Ever stepped into a full, bustling gym, and wondered how in the world you were going to be able to finish your workout? Been nervous due to the overwhelming numbers surrounding you, especially since they all feel like they’re lifting way heavier than you could ever dream of? Felt intimidated by the super buff guys and girls who appear capable of endless sets and reps, and who must obviously be judging your workout?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then I am happy to tell you that you, my friend, are a normal person. Because yes, it is totally normal and rational to feel nervous or unsettled by a crowded gym, and sometimes, it can be really hard to deal with that. Unfortunately, sometimes, it can be so difficult that it even limits your motivation to work out, even to the point of pushing you out of the gym altogether.
Today, I want to talk to you all about how to avoid that nagging feeling, and if not avoid it, how to get your work out in while working around it. So here are my top tips!
- Go in with a plan. Personally, I can never get any amount of working out done if I don’t have a plan. I walk around, touching various machines and weights, and wondering what I would most like to do in that moment. And the more I tarry, the more I think, “Bed.” So to avoid this, I always go into the gym with a lift plan in my back pocket so I have a direction.
- Be ready to be flexible about your plan. If the gym is super crowded, it might be difficult to do the lift exactly as you would ideally like. So besides having a plan, I make sure that I know of or can google substitute exercises for my lift. Sometimes, I sub movements because I get overwhelmed by the idea of being near too many people. And sometimes, I sub because I really didn’t have much of a choice. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to be ready to be flexible.
- Have a confidence-inspiring playlist that lets you have the boss workout you require. And don’t feel like this playlist has to be filled with hard core rock music, or fast-paced rap. Sometimes, the playlist that gets me going is a bunch of podcasts lined up. Sometimes, it’s Pavarotti and Queen mixed together. It depends on the mood. But as long as I have that playlist, then I am ready for anything.
- Get good earbuds. I own three different types of earbuds, for different times and moments in my life. If I need the extra volume, I can whip out my headphones, but if I know I’m going to get sweaty, I can whip out my wireless, lighter weighing earbuds. When I go on long walks, I stick with the more traditional earbuds. As you can readily see, it’s all mood-dependent.
- Remember you are there for your own workout, not to impress anyone else. Whilst this last piece of advice might feel worn out, I think it’s still important to touch on. When you’re in the gym, you might very well feel like everyone’s eyes are on you. But trust me – they’re not. Most people are way more concerned with their own workout. If not, then why are they concerned with what you’re doing anyway? And at the end of the day, does it really matter what they think? I know that this piece of advice is the hardest to remember, but sometimes, it’s the saving grace between me and the door that leads me home, sans workout.
I know that gym anxiety can be a very real thing. However, I also know that it’s something that can and should be worked through, because working out releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. And that is more important than making sure no one is potentially judging you.
Love, xx Giorgia
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