Gym Anxiety Isn’t Just In Your Head

Gym anxiety can affect anyone. Even those that hit the weights every morning; they might look big and strong, but inside, they’re struggling to hold it together. Sometimes it’s down to how packed it is in the gym. A bad day at work. Comments on their form. Or, as it often is with mental health, for no particular reason at all. If feeling anxious at the gym is something that has an impact on your daily life, we’ve gathered a few tips on how to overcome gym anxiety to help you get your confidence back.

Why does the gym give me anxiety?

There are a number of reasons why you might experience gym anxiety. These include: 

  • Being self-conscious about your appearance or weight.
  • Worrying about using the machines incorrectly or making a mistake.
  • Comparing your fitness level to other people in your gym or workout class.
  • Having a mental health condition such as generalised anxiety disorder.

How do I stop being insecure at the gym?

Getting anxious at the gym can really knock your confidence. But it’s important you don’t beat yourself up about it. The gym will always be there for you to come back when you’re ready! In the meantime, here’s a few tips to help you prepare:

  • Take somebody with you – Working out with a friend is a great way of keeping each other motivated. Even if you don’t have enough energy to chat, simply being in their presence will help you feel more at ease if you find the gym intimidating.
  • Attend during off-peak hours – If your gym has an app, check how many people are currently there before you set off. Busy hours can make even the most confident of gym-goers feel overwhelmed, so plan your visit in advance to avoid the crowds.
  • Write down your workout – Knowing what exercises you’re going to do and which equipment you’ll use before arriving at the gym will help you feel more prepared. 
  • Listen to your headphones – Find a good playlist, grab a workout space, and turn up the volume. This will help you zone out and prevent any negative thought patterns from consuming your routine.

Should I go to the gym if I have anxiety?

Many individuals with anxiety find that going to the gym can help ease some of their symptoms. However, if you find it’s an environment that makes your anxiety worse, it’s probably worth trying something different like running or skipping. Our best tip? Once you find an activity that makes you feel good, stick at it! The gym isn’t for everybody and forcing yourself to go will only worsen your anxiety.

Gym anxiety tips

If you’d like more advice on how to overcome gym anxiety, take a look at our blog on exercise as therapy. This explores how endorphins can help us feel good, boost our self-esteem, and encourage us to unwind. Keep in mind that any form of exercise can help alleviate anxiety, but aerobic exercise is the most beneficial as it really gets your heart rate going. So it might be worth heading to the cardio section at the gym if you’re feeling uneasy. 

If you need to talk to a professional, please visit Mind or Anxiety UK.