There are shocking statistics that show that women avoid going to gym over anxiety about being judged.
Is this fear real, or is it perceived and unfounded? Many women can relate to this. This can come from various reasons that include personal body insecurities, fear of not looking “fit enough,” not knowing what to do or where to start, comparing themselves to the stereotypical gym goer, what to wear, etc. This kind of anxiety possibly roots from a lack of confidence in an unknown space and sometimes in oneself.
Most fitness centers strive for a “No Judgement” space ethic. This is often communicated either on their websites, through newsletters, etc. by highlighting that their space is “friendly” zone. The use of key phrases such as, “join our community/tribe, etc.” are almost always part of a fitness facility’s marketing material and values.
Gym staff and personal trainers are some of the friendliest people I know, as their job is to retain You as a member.
The truth is once you are brave enough and go into a gym you will realise very quickly that your fears were exactly that: just fear. As a Fitness Professional, I spend, on average, seven hours a day in gym and therefore I see a lot.
Routine gym goers are almost always very focused on their workouts. They mean business and often plug their headphones and just get on with it. Their 30 minutes or hour in gym is their “me time” where they train and de-stress. This kind of behaviour can sometimes be perceived as being standoff-ish. What you will realise is that once you get into the swing of things yourself, you will probably find yourself in the same shoes.
Here are a few tips on how you can overcome this anxiety.
- Research on what the gym has to offer so that you get an idea of what you are walking into.
- Join a facility that has great client service reviews, as this will possibly lessen your anxiety.
- Have some sort of plan when it comes to what you will do when you arrive.
- Perhaps pick a time during the day when there is less traffic (off peak).
- Pick out clothing that makes you feel comfortable, e.g. even when you break a sweat.
- Perhaps ask a friend to accompany you on your first visit to the gym.
- Accept the gym induction session from the floor instructors that help to show you how to properly use machines safely and effectively.
- A good playlist with feel good tunes is always good for lifting up your mood and easing anxiety.
- Engage a Personal Trainer as the burden of figuring out what you will do in gym will now be theirs and not yours.
- Think about why you decided to start gym and let that motivate you to start.
- Social media communities (like this subreddit) of healthy gym goers are bursting with motivation and encouragement. Join one.
Refuse to allow anyone, anything and especially fear to keep you from being the best version of You. Focus on the possibility (what you will achieve towards your goals in a few months).