Ben Richardson at We Are Wellbeing runs us through the issue of gym anxiety and how to escape, what he dubs, ‘gymimidaiton’.
Gymtimidation is real – and it can be a serious problem.
The gym can be an amazing place. It’s packed full of equipment designed to help you get fitter, build some muscle if that is your thing and help you get that little bit stronger if that is your desired goal – So why do a lot of us feel so anxious about joining one?
It seems like 90% of the people you encounter by the treadmill are picture-perfect fitness enthusiasts with chiselled abs, biceps to rival Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Rabbit style tiny waists so no wonder it’s difficult not to feel overwhelmed.
It doesn’t help that social media can often portray gyms as places where only the already super fit are allowed to set foot into but speaking as a Personal Trainer and Wellbeing Coach I want to ensure you that this is most often not the case.
Now let’s be honest a lot of gyms and health clubs ‘do’ have the beautiful and super fit people grinding out endless hours there in the pursuit of the perfect body but a huge proportion of most gyms are filled with people who just want to make a bit of an improvement to their bodies, keep fit and have fun in happy and social environment
While gym anxiety is a very real issue for many of us, gymtimidation shouldn’t get the best of you!
Here are some top tips to get you started back in the gym swing of it again;
Comparison is the thief of joy
This is really important to remember when you are aiming to get back into the gym again or are indeed a newbie. It makes no sense to compare yourself to someone who may be lifting twice the amount you are, is running farther and faster on the treadmill or can smash out two spinning classes in one day. Remember that the only person you are competing with is yourself. So whether you are lifting 20kg on the bench press or 200kg if it challenges you then you are working just as hard.
Why not get a gym buddy
This can make the gym experience much more fun and also make you feel way less anxious especially if your gym buddy feels the same as you do. You can help to motivate each other plus have some fun social time while are at it.
What is your why?
Ask yourself this – ‘why did you join a gym in the first place?’ Regular confident gym goers tend to have a concrete reason why they go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Are you looking to improve your stamina? Do you want to develop your muscular strength? Or do you just want to look that little but better in that little black party dress that has been gathering dust in your wardrobe? Every week remind yourself of your ‘why’. Top tip is just to write it down on a post it note and pop in on your fridge door – No way you can avoid it then.
Keep things simple
Most gyms are full exercise machine and kit that would not look out of place on the Star Trek film set so no wonder they can be scary. Why not start with some simple bodyweight resistance work such as squats, press ups and lunges. Set up a mini circuit doing exercises like these and you have yourself a good 20 minute workout. You don’t even have to do them on the gym floor as most good establishments have private exercise studios that you can use away from prying eyes.
Seek out some help
The vast majority of gyms are set up so anybody can use them and are designed to be safe. If in doubt why not speak to one of the Personal Trainers. Most good Personal Trainers will be more than happy to help without bombarding you with a sales pitch. Just a few minutes with a good coach or trainer can make all the difference and ease any potential nerves or anxieties that you may have about starting out with a new exercise plan
Important Tip: – Don’t be afraid to ask