The gym, specifically the weight room, can be a very intimidating place, especially true for those just beginning their fitness journeys.
It's comforting to think about the fact that the gym is a place where people go to improve their physical fitness levels; everyone is there to work on themselves. There are individuals at all different points in their journeys, with different goals in mind, and with different strengths.
Strength training will allow you to achieve big things. Don’t let your fears interfere with your goals. Though it will take some time to get comfortable, working out will improve confidence in every aspect of life.
Here are some comforting things to remember that can help you curb your gym anxiety:
You deserve to take up space. No matter your fitness level, you deserve to be in the gym, using equipment, and taking up space.
We all start somewhere. Everyone was a beginner at some point. Every single person started exercising at some point and entered the gym for a first time at some point. You're no exception. It’s easy to look at someone and think they had/have it easier than you do, but I promise you they dedicated so much time and energy over several months and years to achieve what they have today.
Don't compare yourself to others. It's you vs. you. That girl who is squatting 200 pounds has probably been lifting weights for years. Just like you, she had to start somewhere and was in your shoes at one point. Don’t let this intimidate you; if anything, let that motivate you. Be proud of yourself for doing the best you can and know that with consistency, you’ll achieve your goals.
Realize people aren't focused on you. When you feel out of place, it's easy to feel like everyone is watching your every move. Either (a) they're so concentrated on their own workout and are in their own little world or (b) they very well may feel the same intimidation you do. If someone is watching you, they might want to use a piece of equipment you
And if they are, then that says a lot more about them than it does you.
You’re at the gym for you and nobody else. You’re not there to impress anyone; you’re there to work on yourself and your body. Don’t allow others to make you feel otherwise.
Starting is the hardest part. Any new environment, whether it be a new job or the first day of class, can often make us feel uncomfortable and fill us with anxiety. The good news is the first time will be the hardest and it will only get easier from there. Your confidence will build with time. Your workout library will expand. Each time you step foot in the gym you will feel more and more empowered.