Beginners Fitness Tips: How To Navigate The Gym and Overcome Your Anxiety

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Starting to invest your time and energy into fitness is one of the greatest decisions you will make. Exercising and strengthening our cardiovascular health is something that we should all be doing to live a long, healthy life. The gym is a common place for people to get started on their fitness journeys. As much as gyms are resourceful, they are also a cause for anxiety for a lot of beginners. If you have suffered from anxiety, or experience it when you are trying to settle into new environments, you are not alone. Everyone has started somewhere in their fitness journeys. Overcoming anxiety and focusing on improving your strength and fitness is a lot to take on, but it is possible.

If you are looking for tips to face the gym with confidence, take a look at the following suggestions to overcome your fears as a beginner in the gym:


Set Your Goals 

First things first, you need to establish your why. Why are you going to the gym in the first place? If you don't set your intentions, it will feel difficult to focus on anything else other than your fears. If you are going to the gym to improve your strength, set your goals. Make them specific, such as if you want to be lifting a certain weight by X amount of time, or possibly lose a certain amount of weight, write it down. Consider making your goals a list on the lock screen of your phone so you can be constantly reminded of why you are going to the gym. It is only a small change to make, but it can make a huge change.


You Will Feel Uncomfortable 

One of the most important things to understand is that it is normal to feel uncomfortable. When we try something new, our brains and bodies feel uncomfortable which raises feelings of anxiety. If you are new to the gym or certain exercises, you need to overcome these fears and push through the day. It is no use letting your intrusive thoughts get the better of you and stops you from getting the most out of your workout. Understand that everyone has been in your position before, and it is okay to feel anxiety. It is normal! 


Avoid Comparing 

We are all guilty of comparing ourselves with others. Whether the comparison is with fitness influencers we see online or people we see in the gym. These thoughts can lead to overthinking, and therefore bring on anxiety in the gym. Do not compare yourself to others, and know that they all were in the same potion as you at some point. It is not wrong to wish you were as physically fit as someone else, but also to know that it is possible to reach the same level of fitness in your own body. Love yourself, and avoid comparing. We are all unique after all.


Attend With a Friend 

Going to the gym with a friend is a great way to avoid any gym anxiety that comes about when you are just starting. If your friend is a beginner or even an experienced gym attendee, they are a good support system to have as you are trying to figure things out. They will be especially helpful when you are looking for someone to encourage you throughout the workout if you feel like giving up. Keep pushing, and use each other as a resource to reach your goals together.


Enlist a Professional

If you do not have any close friends who are looking to start their fitness journey, the next best option would be to pay for a professional. This would include paying for a personal trainer, as long as you have the budget to do so. Personal trainers spend their working days in the gym, so they are the best people to join you just as you are trying to figure things out. There are so many different exercises to choose from and this can get overwhelming. Your trainers will be able to make a bespoke workout plan for you, which can help you get the hang of things faster and reach your goals sooner.


Try New Equipment 

Off the topic of using a personal trainer, you should also be experimenting with new equipment. Anxiety can arise when looking at all of the equipment thinking that you will never be experienced enough to use it. The best thing to overcome your gym anxiety is to try all of the equipment out to get a feel for it. Make sure that there is someone to spot you and guide you through using the machines, in addition to using a low weight on each machine whilst you perfect the movements.


Plan Workouts Before 

Also, if you have anxiety about attending the gym by yourself, you should plan your workouts before you get to the gym. Anxiety in the gym can arise when you feel lost and stuck on what workouts to do. This can be a big time waster, and it even leads to some people leaving the gym feeling unaccomplished. Try to plan your workouts before. Use videos from fitness influencers for inspiration for beginner's workouts if you are stuck.


Plan a Comfortable Outfit 

It is common for people who deal with anxiety to feel self-conscious of their bodies whilst they are starting on their fitness journeys. Wearing clothing for your workouts that not only makes you feel good but feel comfortable is key if you want to have an anxiety and distraction-free workout. If you want to, consider investing in new gym sets with your favourite colours, or even treat yourself to some new hi-tec trainers that will support your joints during your workout, 


Avoid Sugary Drinks 

The final thing to keep in mind to reduce your anxiety levels in the gym is to avoid sugary drinks. High levels of sugar tend to bring on the feeling of anxiety due to spikes in our glucose levels. Too much glucose can cause us to experience things such as shakes and also racing thoughts. Sugary drinks are marketed to give you energy during the workout, when in fact they give you a spike, which quickly gives you a drop which can leave you feeling negative and lethargic. Avoid sugary drinks before the gym, but if you need energy consider having a coffee instead.


Bottom Line

We all start as beginners when it comes to fitness. The athletes that seem to rule the weights section all started from the bottom and likely experienced anxiety. The long-distance runners who win gold medals all had their first races and perhaps didn't win. Simply just starting is an achievement in itself, and you will slowly begin to feel less and less anxiety the more time you spend in the gym.

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