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  • Writer's pictureSri

Overcoming Gym Anxiety: Top 5 Things You Can Do

Stepping into the gym can be intimidating for many, myself included. My journey with gym anxiety was filled with self-doubt and uncertainty. However, I've discovered strategies to overcome these challenges and make the gym a place of empowerment rather than fear. I would like to share this experience and the lessons I learned with you so, you know you are not alone 💪🏻🏆🏋🎧🔥.

Understanding Gym Anxiety:

Gym anxiety is a common phenomenon characterized by feelings of self-consciousness, fear of judgment, and intimidation in a gym setting. According to Verywell Mind, factors such as social comparison, negative self-perception, and perceived judgment from others contribute to gym anxiety (Verywell Mind, 2023).

My Experiment with Gym Anxiety:

I vividly remember my first day at the gym, feeling overwhelmed by the sight of seasoned gym-goers effortlessly lifting weights and confidently using machines. As I started lifting weights, my mind raced with negative thoughts: "Everyone is staring at me," "I don't belong here," "I'm not fit enough."

Common Thoughts vs. Realistic Thoughts:

While exploring gym anxiety, I encountered thoughts similar to the ones listed below. I decided to playfully challenge each one. Curious about the outcome, I reframed these thoughts throughout my workout. Soon I noticed that I had begun to genuinely enjoy the exercise. I noticed that no one paid attention to me, which brought a sense of liberation.

Common Thought: "Everyone is staring at me."

Realistic Thought: "People are focused on their own workouts and are unlikely to pay much attention to me."

Common Thought: "I don't belong here."

Realistic Thought: "Everyone starts somewhere, and at least I am trying. "

Common Thought: "I'm not fit enough."

Realistic Thought: "Fitness is a journey, and every workout I complete is making a difference."

Common Thought: "They must think I am such a newbie."

Realistic Thought: "Nobody cares and here it is a good thing."

At the end of week two, it clicked. I started to ask myself questions like, "How much would you care if someone new came in?". And the answer was, "I probably wouldn't care but I would be happy for them to take the first step. After all, it does take courage".

Strategies to Overcome Gym Anxiety:

1. Start Small:

Begin by familiarizing yourself with the gym environment during off-peak hours or attending group fitness classes where you can blend in with others (Verywell Mind, 2023). I went to the gym around 8, most people are getting ready to go to the office or work from home but your gym might have different off-peak hours. Google shows 'popular times' based on visits, which comes in handy. It can be found under the 'overview' of your gym on Google and looks like this:

Google shows 'popular times'

2. Set Realistic Goals:

Focus on achievable goals that are specific, measurable, and tailored to your fitness level. Setting small goals can help you reach what you are aiming for without needing to push yourself too hard (American Psychological Association, 2023). By making a plan and sticking to it in the gym, I could distract myself from gym anxiety.

3. Practice Positive Self-Talk:

Challenge negative thoughts with affirmations and reminders of your capabilities. Replace self-doubt with self-compassion and encouragement (PsychCentral, 2023). In the beginning, it may not happen naturally so, write your thoughts down. You could also write small encouraging text next to your goals like, "I am proud of how far you have come, you can do it". If that doesn't work, you can make a plan that works best for you.

4. Schedule Time to Worry:

It may sound silly but set aside a designated "Worry Time" for yourself. Whenever an unhelpful thought arises, reframe it and remind yourself that you have a designated time to address worries. Prioritize completing your tasks first, then revisit these thoughts during your designated "Worry Time." Aim for consistency in scheduling these sessions, ideally around 30 minutes each. Take this opportunity to worry during this time, as it's been proven to effectively reduce anxiety (Psychology Today, 2018).

5. Find a Support System:

Surround yourself with supportive friends and workout buddies, or seek guidance from a fitness trainer who can provide motivation and guidance (Verywell Mind, 2023). And, sometimes, you may find yourself on your own, in those scenarios, listening to motivational music, a podcast or an audiobook can help. Telling friends later about how it went is helpful too because they are happy to hear that you are making progress (American Psychological Association, 2023).

In conclusion, overcoming gym anxiety is a journey that requires patience, self-awareness, and resilience. By challenging negative thoughts, setting realistic goals, and seeking support, we can transform the gym from a place of fear to one of empowerment. Remember, every step taken toward overcoming gym anxiety is a victory in itself.

At, Talk to Sri, I help individuals who have gym anxiety and need a guide to help them overcome it. You can reach out to me at or call me at my phone number

(06-35634076) to get in touch.

Gym Essentials: Here is a list of gym essentials I like using. Click on the "paid link" to see/buy the products




Overcome Gym Anxiety with Talk to Sri

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