Overcoming gym anxiety in 2023

If you’ve signed up to the gym already this year – well done! We know it’s a big step – it certainly was when we first joined!

Heading to the gym for the first time or even after an extended break can be a very daunting experience, especially if you are quite self-conscious about the way you look. Feeling a little anxious or nervous about it is normal but please don’t let these feelings stop you from going! A lot of overcoming a lack of confidence in the gym or gym anxiety is centered around managing your negative or anxious thoughts. Here are some of the main ones that hold people back:

“I’m not fit enough to go to the gym”.
You do NOT need to be fit to go to the gym. It doesn’t matter if you’re not “in shape”. The gym is where you go to work on your goals!

“Everyone will stare at me.”
No one is looking at you. No one is judging you. We promise. Everyone is there to work on themselves.

“I don’t belong there. I’ll just get in everyone’s way.”
You DO belong there. You have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else.

We know it’s easier said than done, but realising that these thoughts you are having aren’t actually true is the first step to overcoming the apprehension you feel about going to the gym.

Let’s discuss a few other things that may help you feel more comfortable and confident…

Pick the right gym for you

There are a lot of different types of gyms. While people of all ages and abilities are welcome at any commercial gym, you might find that some gyms have a particular demographic (e.g hardcore bodybuilders). If you know that this is something that will only add to your intimidation, choose a different gym that you think will make you feel more comfortable. Taking a tour of a gym and doing a trial will allow you to experience the gym before you sign up.

Go with a friend

Training with a friend will make you feel more relaxed and confident in the gym. This can also help with motivation and accountability!

Follow a training program

Get yourself a structured training program to follow or write down your workout before you go to the gym. Going in with a plan will help avoid feelings of uncertainty or wandering around.

Choose your outfit carefully

Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Make sure you squat test your tights before you go – there’s nothing worse than constantly wondering if your pants are see-through on leg day! Wear darker coloured clothes if sweat patches make you anxious.

Make a gym playlist

Put on your headphones and get in the zone! Put together a motivating playlist of all your favourite songs and focus on what you need to get done. This will help make you less concerned with the people around you and more focused on YOU.

Go at a quiet time

If your life schedule allows it, choose a time to go that isn’t a peak time! This will help you feel less overwhelmed.

Hire a personal trainer

If you’re not overly confident with your form, then hire a PT for a few sessions to help show you how to use all the machines and help correct your form until you get the hang of it. This will help boost your confidence for when you train by yourself!

The more you go to the gym, the more comfortable you’ll feel about it and the less anxiety you’ll have around it. Please don’t let anyone discourage you about showing up and working towards your goals – no matter what they are! Make 2023 the year you face your fears and achieve the things you’ve always wanted!


If you need help with a structured training program to follow in the gym (or at home!) our New Year Better You Challenge is perfect for you! Tap here for more info.

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