Having to go the gym to get back in shape is like a catch-22 – you got to go to the gym to get in shape but you feel like you have to be in shape before you can go.
This is especially true if you feel like you’ve been the most out of shape you’ve ever been and you’re really self-conscious about it.
We all have to face this fear of intimidation when we’re a complete gym newbie.
For me, it started in college when I was a cardio addict. Cardio was something I could not mess up and get myself injured.
When I started lifting I spent most of my time in the emptier part of the gym using machines. There was no one to judge me and most importantly I didn’t feel like everyone was staring at me. At first, I didn’t know what I was doing and being around people who were fitter than me intimidated me to no end!
Many years later and loving the weight lifting lifestyle the weight section of any gym no longer intimidates me. Here I will share 3 mindset tips I used early on to crush gymtimidation so that you can eliminate the anxiety that stops you from becoming a fitter, healthier version of yourself.
Mindset Tip #1 –Think of the most confident person you know
Hands down my favorite holiday has always been Halloween. There was something exhilarating and liberating about dressing up to be whoever you wanted for one evening. It was like a magical transformation and I could be whoever I wanted and no one would know who I was.
Dressing up on Halloween taught me an important lesson: I could change how I acted without changing who I was. For one evening, I could be a completely different person on the outside.
Of course you cannot dress up at the gym but you can apply the same principle.
Think about the most confident person you know. This is the person whose confidence you’d like to borrow for a day and know that are able to handle any situation with ease.
Who is that person for you?
What does their posture look like and how do they carry themselves?
What do you think they’re saying to themselves when faced with a nerve wracking situation?
More importantly how would they act and think in the gym if they were right there next to you facing the same obstacles of anxiety and self-conscious that you are?
The next time you’re at the gym pretend you are them and adopt their behavior and their mindset.
Eventually overtime by borrowing this confident person’s behaviors your own internal attitude towards being in the weight room will gradually shift to becoming more confident and less anxiety ridden.
When you change your behavior first to match what you want to become your identity will soon follow.
Mindset Tip #2 – Plan, Prepare, Act
One of the biggest results from gymtimidation is the fear of looking like you don’t know what you’re doing and feeling that you’re being judged for it.
No matter how many times people tell that no one is paying attention to you it still won’t make you feel better.
How you’re feeling on the gym floor is real and it can be paralyzing. You develop anxiety around these fit people because they look like they know what they’re doing and you don’t.
They have a workout routine and you don’t.
They know where to start their workouts and you don’t.
By using my three step mindset tip you will boost your confidence on the gym floor.
Here’s how it works.
Step #1 is to Plan.
Before you hit the gym think about what kind of workout you have in mind.
Is today a cardio day? Are you trying out a new leg exercise or exploring some new machines? Do you have a new exercise routine you want to try out?
Think about and plan your workout before you head to the gym.
This will help you because then you are focused on what to do instead of thinking what you should do. Having purpose will help you get over that feeling of people staring at you and getting overwhelmed with anxiety.
Step #2 is to Prepare.
One of things that I always have in my gym bag is my notebook and a pen. I use it to write down what I plan to do at the gym so I won’t have to fluff around figuring out what to do and waste time on the floor thinking.
You should do the same. It’ll help you organize your workout routine as well as keep track of your progress which will keep you motivated to keep up your work out.
What I also do to prepare is to Google or Youtube videos of new exercises that I plan to try out on the gym floor. I learn as much as I can about the new exercise and practice the exercise in my room so that I can confidently do it when I’m at the gym.
Lastly, to prepare is to mentally visualize and rehearse your workout in your head. See yourself navigating through the gym, confidently doing your planned workout and feeling accomplished afterwards. Visualization will help to maximize your confidence level.
Step #3 is to Act.
It’s time to execute and follow through with your plan.
It’s okay if it doesn’t go perfectly as you had planned it but by completing step one and two before you hit the gym you’ll feel much more secure with your workouts.
Mindset Tip #3 – Change Your State
This is a tip I borrowed from Tony Robbins who is the master of all life coaches.
He says your behavior is determined by your decisions.
If you want to change your decisions you need to change your thinking and if you want to have different thoughts it needs to come from changing the way you feel.
For example, if you feel anxious about the gym you’re going to start having self-conscious thoughts. These thoughts will feelings of uncertainty and feeling intimidated. When you feel this way it’s going to result in a lack of confidence in your workouts.
What ends up happening is that you’re going to end up spending maybe 5 minutes picking up some dumbbells and then leaving the gym because you’re terrified.
So in that moment how do you quickly change the way you feel to alter your behavior?
Create a playlist that makes you feel on top of the world and generates strong positive feelings for you. Listening to your playlist will help you change your state from uncertainty and anxiety to feeling badass and confident.
Start by thinking about how you want to feel in the gym and create a playlist that will help you feel that way. When you change the way you feel, you will have different thoughts which will lead to different behaviors.
I guarantee that your choice of music will change the way you feel during your workouts.
Apply these 3 mindset tips to smash gymtimidation so that you can be a healthier, fitter version of yourself and love the way you look and feel.