Conquer 'gym-timidation' and make the most out of your time at the gym with these top tips
15 August 2023| Last updated on 16 August 2023
If gym anxiety is limiting your fitness progress, here's how you can overcome it.
Going to the gym can be an intimidating experience for first-timers. You'll be exposed to a new social environment where you may feel that your body and behaviour will be judged by others, which is a frightening feeling for a lot of people.
Shyness, anxiety, and self-doubt are some of the most common obstacles when starting out on your gym journey.
We compiled some top tips to help you conquer gym anxiety so you can kickstart your goals or get back on track.
1. Bring a friend with you.
Bringing a friend along with you is one of the best ways to reduce your gym anxiety. Having a gym buddy means having someone you can confide to, join you on workouts, or even spot you during training.
Some gyms in the UAE allow you to bring a guest for the day for free, so you can introduce your friend to the gym and convince him/her to sign up as well. We recommend checking with the gym staff first to find out what options are available.
2. Join a group class.
If you feel more motivated with an instructor or you're unsure on how to start your fitness journey, joining a group class at your gym can help!
Group sessions are typically dedicated to a particular sport or workout, such as boxing classes, cycling, pilates, zumba, swimming, and yoga.
3. Have a workout plan prepared.
Having an exercise plan ready will provide structure to your gym session, help you focus on your goals, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment after you've completed it.
Prep your session beforehand, research up exercise plans that work with your body type and fitness goals, and don't be afraid to ask gym staff for help if you don't know how to use gym equipment.
Write your workout plan on paper, keep it in an app, or store it as a photo, video, or note in your phone.
4. Speak to a gym instructor or hire a personal trainer.
Sometimes, solo research through blogs, videos, and photos can only take you so far. Seeking help from a gym instructor (if they're not too busy) or temporarily hiring a personal trainer can help you figure out your body positioning, choice of weights, best form, professional opinions on the best reps and sets, etc.
Gym instructors are usually behind the counter or are wandering the gym, and are happy to provide help.
The more information and experience you have about something, the more confident in the topic you'll become.
5. Focus on yourself and try to avoid comparison.
Positive self-talk is the first step towards gaining the courage to walk the gym floor and pick up that workout equipment.
Try to reframe any negative thoughts that might be affecting your self-confidence and improvement will show overtime.
Why do we feel intimated or shy when going to the gym?
Feeling intimidated by the gym? Can't take that first step? Shy about working out by yourself? Don't worry, feeling anxious is normal. Below are some very common reasons why first timers might get shy.
- You don't know how to use the gym machines or can't figure out how to adjust it to your needs. This can lead to feelings of embarrassment.
- It's your first time at going to a gym and the unfamiliar environment combined with the lack of knowledge/experience might lead to anxiety.
- Comparing yourself to others in the gym. Some people may feel insecure and intimidated by other gym goers who look more fit and confident.
- When in the locker rooms, you might feel embarrassed while changing around other people.
- Some women may feel anxious working out in male-dominated gym floors. We recommend trying a women's gym, attend a mixed-gender group fitness class, or find a gym buddy to exercise with.