Dealing with gym anxiety

 Gym anxiety is a very real phenomenon. In fact, more people experience it than you think. There are 4 main reasons people might get gym anxiety: feeling uncertain; comparing yourself to others, feeling judged, or feeling like you don’t belong. Any number of these can prevent someone from joining a gym, but is there anything substantial behind these fears?

Here is how you can get over gym anxiety and combat the fears you might have when looking at joining Primal Life Gym.

Fear of embarrassment

When you think of working out, you may think of sweat and grunting, or you may think of something a whole lot different! Either way, the likelihood is that what you’re thinking of looks aesthetically pleasing – smooth and controlled movement, big muscles, and maybe even popularity. However, for the most part this isn’t the case, especially for gym beginners.

This is where uncertainty and feeling judged comes into play. Due to your uncertainty about what you are doing with your workouts, you may fear being judged by other gym goers. However, the reality is that they are often more concerned with their own workout (and maybe just as concerned about being judged) than they are about yours.

Working out and leading a healthier lifestyle does lead to a greater boost in confidence and self esteem, so the likelihood is this: as silly as you feel at first, you’re likely to feel on top of the world a few months later. Just read Sarah’s story on CityX [https://cityx.co.uk/2020/01/a-primal-journey-cityx-teams-up-with-primal-life-gym-for-10-month-body-transformation/] to see what we mean!

Looking weak or out of shape

Another part of this mythical aesthetic you may imagine is whether or not your body looks ‘good’ enough. You may imagine everyone in the gym to look like The Rock or Chris Hemsworth, but in reality the majority of people who join the gym are there for the same reasons – to lose a bit of weight, to tone up, or to maintain those goals once they’ve reached them. Either way, Primal Life Gym is a judgement-free zone. 

If these goals were achievable with minimal effort, then the likelihood is that gyms wouldn’t even exist. However, that is not the case. To reach those goals it often takes dedication, time, and a significant change in your lifestyle and mindset. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle mass, you may need to make dietary lifestyle changes to accommodate your new calorie intake and macronutrient requirements.

For more information on fat loss and muscle gain check out 8 Tips For Building Muscle Mass and 10 Habits That Will Help With Fat Loss over on the Primal Life Online blog.

Using equipment incorrectly

Using equipment correctly at the gym isn’t just a matter of looking cool – it is also a matter of health and safety. Lifting too much weight, not being spotted correctly (or at all), or having bad technique are just a few things that could potentially lead to injury. As a result, it can be scary when you don’t know how to use that big machine in front of you, or understand how much weight you can deal with.

Luckily, there is not such thing as a stupid question – talking to gym staff, asking questions, and paying attention to a trainer’s advice are all parts of the learning process. Therefore, it shouldn’t hold you back. Everyone at some point was ‘the newbie’ at their gym. Whether they’d lifted some weights at home, or never touched a piece of exercise equipment in their life, they would have had to learn new things.

Going to an induction session or getting a personal trainer at Primal Life Gym is one way in which you can get over this. For your designated session, their focus is solely on you – helping you to grow as a person as well as help you exercise. By holding yourself accountable, getting that extra bit of support, and a personal bank of exercise knowledge, you’ll quickly get used to working out at a strength and conditioning gym like Primal Life Gym.

Macho environment

Sometimes the gym environment is what prevents someone from joining up, not so much as the physical bricks and mortar, or the kinds of people attending the gym. For many the issue is that it all seems too ‘macho’ – someone who isn’t very masculine or ‘tough’ would stand out like a sore thumb. Furthermore, you may feel like gym goers don’t tend to have the same interests as you do. This isn’t the case.

Taking a look around the gym and meeting some of the people who work and exercise there is a great way to get to know them and the environment you’d be working out in. Once you’ve experienced that, it is likely that you’ll feel more comfortable with the venue. For example, you may find that the tough looking guy lifting weights in the corner is actually a big softy, or they could have the exact same gaming interests as you. Give people a chance and you may be surprised. 

Intimidating atmosphere

For some people, intimidation – whether deliberate or not – can really put someone off a gym. For example, women may find a group of men surrounding the weights a scary sight, so they may stick to the cardio area where it is quieter. Sometimes they may have experienced sexual harassment while exercising, too. Primal Life Gym has a 100% zero-tolerance policy on any kind of harassment in our gym. We are proud to say this has never happened, but in the unlikely event that it does, swift action will be taken.

Similarly, any form of discrimination within our gym will not be tolerated. That is why we have made a commitment to being equal and accessible to all. For example, our facilities are non-gendered and accessible, with individual toilets and showers for anyone to use. As a result, those who may not conform to binary gender norms and/or may have a disability are able to come and work out with the knowledge that they can have the freedom to do so in a safe and inclusive environment.

Commitment anxiety

Just like any part of life, committing to something is a big step. What if you join up, then realise you can’t leave for a year when you actually want to leave a month in? Some gyms do have an overly complicated quitting process designed to make you give up and keep paying membership fees, even if you’re not attending anymore. At Primal Life, that is not the case – joining up and moving on are both super easy thanks to a month by month no-contract membership with no commitment. Another option is a 3-month contract, which can be paused at any time.

However, with any gym it’s a great idea to look for taster sessions, talk to the gym staff beforehand, and get to understand what you’re getting yourself into. Learning about the process (and knowing whether the gym does it well) will help you to lose some of that commitment anxiety.

Overall, keeping an open and curious mindset can help with combatting commitment anxiety, as you will be able to adapt and learn as you move through different phases of your fitness journey. Whether you’re scared of what others will think of your image and technique, or whether the environment of the gym terrifies you, putting yourself out there and giving the gym a chance to impress you will help.

Expectations are exactly that… expectations – what you expect is not necessarily what will be a reality. We are offering free induction days this weekend (7th & 8th August) to give you the chance to come down and check it all out for yourself. Meet the team, check out the equipment, and learn about how Primal Life Gym can help you feel happy and healthy.

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