Four Simple Steps to Conquering Gym Anxiety

I’ve come to realize that women have wasted months (even years!) of what could have been healthy active living, because they were consumed with gym anxiety.  For those of us who have grown up on the floor of the gym, or played competitive sports, this may seem ridiculous.  However, for many who know they need to take better care of themselves, but have been out of the game for a while, it’s very real.   It shows up in many forms.  Maybe it’s the fear of being judged by the bubbly receptionist.  Maybe you haven’t used the treadmill in 30 years and you’re afraid technology has left you behind.  After all, what could be more embarrassing than not being able to operate the equipment?  Then there is the current obsession with leggings!  Is it possible to start a workout program without squeezing your legs into sausage casings?  And finally, there is the impression, real or imagined, that everyone else at the gym is perfect—perfect figure, perfect outfit, perfect form. If these are the concerns that are keeping you from starting a wellness routine, you owe it to yourself to follow these four simple steps and leave intimidation at the door.

Choose Wisely

There are many different options for gyms and fitness centers out there.  Decide on the atmosphere that is right for you.  Do you like the energy of a big box gym?  Or do you need something smaller with more accountability?  What type of clientele does a place serve?  Maybe a female-only gym is right for you.  Do your research and find a place where you feel you could be comfortable on a daily basis.  If you have injuries or other health issues, it’s important to choose a facility with instructors and services that fit your needs.  Simply do your research.

Tour Before you Hit the Floor

Don’t make a decision about a fitness environment until you check it out in person.  Having a staff member give you a guided tour is a great way to get a feel for the atmosphere, the customer service and the cleanliness of the facility. When you leave, you should be excited about your next step.

Don’t Abandon your Original Goals

When you start a program, have specific goals in mind.  Weight loss, improved bone mass, relief from back pain or stress are examples of the most common goals I’ve come across.  Sometimes, it can be as simple as improving a golf swing.  Just make sure your expectations are realistic.  Run a mile before you decide to win a marathon! My advice is to stick to the game plan.  Don’t deviate from your initial goals.  Set attainable goals and follow through.

Hire a Professional

If you have been out of touch with the fitness world for a while, feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy can keep you from reaching your full potential. Hiring a trainer is a perfect way to help ease you back into a program safely and without pressure.  A good trainer will be able to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses and help create a program that is right for your fitness level.  You should feel at ease with your trainer and communicate openly about your concerns.

Follow these four simple steps and you will be well on your way to the healthy lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

– Sara Acioli