If you’re new to the gym, you may feel self-conscious about everything from your form to your clothes. If you’re new to strength training, you’re especially likely to experience some jitters. But you shouldn’t let nervousness stop you from achieving your fitness goals. Here, Gabriel Patterson, Toronto-based fitness trainer and nutrition expert, shares five ways to cope with anxiety in the gym:
1. Remember That You’re Not Alone
It’s natural to feel self-conscious when you’re venturing outside your comfort zone, but you’re not the only one doing it. Unless you work out at Venice Muscle Beach, you’re unlikely to be surrounded by professional bodybuilders. Most gym-goers have modest goals, and many of them are as inexperienced as you are. So next time you’re worried others are judging you for being a novice, remember that most of them probably are too.
2. Know That You’re Not the Focus
In the gym, as in life, people are usually more preoccupied with themselves than with others. So while you may feel like all eyes are on you the first time you deadlift, they probably aren’t.
3. Anticipate Making Mistakes
When learning a new skill, you will make mistakes. You may find yourself struggling to adjust the height of the bar in the squat rack, or you might forget to use barbell clips during your bench press, and that’s okay. Any momentary embarrassment you feel will pass, especially when you remember points one and two. Recognizing that no one else is paying much attention will help you put things into perspective.
4. Face Your Fears
Maybe you’ve decided to take up gym-going to build a better physique, but you probably also want to develop self-confidence and challenge yourself along the way. If that’s the case, approach overcoming your fear in the gym as part of the journey. Once you acknowledge your anxiety but get your workout in anyways, you’ll start to overcome it. Doing this will make you a stronger person, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
5. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
If you’re feeling hesitant about donning leggings or hip-thrusting among strangers, remember: the thrill of achieving your fitness goals will be worth it. It will be worth the sweat, muscle aches, and yes, even the potential embarrassment.
Next time you’re feeling hesitant about going to the gym, remember Gabriel Patterson’s five tips. If you do, chances are, your worries will leave you the minute you hit the weight room. Don’t let your anxiety prevent you from becoming a better version of yourself.
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