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5 Strategies to help prevent gym phobia

Updated: May 22, 2019

The gym is an intimidating place. It brings all our insecurities to the forefront. At some point you have been new to a gym, new to fitness, or new to the feelings of getting back into a physical regime.

Being the kid who was picked last in gym class, I know the nerves and anxiety that follow you when entering the gym for the first time. How to do you stop these worries from getting the best of you? Here I am going to discuss some strategies that have helped myself and my clients overcome gym-phobia.

1. Plan. 

Go in with a structured workout or fitness program. There is the familiar saying, “failing to plan, is planning to fail”, and it’s true. Assuming you’ve heard to grocery list analogy – do not go grocery shopping without a list, because if you do you’ll purchase a lot of unnecessary products. Same for the gym. You should not walk blindly into the gym. Look up the exercises beforehand and walk in there confidently because you know what you need to be doing.

If you need to hire a trainer or an online coach you can inquire with myself here.   

2. Acquire.

There is strength in numbers. Try to workout with a friend whom you are comfortable with. You will want to surround yourself with people who can motivate and help build your confidence.

3. Reassure.

Remind yourself that you aren’t there to be judged. Majority of people do not go to gym to stare at other people. They go there to feel better and get closer to their goals.

Reassure yourself of your intent. Let’s also be realistic - there may be times where you do get judged. But that says something about the judge, not the juror. It’s a projection we do onto others as a survival technique.

We’ve all done it. I remember a time when I saw a man with a massive chest and arms thinking, “Oh, he clearly thinks I’m weak.” Did he? Maybe. Most likely not. The most probable scenario is, he probably didn’t even notice me because he was focused on his workout. Judgments may happen, but you’re not there to worry about that, you’re there to workout.

4. Investigate.

Look into what is actually making you anxious. Taking a look at my previous example with myself assuming the man “thought I was weak”. I wasn’t anxious because of him. I was anxious because I lacked confidence in my own abilities. I was anxious because I was so busy comparing myself to others, I forgot why I was even there in the first place.

5. Show up.

Continuously walk through those gym doors. There will be days when you’re crushing life and feelin’ yourself, and other days where you want to avoid the gym at all costs. Either way, show up.

Competency comes in the reps. Competency builds confidence. You’ll need to take a few more steps through the doors and a few more attempts at that new exercise, before you can master it. Consistently walking through that gym will allow you to become more accustomed to your environment and your levels of comfort will rise.

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