Conquering the Gym: How To Overcome Gym Anxiety

how to overcome gym anxiety

If you are avoiding gym it’s not because you are lazy. Gym anxiety is the real culprit and sometimes you might not even recognize because it can also be subtle. Gym anxiety or gym intimidation is one of the very common reasons why people fail to show up.

It’s also possible that your social anxiety gets triggered when in the gym. It’s also possible that the gender gym gap is what makes you anxious. In this blog post, we are covering every aspect of gym anxiety and how to overcome gym anxiety along with several gym anxiety tips.

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Gym Anxiety: What is it and How Does it Affect People?

feeling anxious in the gym

Going to the gym can feel very daunting experience for many people. Gym anxiety is a feeling of discomfort or nervousness when in a fitness environment. It’s common for beginners or those who are self-conscious about their bodies, but even experienced gym-goers sometimes feel overwhelmed or anxious because they can be going to a new gym.

Gym anxiety can manifest in different ways, such as feeling intimidated by other gym-goers, worrying about how you look or perform, feeling lost and unsure of what to do, etc. It can even lead to avoiding the gym altogether due to fear of judgment or failure.

If left unaddressed, this anxiety can hold you back from achieving your fitness goals and affect your overall well-being.

Overcoming Gym Anxiety: Mindset and Strategies

The good news is that research shows overcoming gym anxiety is possible. Regular exercise improves physical and mental health.

You can easily overcome gym anxiety with the right mindset and strategies. By taking control of thoughts and actions, you can improve your confidence and feel more comfortable in the gym.

Meditation can also be an incredible help when it comes to making these mindset shifts and general anxiety or social anxiety disorder. This guided meditation can be a perfect choice to practice before going to the gym.

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Firstly, it’s important to recognize that everyone experiences some other form of anxiety at some point in life – especially when trying something new. You’re not alone in feeling this way!

Instead of letting negative thoughts take over, reframe them into positive ones that focus on your goals and progress. Secondly, practice self-compassion.

Be kind to yourself when you make any mistakes or have setbacks – they’re a natural part of learning and growing. Don’t compare yourself to others; focus on your own journey and celebrate small wins along the way.

Thirdly, set realistic goals for yourself based on your fitness level and interests. Start with small steps that are achievable so you don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

This can be simple like going to the gym once a week first before increasing frequency. Fourthly, create a workout plan that suits your needs, time frame and preferences.

You’ll feel more confident and motivated to start working out if you have a game plan and structure to follow. This could be a mix of cardio, strength training, or classes that align with your fitness goal.

Dress in outfits that make you feel comfortable and confident. It’s not about what others think about you. It’s about how you feel in your skin.

When you are looking and feeling good, it can help increase your confidence and overcome gym anxiety. In the next section, we’ll dive deeper into identifying the sources of your gym anxiety so you can address them head-on.

Related: Top 10 Tips to Reduce Morning Anxiety And Find Peace

To sum up the gym anxiety strategy and mindset:

  • Meditate before hitting the gym.
  • Acknowledge that you are feeling anxious and everyone feel uncomfortable or anxious at some point.
  • Wear comfortable gym outfits that can help increase your confidence.
  • Set realistic goals and forgive yourself when you make mistakes or slack.
  • Practice showing up for yourself even if it’s once a week at first.

Related: Top 6 Reasons Meditation Before Workout Is Wondrous

Identifying the source of your anxiety

Understanding the source of anxiety disorders is equally important as it is important to treat and get rid of anxious feelings. There are two ways to do this, acknowledgment and understanding the common sources. Let’s try to understand it on a deeper level and how you can implement these two things.

Related: Journey Without Jitters: Expert-Level Tips for Easing Travel Anxiety

Acknowledge the specific things that make you anxious about going to the gym

exploring gym before joining

Gym anxiety is a common issue among who are new to gym or working out or people who haven’t been to gym in a long while. It’s important to identify what exactly is causing anxiety so that you can begin to address it. Maybe it’s the thought of walking into a crowded space full of fit people, or maybe it’s the fear of not knowing how to use equipment properly.

Whatever it is, acknowledging these specific things is an important first step in overcoming gym anxiety. Perhaps you’re worried about being judged by others at the gym.

It’s easy to feel self-conscious when you’re surrounded by people who seem more experienced or physically fit than you. Remember that everyone has their reasons for being at the gym and no one is there to judge you.

They’re focused on their own workouts, not scrutinizing yours. Another source of anxiety may be feeling out of place in a new environment.

Perhaps you don’t know where anything is or how anything works, and this makes you feel like an outsider. Take comfort in knowing that everyone starts somewhere.

Common sources of gym anxiety

There are several common sources of gym and stress related anxiety that many people experience when they first start going to the gym: – Fear of judgment: This is perhaps one of the most common sources of gym anxiety.

Many people can be worried about being judged by others at the gym, especially if they feel like they don’t belong there. 

Feeling out of place: If you’re new to working out or haven’t been to a gym in a long time, it’s easy to feel like an outsider in this unfamiliar environment.

Not knowing how to use equipment: Gym equipment can be very intimidating in the beginning, especially if you’re unsure how to use it. This can make you feel anxious or embarrassed.

Feeling physically inferior: It’s easy to compare yourself to others at the gym, especially if you’re surrounded by people who seem more physically fit or experienced than you. 

Fear of injury: If you’ve never worked out before, it’s natural to worry about injuring yourself at the gym. This fear can be amplified if you don’t know how to use equipment properly. These are just a few example for common sources of gym anxiety and fear.

It’s also extremely important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently, and what may cause anxiety for someone may not affect another person at all. The key here is to identify what specifically is causing you anxiety so that you can begin taking steps to overcome it.

Let’s get into how you can get rid of gym anxiety by taking practical steps:

Prepare Yourself Mentally and Physically

Physical and mental preparations are equally important, and they can tremendously help reduce the levels of anxiety you may experience.

meditating before gym

Related: Complete Inner Peace Program: Inner Peace Guided Meditation

Set Realistic Goals to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

One of the very big mistakes most people make when starting a new gym routine is setting unrealistic goals. For example, if you’ve never lifted weights before, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to bench press your body weight on your first day at the gym.

Setting unattainable goal will only lead to disappointment and frustration. Instead, start setting small goals that are achievable, specific and measurable.

For example, aim to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes or complete a certain number of reps with a lighter weight. As you reach these milestones, gradually increase your goals in a way that feels natural for you.

Make Workout Plans That Fits Your Fitness Level and Interests

Another important step in preparing yourself for an actual workout at the gym is creating a workout plan that can fit your fitness level and interests. If you don’t like running on treadmill but love dancing, consider trying out an aerobics or Zumba class instead of exercising.

Related: Ultimate Guide To Exploring Active Meditation Techniques

When creating your workout plan, it’s important to have variety in your workout routine so that you don’t get bored or plateau in progress. This can include strength training exercises like squats and lunges as well as cardio exercises like biking, walking or swimming.

Dress in Comfortable Gym Clothes That Make You Feel Confident

Wearing comfortable clothes is key to feeling confident at the gym. Choose clothes made from materials like cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you cool during exercise. Additionally, investing in proper athletic shoes can help reduce discomfort during workouts.

Wearing outfits that make you feel good is also important for building confidence at the gym. Whether it’s bright colors or form-fitting clothing – find what makes you feel best and wear it proudly!

Consider bringing a water bottle and towel to gym so that you can stay hydrated and fresh during your workout. Preparing yourself physically and mentally for the gym is an essential step in overcoming gym anxiety.

Familiarize yourself with the gym environment

Another key point in making yourself comfortable in the place you are going to work out. Workouts can sometimes feel uncomfortable if you are not familiar with the feeling of moving your body as much. The feeling of being surrounded by strangers and performing strange movements can feel uneasy.

Allow yourself to get familiar with the gym environment, fitness facility and people around, you can also choose to get a personal trainer.

Take a tour of the gym before your first workout

Before you even think about working out, it’s also very essential to make sure you feel comfortable and confident in your surroundings. Take a walk-around tour of the gym to familiarize yourself with where everything is located.

This will help incredibly to ease any anxiety you may have about not knowing where things are or feeling like you don’t belong. Most gyms offer free tours for new members, so take advantage of this opportunity.

During the tour, pay attention to where different exercise equipment and locker room is located and how to use it properly. This will help prevent any embarrassment or confusion during your workout.

Observe other people working out to get a sense of what’s normal

happily working out

If you’re feeling unsure about what exercises to do or how to use certain equipment, take some time to observe other people working out. Watching others can help give you an idea of what exercises are popular and how they’re done correctly.

Don’t worry about staring or being judged – everyone at the gym is there for their specific reasons and most people won’t mind if you watch them briefly. However, avoid interrupting someone in the middle of their workout – wait until they’ve finished their set before approaching them for advice.

Ask staff or a personal trainer for help if you’re unsure about anything

Gym staff and a personal trainer are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it. If something isn’t clear or if you’re unsure how to use a particular equipment, ask someone for guidance. A personal trainer can also assist with creating a personalized workout plan that meets your fitness goals while taking into account any physical limitations or injuries.

They can also help you with tips on proper form and technique when performing exercises. It’s also important not only for your safety but also for your confidence to know that you’re doing things correctly, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Focus on yourself, not others

Everyone there is to focus on themselves and their fitness or health journey. A part of social anxiety disorder is that it makes you overthink what others might be thinking or judging. Sometimes this social anxiety can also stem from the comparisons we make in our heads.

It’s important to address and understand these things as it can help a lot to ease anxiety.

Break the Comparison Cycle

One of the biggest reasons people feel anxious at the gym is because they compare themselves to others. They see someone lifting more weight or running faster than them and feel inadequate.

However, it’s crucial to remember that everyone has their own fitness journey and starting point. Instead of comparing yourself with people around you, focus on your own progress and improvements.

Related: Meditation For Jealousy: Transforming Inner Chaos Into Power

Set Realistic Goals

Again it comes down to setting realistic goals. When you have clear goals in mind, it’s easier to focus on yourself instead of comparing or thinking about others. Set realistic goals for yourself that are tailored to your fitness level and interests. This can help make a shift in your attention away from what other people are doing and onto your own accomplishments.

Remind Yourself that Everyone Starts Somewhere and No One is Judging You

Acknowledge Your Insecurities

It’s natural to feel insecure when starting something new or challenging yourself physically. It’s important to acknowledge these insecurities and remind yourself that everyone starts somewhere- even those who seem like gym veterans. Majority of people at the gym are also busy focusing on their own workout to judge you.

Create a Positive Mantra

To reinforce this idea, create a positive mantra for yourself that you can repeat in moments of self-doubt. For example, “I am capable” or “I am proud of myself for being here.” Saying this out loud or silently can help boost your confidence and push negative thoughts aside.

Use Headphones or Focus on Your Own Workout to Block Out Distractions

You can Listen to Music, Podcasts, Or Affirmations

If you find distractions at the gym overwhelming, try listening to podcasts or music through headphones. This not only blocks out external noise but also helps create a positive and motivating workout environment.

Focus on Your Form

Another way to block out distractions is to focus on your form. This not only help prevent injuries but it also takes your mind off of what’s happening around you. When you’re concentrating on proper form, you don’t have time to worry about the people around you.

Remember That Everyone at the Gym is There for Their Own Reasons

Respect Others’ Journeys

Just the way you have your reasons for going to the gym, so does everyone else. It’s important to respect their journey and not judge them based on their appearance or fitness levels. Everyone has different goals and priorities, and it’s not fair to assume anything about someone based solely on how people look or what they are doing.

People judge, but that doesn’t have to be you. If you indulge in judgemental thoughts, then it’s possible that it can also make you feel judged by others. Judgemental thoughts can also create a chain of anxiety-provoking thought patterns.

Celebrate Others’ Accomplishments

celebrate other's gym journey

Instead of feeling intimidated by others’ accomplishments, celebrate them! Seeing others succeed can be motivating and inspiring.

It can definitely help create a positive atmosphere at the gym where everyone feels supported in their fitness journey. Focusing on yourself at the gym is key to overcoming anxiety.

Remember that most important thing is showing up and taking responsibility to take care of yourself – all the others things are going to fall into place over time and consistency!

Working out with friends or family member

Go to the gym with a friend. Exercising with someone you know and trust can make a significantly huge difference when it comes to overcoming gym anxiety. Having someone there to motivate you, give you tips, and provide a sense of comfort can do wonders for your confidence.

So, bring along some friends or a family member who shares your fitness goal and workout preferences. Consider setting up regular gym dates with your workout buddy as well.

This will help keep both parties accountable and even provide you with something to look forward to each week. It could also be helpful to choose someone who is more experienced than you so they can help show you the ropes.

Joining a group fitness class

In case, you don’t have anyone to bring with you, consider joining a group fitness class instead. This way, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who are all working towards similar goals. These group Classes also typically have an instructor who will guide you through the workout, making it easier for beginners to jump in.

 It will give structure and variety to your workouts and also provide an opportunity for social interaction. You may even find that working out in a group helps push you harder than if you were on your own.


Overcoming gym anxiety isn’t easy, but it’s certainly possible with right mindset and strategies in place. Remember that everyone feels nervous when trying something new or stepping outside of comfort zone – especially when it comes to exercise! But once you start slowly incorporating these tips into your new routine, going to the gym will become less daunting over time.

It’s important that we prioritize our physical health just as much as our mental health – especially during times of stress and uncertainty like now. The benefits of regular exercise way beyond just looking good; it has been shown time and time again to improve mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life.

So, take that first step and give yourself permission to feel a little uncomfortable at first. But know that with each visit to the gym, you’ll be one step closer to feeling confident and empowered in your own skin.

Also, give meditation a chance, it can significantly reduce anxiety and stress, build confidence, and help overcome gymtimidation.

overcoming gym anxiety


What does gym anxiety feel like?

Gym anxiety is the anxiety experienced when exercising at a public gym if you think about doing it. Some people have anxiety about working out with others. Sometimes a person is concerned about how other people see the ability they possess in a gym and how they feel when exercising.

Is it OK to go to gym with anxiety?

It’s completely OK because as per research exercising can significantly improve mental health. So, going to the gym, even if you are feeling anxious, will reduce your anxiety disorders in longer run, that maybe contribute to the feeling of anxiety you experience in the gym.

Why do I have increased anxiety after gym?

This can be partly attributed to physical activity that involves you paying attention to certain parts of the body, like the way it feels at this moment. The feeling of body awareness can induce emotional responses about something that you might not have even noticed.


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