Don’t let insecurities derail your ability to make satisfying changes to your body and mind. Fitness expert Kandace Hudspeth is here to show you how to be completely comfortable when you’re drenched in sweat.
Being afraid of the gym is probably one of the most common barriers to accomplishing your fitness goals – but it’s not actually the gym that inspires fear.
Yes, it may be unfamiliar territory, but let’s really think about why so many of us create this phobia. Are we worried about not fitting in, looking silly or maybe just unconfident in our ability to perform?
It’s not them, it’s you
Almost every time I have this conversation, it comes down to being worried about what everyone else will think, when the reality is that 99% of gym-goers are focused on themselves and not actually paying attention to you. Take comfort in that because if it sounds like you then you need to have a conversation with yourself and work out why you want to enter a gym in the first place.
The answer you should come up with is: I want to get better, healthier, do something for me and have more energy. Keep this goal in mind anytime you hear or say the word gym, which you should think of as your place to improve and make yourself a priority.
Anytime a thought pops into your head about what someone else might be thinking, force yourself to stop and really assess what impact that other person has on your ability to get better. The reality is that no one in the gym or anywhere should matter. You are there to progress towards your goal. Your first task should be to focus your thoughts on you and your aims.
Once you are thinking purely about yourself, you should consider what other reasons may be causing your phobia to linger. For instance, you may not be confident in your ability, or nervous about doing an exercise incorrectly. This is really a knowledge gap. And just like any other similar situation when we decide to learn something new, we have to put in the time discovering, studying and understanding
When we have the knowledge, our confidence builds. So your second task becomes studying. Study the gym, exercises you want to perform but have never tried, the type of training program you want to use, the layout of your gym and where you’ll be at what time in your workout. At this point you’ll be focused on your personal goals and will have gained fundamental knowledge about the gym and your training program.
Team work makes the dream work
Your third task should be to gain support through accountability. Make friends with the person at the front desk so they start expecting your visit. Say hello or just smile at the people at the gym during your training time so that they begin to expect to see you. Ask a friend to join you, join a group fitness class or even work with a trainer. These people will help you more than you realize, especially on those morning when you don’t want to get out of bed but know they’ll be there, expecting to see you.
This will motivate you. Build relationships with people who have similar goals and who care about keeping you accountable. These three steps should help you eliminate your gym phobia. Beyond these steps, time and consistency will build comfort and confidence. You got this.
Find fitness advice and more in every issue of TRAIN for HER magazine.