills over time, you will be more likely to meet your initial goals. You will surpass them no problem. Learn more ways to cope with your gym anxiety by reading the rest of the ideas on this list.

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13. Select a different focus.

According to Precor, there are many ways to get over gym fear. Gym anxiety is often rooted in feelings of overwhelmed and not good enough. If you start to feel negative feelings, you may need to switch your focus and think of other ideas to pull you through. Some of the best goals are not centered on specific fitness results. You may not need to focus on what the number says on the scale. Instead, put the perspective on that good feeling that comes afterward.

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Some examples include picturing yourself having more energy or thinking how each set gets you that much closer to your fitness goals. Long-term thinking can help you go the distance and push out the current anxieties that you are feeling. You are investing in yourself, and you are worth spending more time on what you want. In the end, you will be so glad that you did. Want to know more? Keep reading to find out how to stomp out those butterflies before your next gym visit.

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12. Do not compare yourself with others at the gym.

Are these ideas help you get over gym anxiety? There is more to come! It is human nature to compare you to others because social comparisons are a part of life. These comparisons assist you in deciding how you are concerning everyone else. But most of the time, the experience is often a negative one. You will be left with weighing whether or not you measure up. No one wants to feel that uncomfortable when they are trying to better themselves.

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Research has shown that comparing yourself to others only breeds more feelings of contempt and anxiety. If you feel the need to compare yourself, commit to making an upward comparison. Compliment the person you see. If they seem like a more experienced gym member, take note of their routine or ask them questions. You can frame the experience as one you can learn and grow from. Keep reading for more ways to get over that dreaded peer pressure you feel at the gym.

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11. Avoid feelings of judgment.

Part of comparing yourself to others also comes with feelings with judgment. You may worry you are doing something wrong, and the other gym members are picking apart everything you are doing. These cognitive distortions are a form of mindreading, which means you convince yourself that you know what they are thinking. The truth is these thoughts do not often reflect reality. The negative thoughts could prevent you from acting out your gym goals. 

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To quash these bad thoughts, you can remind yourself that you can never truly know what people are thinking. You often jump to conclusions when you assume. The only way to undoubtedly know what they were thinking is if they walked up and told you that they judged what you do. And that is not likely to happen. Most people focus on themselves during their workouts. This mindful technique is a great way to reassure you that you are at the gym to work on yourself.

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10. Dress for the part that you want to play.

There have been many studies on the effects of “in-groups” and the psychology of belonging. Other research has proved that those on the edges of a group want to show off their group membership. It is important to them. Walking into a gym with no experience can bring on feelings of being an outsider. You may not feel like a member, which leads to feelings of gym anxiety. You can start the investment in yourself by literally investing in yourself. Wearing clothes made explicitly for fitness can be a great way to help your anxiety.

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Becoming a member of the gym and feeling like you belong are things that come synonymous over time. You are a member of the group the more often that you attend. Your anxiety subsides, and you feel more comfortable with your surroundings as they feel more familiar. It may even take less time than you think to immerse yourself in the gym lifestyle fully, and your membership will feel more natural. Check out these other ideas to help you through gym anxiety.

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9. Remind yourself that you are in control. 

When you find yourself in a situation that presents itself as intimidating or scary, you can remind yourself that you are in control of your destiny. Embracing things that are frightening you is part of doing it for yourself. You are choosing to take on this gym anxiety head-on. You get to own the results through your hard work, and you get to decide how you feel about them. Remember that you and you alone are accountable for the things you do, and that feeling can be powerful. It’s all up to you and you alone.

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You are worth more than you are getting yourself credit for. Putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your experiences makes you the sole leader of accomplishing your fitness goals. That is what you want to work toward, and it can go a long way in helping you achieve more self-accomplishment feelings. Gym anxiety is tough to work through, but you can identify ways to feel better about yourself. You are more likely to stick to your routine and accomplish your exercise goals. Mind over matter, and you are in control of what you want to do. 

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8. Celebrate your gym milestones as often as you can.

When it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle, it can be easy to adopt a tunnel vision approach where all that seems to matter is the result. But there could be many reasons to feel good about yourself and celebrate along the way. That is especially true if your goals include losing weight. Many non-scale victories may be achieved, and if your focus tends to be on the negative, you may be more likely to quit before you can meet those benchmarks. 

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Give yourself credit that change can be challenging, but each visit to the gym is one step closer to accomplishing what you set out to do. Set out a plan with your goal in sight, but also include shorter-term wins along the way. If you want to lose weight, celebrate when you drop a clothing size. If you’re going to build strength, congratulate yourself when you increase your reps. Applaud yourself when you better your best mile time. By constantly challenging yourself to improve, you are less likely to focus on the apprehension you may be experiencing going to the gym.

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7. Track a list of your progress with gym photos.

Scheduling some time to improve yourself lends itself to measuring the metrics. The benefits of adopting a healthier lifestyle include several milestones, not just a smaller number on the scale. Take the time to celebrate all of the victories that you experience. If you focus on the positive, you can force your fears and anxiety to the back of your mind. Some of the progress to celebrate includes dropping a size, being able to bench more weights, or improving your time running a mile.

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One great way to track your progress is to take a regular workout selfie. Over time, you will be able to see the improvements you are making with your body visually. You could also post your progress on social media under a hashtag you created. Not only does this save all of your photos in an easy-to-view format, but it may also provide the inspiration that someone else needs to make a necessary lifestyle change of his or her own.

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6. Accept that not everything has to be perfect, especially at the gym.

Having unrealistic ideations on perfection is one of the signs of anxiety. It may be one reason you are experiencing anxious feelings when you think about working out with other people around you. It is essential to understand that you do not have to be perfect. Understandably, you are not going to know everything right away. There will be a learning curve when you are introduced to new fitness machines.

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It can be hard to confront that you cannot do everything perfectly right away. Many people around you may be experiencing the same apprehensive feelings. Once you can accept where you are, you are more likely to let go of where you feel you need to be. Start your commitment to a fitness routine by telling yourself that it is a learning process. What you do not know how to do, you will learn. Keep your focus on the now, and you will be surprised how far it could take you.

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5. Use your imagination and have fun with it.

One way to quell your exercise anxiety is to think of the gym as an adult playground. This approach allows you to tap into your imagination, discover new ways to play, and present better learning opportunities, just like children during recess. The great thing about this mentality is that it could also help you look forward to the time spent working on your fitness and developing your new lifestyle. You could think of it as something you want to do, instead of a chore you have to do.

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The curious, playful, and adventurous mindset also comes with wonderment that adults often lose sight of. It is easy to focus on adult issues, and busy to-do lists day in and day out and not take the time needed every day to play. Let the gym be the opportunity you need to enjoy yourself. If it is something that you fancy, it is less likely you will dread making it a part of your daily routine. Check out more ideas to deal with gym anxiety by reading the rest of this list.

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4. Take the time to discover the proper gym routine for you.

Gyms can be intimidating, and the different equipment can present several opportunities to occupy your time. You may feel overwhelmed about what you should do first and then what to do after that. If the fear about making mistakes on the exercise equipment has paralyzed you into action, try to find the motivation to propel yourself forward. One way to better your fitness experience is to find out what routine would be the best for you.

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Several different workouts are built for several different results. Discover what will work for you by trying other things. Take a dance class and see what all the fuss about. Mix up your routine with weight training and cardio. The possibilities are endless. Give yourself permission to learn and try different things. You never know what you might like until you have given it a better shot. More ideas for dealing with gym anxiety are coming up. Keep reading to find out more.

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3. Label your gym anxiety.

If you can figure out what is causing you to feel anxious about attending your local gym, you can uncover the problem that needs a solution. You may have trouble naming what is precisely causing you stress. All you may be able to come up with is that you feel anxious. Labeling your level of gym anxiety is an essential step in overcoming the issue. It is also helpful in pinpointing how you think. The distress thermometer, also known as a Subjective Units of Distress Scale, helps build your emotional vocabulary and increase your self-awareness.

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Pick an emotion that you are feeling, beginning with the one you can easily identify. Give it a number one through 10, ranging in how well you can manage this emotion from little anxiety to a crisis. Describe how these emotions are impacting your body and what kind of thoughts you are having. Flush out the rest of your scale with other details, using similar scenarios to experience the same emotions. Your distress plan can help you figure out coping strategies that will help you overcome your gym anxiety.

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2. Know that avoidance often does not work in your favor.

Skipping out can be a tempting offer when you are not feeling the best. But once you miss one workout, it is easier to continue not going. Avoidance is trying to escape certain situations that are causing stress, but keeping away from it can only lead to additional stress. The negative impact not only restricts your life but also reinforces the fear. You may be relieved that you do not have to go to the gym. You can rationalize why, but you may come up with the same feeling the next time you think you want to start your exercise routine.

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How to deal with feeling like you want to avoid going to the gym starts with recognizing the problem and developing coping skills. You can learn several different techniques to help you manage those feelings. Some of those techniques include tracking your emotions, initiating deep breathing exercises, and using cognitive restructuring. You can learn more about these plans by reading self-help books or through your primary care physician’s advice.

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1. Understand that you are making a positive lifestyle change by going to the gym.

It is a universal fact that exercise is good for you. There are several health benefits for your body and mind. Like Rome, results were not built in a day, and research has shown that slowly earned progress has more lasting effects than those through fad diets. Agreeing to add exercise is also a time commitment, and there is no better time than the present to get ready for a new way to live. If you feel anxious about attending the gym, you can overcome those negative thoughts by believing in what you could achieve.

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Being healthy is a lifestyle change that you can make at any time. It is no tall order, and you would need to make it a priority, especially if you have long-term goals. Start small by devoting 20 minutes of your day to exercise and build from there. There is no better time than the present to take the first step toward a better and healthier lifestyle. No matter how you get there, you will be so glad you did. You may even forget why you ever thought you did not want to do it. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It didn’t work for me. But by understanding the root of what causes fear of the gym, you can turn exercise into an experience you relish instead of the one you dread.

 

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