From so Fraud to so Fetch: The Truth about Exercise Anxiety

Well, welcome back!

I’m just curious if you’d be so kind…
raise your hand if any of you have felt personally victimized by an LA Fitness.

Here is the part where I hope I’m not the only one raising my hand.

Now hear me out, working out in public is hard. Gyms can be very anxiety-inducing.
So many things can run through your mind when you step into a gym, like:

“Do I really belong here?”
“Where do I even start?”
“I can feel people staring, is everyone around me judging me?”
“I have no Idea what this machine is called. Is my form even right?”

It’s thoughts like these that can taper motivation and stop a workout regimen altogether.
You better believe that I’ve compared myself to the girl next to me on the treadmill thinking, “Oh this is like a GYM gym.” All because she was sprinting without breaking a sweat. I, on the other hand, felt like I was dying.

The truth is, there is always going to be that one person in the yoga class that has the ability to turn themselves into a human pretzel while you slipped setting down your own mat.
There is always going to be that person that can lift more weight than you. There is always going to be that person who makes 100 pull-ups look like a cake walk,



Being someone that has social anxiety, exercising around people I don’t know sets my heart racing. I’d cover up in the largest sweaters. I’d never take my sunglasses. I'd always keep my headphones securely in place. I was hoping that these tactics made me somehow invisible.

As it turns out, exercise anxiety is an actual thing that a majority of people new to the lifestyle may experience. As crazy as it might sound, many people with exercise anxiety don’t feel fit enough to use a gym.
It’s a little backward, but most of us feel uneasy about going to the gym because we are unfit, yet to get fit we would like to go to the gym.
This creates a vicious cycle of self-doubt and plateaued progress across the board.

Have no fear precious readers, I have some tips to help ease the anxiety along the way.

Let’s start with the problem of feeling like you don’t belong. This is because you don’t feel like you're a member of the “club”, so to speak. Everything is unfamiliar. The feeling of belonging should grow as you become more familiar with your new surroundings.
Try making one friend, even if it’s just a quick hello to the welcome receptionist. It sets the tone for your time there. It also helps you feel more comfortable in the space. Once you have the momentum to befriend one person then try for another. Eventually, you will be seen as part of the “club.”

Now let’s move on to where to start when it comes to training sessions. With the mix of machines and equipment at most gyms, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what is best for you. Start with what you know.
Don't be afraid to start off easy. If you want to just walk the treadmill for an hour and go home, you still get a pat on the back. This is actually where my favorite past time comes into the picture. PEOPLE WATCHING. By people watching, you can observe different workouts that seem like something you may want to try. Just remember to be more of a casual observer than stage 5 clinger.

Now we move on to the issue of feeling judgment in the gym. This can be so crippling. Our assumed thoughts can be so loud that, that’s all we hear. But the honest and objective truth is that the majority of people you pass, don’t even give you a second thought, let alone pass judgment on you. But knowing that and feeling that are two different things.
Try getting a workout buddy, a comfortable conversation can distract the overwhelming voices in our heads.

Lastly, is the problem of not knowing what the hell you’re doing. More likely than not, you will have come across a machine and have no idea what it is and how to use it. This is why Google is my best friend.
Research the equipment the best that you can. Learn how it can be beneficial to you before giving it a shot. I called a bosu ball a half-moon rubber ball for the longest time until I researched the different ways to utilize the tool.

Everyone is a beginner at some point, there is no shame in our exercise game, I promise.
Does anyone else have a funny name for an exercise or piece of equipment that they use in their routines? Because half-moon rubber ball just rolls off the tongue.

Until next time, lovely readers…

-Bianca A.

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