Lifting weights was the number 1 thing that helped me my self-confidence and reach my physique goals. It’s weird to think that lifting heavy weights can change your self-image, but as someone who works best with hard numbers and even harder truths, this was the best thing that I could have started because the weights don’t lie.
Progress is measurable, you see the changes happening. Two weeks ago I couldn’t bench 100 lbs, but today I can. I hold onto that whenever I start to doubt myself, or think that everything’s falling down around me. I am stronger than I was 2 years ago, fact.
Here are 3 Ways to Overcome Gym Anxiety & Start Lifting
1. Start from the outside and work your way in.
People tend to feel more comfortable around the edges of the room than they do in the center. And most gyms know this. Next time you set foot in a gym or a fitness center, take a look around. I’ll bet you most of the machines are placed along the walls so that people who may not feel comfortable in the center of the gym have a place to start. Use this to your advantage.
Commit to using just one machine, one isolated from the rest of the gym. Or maybe pull a mat somewhere you feel comfortable and bring a set of dumbbells over to you. Next time you’re there, try a machine closer to the center. Inch your mat just a little bit closer. Over time, you’ll start to feel more and more comfortable being around weights, more confident that you know what you’re doing.
2. Learn one movement at a time.
So maybe you’re not ready to hop into the squat rack and attempt one of those cool workout videos you saw on instagram. That’s okay.
Start simple, then work your way up. There are so many great (free) resources out there for people looking to get stronger and build muscle. Look up programs online, find one or two movements you want to start doing, then do a bit of research on how to safely perform them.
Looking up how to squat properly on youtube before you go to squat for the first time will make you feel more confident that what you’re doing is ok. Ask a trainer at your gym if you’re performing the movement correctly. Once you’ve mastered one movement, you can transition to the next. Soon enough, you’ll be doing whole routines with no anxiety whatsoever.
3. Buddy up.
Finding someone to go to the gym with you is probably the easiest way to feel more comfortable lifting weights. If you know someone who’s already an avid gym-goer, even better. This, of course, may not be possible and probably won’t work forever if your schedules don’t align. While having a gym buddy at first can be a great way to acclimate yourself to a new environment, make sure not to only go to the gym when your friend is there. This is something you are doing for yourself, and you deserve to give yourself the space to do that.
No One is Paying Attention to You
Most people are concerned with one thing at the gym – themselves. Don’t be afraid of people around you, be confident that you know what you’re doing and secure enough to ask for help if you don’t. Don’t compare yourself to others, we’re all on out own journeys for ourselves.