If hitting the gym makes you feel like hiding out in the locker room, these tips may help.
Sweat. Racing pulse. A sudden desire to run.
These are all common things at the gym, but they’re also symptoms of anxiety. And if you’re someone who deals with anxiety while working out, a double dose of all that may be too much to handle.
Anxiety can strike in a lot of different fitness-related scenarios. It can overwhelm you during an intense spin class; it can make you feel like you’re drowning while you’re swimming laps. Sometimes it occurs long before you’ve even set foot in the gym.
However it happens, worry while working out sucks. It can derail your fitness goals and rob you of the chance to experience those super awesome endorphins people get from a good sweat sesh.
Here's the thing: anxiety while working out is totally normal. And you—yes, you—can totally conquer it.
What is gym anxiety?
Okay, so let’s talk about what all this is first. It's a real thing, and it definitely doesn't get discussed much in the locker room. Anxiety at the gym is like anxiety anywhere else: the symptoms vary by person, but they include shortness of breath, dizziness, sweat, rapid heart rate, inability to focus, and worst of all, straight-up panic. Anxiety can happen before you get there, while you’re in the locker room, while you’re working out, or even after you’ve finished.
Anxiety while working out happens to a lot of folks; calm down by letting go
The first step to overcoming anxiety at the gym is to remind yourself that it happens to so, so, so many people.
Seriously. Maybe even that dude with the ripped biceps or the woman in the complex pretzel position at the front of the yoga class. Everyone has felt insecure, out of place, out of shape, or straight-up goofy at some point.
Remind yourself that you’re not alone.
Identify the trigger
Think about your worry. Really picture it. Does a specific scenario come to mind?
The key here is recognizing your triggers that can lead to anxiety while working out. And how to calm down starts with identifying them. So what are your triggers?
Common causes of gym anxiety include not knowing how to use the equipment, comparing oneself to others, feeling judged, changing in front of people in the locker room, and feeling like you don’t belong in group classes.
A lot of it can be boiled down to social anxiety, but identifying the specific scenario that sets it off for you—a group class, a crowded weight room, etc.—can help you make a game plan.
Preparation is key
Now, about that game plan.
Once you’ve figured out the scenarios that trigger your anxiety, it’s time to strategize to deal with ‘em. If you're worried that you'll be mocked for not knowing how to use the equipment, look up how to do it before you hit the gym, or ask someone at the front desk if they do tours, tutorials, or personal training sessions.
You can also prepare by buying some new workout clothes that make you feel confident or choose a time to go that won't be crowded. Or just by listening to "Eye of the Tiger" again and again and again.
Safety in numbers
Still freaked out? Ask a friend or your partner to be your gym buddy. The situation is a lot less daunting when you’ve got someone to motivate you on the elliptical… or talk you into skipping the weight room altogether and grabbing smoothies from the juice bar.
Pump up the jams
A good playlist can do wonders for lowering anxiety at the gym. Create one before you hit the facility and choose songs that promote feel-good vibes.
You’ll be wearing headphones, so no one is going to judge your love of Celine Dion; trust us.
Calm down with a good sweat session. And try CBD for those everyday Scaries!
Legitimate, recurring anxiety—especially the kind that keeps you from leaving the house and living life—is a diagnosable condition that may call for some professional help. But everyone worries sometimes, and sometimes racing thoughts, apprehension, and second-guessing strike everyone—at the gym or not.
If you’re feeling like you need some help getting out of your own head and refreshing your state of mind before a workout, remember: working out will likely calm you down! And we suggest giving CBD a try before you hit the elliptical.
CBD gummies can help you chill out and take the edge off, so you concentrate on what matters: slaying those fools at cycling or losing yourself in an intense HIIT routine.
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