Want to focus on your health and fitness in the new year, but are too nervous to start going to a gym? Well listen up! We have all the info on gym phobia and how you can overcome it.
With the new year just around the corner, you’re no doubt considering setting some new goals for 2017. If you are like many other Australians setting New Year’s resolutions, working on your fitness and health will be at the top of your list.
New Year’s resolutions are meant to be challenging, but the thought of joining a gym can be downright intimidating. I know this because four years ago I started my fitness journey by joining a gym and starting to work out and my anxiety was immense.
I was scared signing up for my local gym. I was scared during my first workout. I was nervous wearing gym gear. And I well and truly feared others looking at (and judging) me.
But I’m here to ease you into bettering yourself at the gym. So lets first take a look at ‘gym phobia’…
Gym Phobia is real, but it can be beaten
Research shows that ‘gym phobia’ is a real thing for many newcomers. A consumer study conducted by Curves Australia revealed that 46 per cent of Australians admit to experiencing anxiety whilst exercising in public. And among those surveyed, a third said anxiety had prevented them from even entering a gym.
These are huge statistics. So why do we fear going to the gym and allowing others to see us exercise?
Often it’s because we have a fear of judgement – we don’t want to look silly in front of other gym goers by not knowing how to use the equipment. As well as this, half of Aussie’s avoid the gym for a fear of looking bad in spandex and other tight gym wear.
The gym can be a scary place, particularly when you are new, unsure of how to use the equipment and fear that the more experienced people are staring at you.
But it doesn’t need to be like this! Here are a few tips to help you overcome gym anxiety.
Move past gym induced anxiety and onto success!
The hardest part is the first step. It’s like starting a new job, moving interstate or asking that cute boy/girl on a date. It’s a new thing and it takes time and a little bravery!
1. Take a buddy
Things are better when you share the load with a friend! Perhaps you and your bestie can learn your way around the gym and tackle your new goals together. Going with someone you know and who is at a similar fitness level to you, can make the gym experience much less daunting.
2. Choose the right gym for you
Make sure you choose a gym that suits your needs! There are plenty of options like 24/7 gyms, group fitness gyms, women specific gyms, powerlifting gyms and many more. Pick one that you like the vibe of, that isn’t too far from home and that has the equipment and/or classes you are after.
3. Avoid peak hours
A good way to get used to going to the gym is to go when it’s a little bit quieter. For instance, if you go just after 5pm you’ll usually find it is packed! Ask the staff at the gym when the quietest time of day is and you will have more space to explore and find your confidence.
4. Exercise outside of the gym
A good way to get used to exercising in public is to do it outside of the gym. Change up your routine by going for a bush walk, a jog or do a circuit of squats, push-ups and burpees at home. Just getting used to exercising will help you to overcome your anxiety and before too long, hitting up the gym will become second nature.
5. Consider a personal trainer
Personal trainers are extremely useful for gym newbies. They’re trained to teach you how to use the equipment and can design a program that fits your needs. Most PTs understand how you feel and will work towards helping you achieve your goals.
6. Most people are too busy with their own workout to look at/silently judge you ;-)
Believe it or not, but most people at the gym are too busy with their own training to take the time to look at you. Although you may feel like you stand out as the new kid on the block and that people are staring at you, they probably aren’t. Most gym goers are heavily absorbed in what they are doing and not much else!
7. Remember that everyone in that gym has been in the same position before
Take comfort in the fact that every single person in the gym was a beginner at some point. Be proud of stepping into the gym, conquering your fears and improving your fitness! Your first day will soon be over and it will only get better from there.