Overcome gym anxiety to get the health and fitness results you want
Do you feel anxious about exercising in public? Is a fear of going to the gym stopping you from achieving the leaner, healthier and fitter body you want? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Use my smart and simple solutions to overcome your gym anxiety and gain gym confidence to start getting the health and fitness results you deserve, says New Body Plan’s Joe Warner
Does the thought of going to the gym or the prospect of exercising in public send your heart rate soaring or bring you out in a cold sweat? If so, you’re not alone.
Gym anxiety is on the rise and it’s stopping more and more people from losing weight and achieving the leaner, fitter and healthier body they want.
Maybe you’ve never done any gym training, but want to get into weights because you’ve read about some amazing fat-loss success stories. Or maybe it’s been months or years since your last gym training session, and you’re not sure what to do to start shifting that stubborn beer belly, man boobs, or lower back fat.
It’s very common to feel more than a little “gymtimidated” or even be crippled by gym anxiety. Here’s some of the most common reasons why people steer clear of exercising in public
Most common reasons for gym anxiety
• I don’t want to be judged, laughed at or looked down upon
• I am a lot heavier than when I last exercised
• I am nowhere near as fit or strong as I should be
• I don’t know what to do when I am in the gym
• I don’t want to get injured or be sore for a week
• I don’t have the motivation or confidence I used to
If you suffer from one or more of these common concerns about, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to worry for a second longer! Why? Because I am going to explain how you gain the instant confidence you need to not just go the gym, but to smash your sessions so you can get the health and fitness results as quickly as you want!
If, however, you’re not 100% ready to exercise in public you can still get remarkable results by working out at home! Give this no-kit-needed 15-minute bodyweight session a go to get those feel-good endorphins flowing. Or try my most-popular dumbbell home workout circuit to torch calories and add lean muscle!
Overcome gym anxiety quickly and easily
The good news is that the solution to all of the common concerns listed above – and any other reasons stopping you from dusting off your gym bag – is really simple. You just need to follow my six-step guide below to make a smooth and effortless transition to being a gym bunny, and all the physical and mental health benefits that come with it.
Remember, it doesn’t actually matter if you’re heavier than you used to be, or not as strong or lean or muscular or fit as you’d like. You can’t change the past or what’s happened up until this point. But you – and only you – can control what happens next. And by getting into training now means you’ll be looking and feeling better than ever before you know it.
1. Have a gym training plan to follow
Worried about wandering aimlessly around the gym wondering whether the other gym goers have noticed you don’t know what you should be doing?
This is one of the biggest reasons for gym anxiety. So, do you want to know the single-best way to get instant gym floor confidence? Have a plan to follow. Because if you’ve got a plan you know you’re doing the right exercises, in the way, in the right order. And that will give you all the confidence you need to start getting incredible results.
Once you’re in the gym, you don’t want to waste a single second or lose a drop of motivation by looking around you, scratching your head and working out where you should start working out. The smart approach is to have a plan to follow so you can focus 100% of your energy on getting the session done and avoid the gym floor mistakes so many people make.
Want a simple session for your first workout? Here’s some free workout options I’ve created and regularly use myself:
Free Arms workout
Or maybe you’re raring to begin a proven fat-loss or muscle-building home or gym workout programme? Why not consider joining my Training Club? Or you can take the New Body Plan Quiz to answer some quick questions about you and your fitness goals so we can recommend the perfect plan for you!
2. Ease yourself in to beat gym anxiety
Worried about looking like you don’t know what you’re doing? Then do a proper warm-up. Hardly anyone does it, yet even the most experienced gym lifter knows they should do it. And you’ll get instant kudos by warming up properly.
Why is a warm-up so important? To prepare both physically and mentally for the workout ahead. Start with some mobility drills. Then do some warm-up sets of your first couple of exercises. Start with high reps of a light weight, then with each subsequent warm-up set increase the weight and decrease the reps until you feel ready for your first “work set”.
This smart warm-up strategy is even more essential if you’ve not trained with weights for a while, or if you’re no longer a spring chicken. You need to train smarter as you get older. And that starts with “greasing the groove” before each session to prime your muscles, joints and connective tissue to avoid injury.
It actually makes sense for everybody to gently ease themselves back in, whatever your age or current fitness level. Even if you’ve been regularly training with weights at home, your first week in the gym is not the time to attempt a deadlift, barbell back squat or bench press one-rep max. The risk hugely outweighs the reward, so take your time and do it right.
Think of it like this: your only real objective for these first few sessions is to enjoy them. Why? To build up your motivation and passion for lifting weights to establish your positive gym habit. And that will only happen if you get through this first week unscathed!
3. Focus on perfect form to overcome gym anxiety
Worrying about not knowing how to use gym machines and other bits of kit is often cited as a big reason for gym anxiety. Most machines have simple instructions on them to show you how to adjust any settings and use it properly. So first familiarise yourself with the machine before attempting to use it. Still not sure? Ask one of the gym floor personal trainers. It’s their job to help so don’t be afraid to ask for a couple of pointers.
After all, getting it right is so important. Why? Correct lifting form is one of the seven essential training variables yet the one many people most overlook. Now you’re in the gym good form must be at the forefront of your mind. Not just because it works your muscles more intelligently, through a greater range of motion, and replicates real-world movement patterns. But also because it’s the best way to avoid strains, pulls and other injuries that could put you back one the sidelines before you’ve even got back in the game.
4. Allow time for a recovery-boosting cool-down
Not doing any gym training for a while (or ever!) has one big positive. Now’s the perfect time to introduce some new healthy gym habits, such as cooling down and stretching. Why? Adding these essential elements to each session will accelerate your progress to a leaner, stronger and more athletic physique. And you’ll be taking smart steps to injury-proof your body so you can stay fitter, healthier and happier for longer.
Think about dedicating the final five to 10 minutes of your to a proper cool down, rather than running straight to the car and driving home as soon as you’ve finished that last set of biceps curls.
Your body needs to adjust from a “resting state” to an “active state” at the start of a workout through a proper warm. And it also needs to do the reverse after your final work set. Why? To reduce your heart rate, lower your core temperature, and flush the accumulation of waste products from your muscles to kick-start the recovery process. Some mobility moves, active stretching, or a walk on the treadmill will all help speed recovery up.
The last thing you want is an injury or even such painful and stiffening delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that it’s going to be at least another week for you can even contemplate your second gym visit!
5. Don’t compare yourself to beat gym anxiety
Much like lifting with perfect form, this is another #NewBodyPlan commandment that’s worth reinforcing. It’s common to look around the gym floor at the younger, slimmer and more muscular guys and feel either envious of their physiques. Or feel worried they’re judging you for not also looking like a Calvin Klein underwear model.
Firstly, these guys are only ever looking at themselves in the mirror so they don’t even know you’re there (unless you happen to walk in between them and their reflection).
Second, and more importantly, you can only ever compare yourself to you. No one else. Are you a step – no matter how small – closer to your goal than you were yesterday? If you’re in the gym following a training plan, or working out smartly at home, then your answer is yes. And that’s all you need to think about.
6. Give yourself time to get life-changing results
We all want to be the proud owner of a stronger, lean and fitter body immediately, but Rome wasn’t build in a day. The longer it’s been since your last really solid period of consistent training then the longer it’s going to take to get to where you want to be.
But the more consistent you can be now that you’re back doing gym training – three times a week is good, four times a week is great – then the sooner you’ll be feeling good, enjoying exercise, and taking those small but satisfying steps of progress.
That’s one of the many brilliant things about fitness. Yes, it feels like you can loss “fitness” quite quickly when you don’t train. But it’s amazing how quickly it comes back. Especially once you find the perfect plan that quickly delivers the health and happiness-boosting results you want.
To find your perfect plan, take the New Body quiz!
Take the New Body quiz!