No matter what it may be, the prospect of beginning a new endeavour can be overwhelming and daunting. For those of us who are more inclined to overthinking, the thought of starting a new fitness journey can cause a sea of worry and dread. If you’re reading this thinking “yep, that’s me right there!”, then it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there are ways to overcome the worries which are holding you back.
It’s a lot more common than you think
Interestingly, a survey conducted by PureGym reported that 50% of non-gym members said that joining a gym would make them feel nervous. This can be down to numerous reasons…from the uncertainty of how to carry out exercises properly, the confusion of how to operate the wide array of machines which are present in most gyms these days, the worry of being in a public area which can get very busy at times or the fear of judgement from others as well many other factors.
When contemplating upon joining/re-joining a gym or fitness class and being faced with such fears and worries, it’s key to remember that…everyone started from a point where they too were new to fitness, uncertain as to how training in public would treat them and unsure as to how to properly exercise with the correct technique and form- basically, everyone starts somewhere!
For those us who’ve been inactive for a while and are looking to get things back in the swing, re-starting training can similarly create a flow of worry and anxiety..but, if you have it in your locker to be someone who’s embarked upon a fitness journey in the past, then you sure as hell have it in you to do it again!
Combatting Common Fears and Worries
The fears posed by exercise environments can vary from person to person based on who they are and what experiences they’ve had. Let’s take a look at some common fears which impact many of us, as well as ways to combat them.
The fear of in-proper technique and form
The worry of beginning a journey with a lack of knowledge and experience can deter many from making the first step of actually starting. However, it’s important to consider that this is completely normal and it’s something that you can actually channel into a form of motivation. As humans, it’s in our nature to dislike the prospect of not being fully able to execute a certain activity, especially around others who may be a lot more experienced! However, it’s important to remind ourselves that despite our doubts, we all have it in us to adapt and improve- anything and everything can be learned and mastered!
With the internet now being a source of in-depth information on near enough every single known topic, it’s no surprise that it can be fitness enthusiast’s best friend. Fitness websites, blogs and YouTube are providers of endless pieces of knowledge and guidance, especially YouTube where there are countless tutorials and instructional videos on how to correctly execute an exercise whether it’s a bodyweight exercise, a weighted lift or a machine-based movement- go and have a look for yourself!
Another way to better your technique and form is simply to ask for some guidance- whether this be from a fellow gym-goer, a friend or a member of gym staff. For those of you seeking optimal guidance, hiring a personal trainer could be a great option...not only do they provide guidance and demonstrations, a lot of them also offer in-depth training and nutritional plans.
Ultimately, the more time you spend in a fitness environment, the more accustomed you’ll become!
What if everyone here is judging me?!
Ever been in a room and felt like everyone is judging you?
A lot of us can feel anxious and overwhelmed when surrounded by numerous people, especially those who we don’t really know. This feeling of uneasiness and feeling like you’re being judged can also transcend into a fitness environment as well.
Managing anxiety and feelings of stress within a fitness environment can be supported through various methods and tools, let’s take a look at some!
Plan your training!- Planning ahead can save you from stepping into the gym and entering an overwhelming frenzy of having absolutely no clue what to do! Pick what muscle groups/body parts you wish to train as well as the exercises you want to give a ago. Additionally, if the gym happens to be busy and you’re unable to use the equipment you planned on using for a certain exercise, either move on to the next exercise in your plan or switch it up and do a set using something that is available! It can also be helpful to set progressive and realistic goals based on developing our technique gradually and over a realistic time period!
Train during quieter hours- Early mornings up until before the end of work gym rush in the early evening can be a good time to train with less sweaty bodies amongst the gym floor presence! This has the potential to make you feel more at ease and more willing to get the most out of your gym environment- give it a try and see if it makes a difference!
Working on your mindset- Overthinking can leave you feeling absolutely convinced that the catastrophic situations created in your head are a representation of reality. The truth in fact couldn’t be any further away from the disastrous storyline unfolding in your head- in a world where most of us live non-stop lives where we’re constantly moving from one task to the other and absorbing a never-ending flow of information in doing so, places such as gyms and fitness studios provide a form of escapism. With this in mind, it safe to say that people are focusing on their own thoughts, commitments and workouts..and not on whether you look silly or not! The more you push through and challenge negative thoughts, the better you’ll become at managing stress, and the more confident you’ll feel whilst training.
Train with gym partner- Have any family or friends who happen to be gym-goers? If you do, then why not suggest joint training! Training with others can be a great way to make your training experiences more social. On top of this, training partners can be a great source of motivation as a collective effort towards fitness progress can really go a long way!
I want to join a fitness class, but I don’t know what to expect and feel scared
Fitness classes are a fantastic way to meet others and socialise whilst collectively working towards the achievement of our fitness goals! Simultaneously, the prospect of joining a fitness class can also leave many of puzzled over what to expect and if all will go well. Truth be told, there is no way to completely determine the outcome of a joining a fitness class without actually going through with it. Here are some tips for elevating your fitness class experience!
Choose a class based on something that interests you- Fitness classes based on countless types of activities are now offered at fitness centres and sports clubs. So, picking an activity that you’re familiar with could help to add some comfort and ease into the mix..say you enjoy swimming, a water-based fitness class could be a great introduction to the world of fitness classes for you!
Believe in the intentions of others- Nothing can and will hold us back more than worrying what others think. But..it can be good to take some reassurance from the fact that fitness class attendees attend such classes with positive intentions and a non-existent desire to judge others! When thoughts of fitness class worry start to take over your mind, remind yourself why others like yourself have a desire to attend fitness classes and why such classes exist. Fitness classes can open the doors for new connections and collective goal chasing!
You are not your thoughts
It’s important to consider that you are not your thoughts, and that our thoughts are not in any way pre-determinators of future events. With willpower, courage and discipline..we all have the ability to move forward and overcome the worries that are holding us back from living our best lives!