Gym Anxiety/Fears?

  • son1fan

    Posts: 2

    Mar 28, 2012 7:02 PM GMT
    So i'v been an on/off gym guy since I was about 16 when I joined the YMCA and lost alot of weight doing cardio. Now, i'v been going on and off ever since and im 23 now. One thing that has stuck with my was that "fat kid" mentality. I still feel like i'm fat even though i'm down to 155. I try my best to hit the gym and I do some weight training but lately i'v been having alot of anxiety about going. I can do cardio fine but i'm looking to gain weight and muscle mass so hitting the weights is the only option for me now. Does anyone know of any good ways to overcome this?

    I realised that when I go to the gym in the early morning (between 7-9am and late evening 9-11pm) my anxiety subsides a bit because the gym is less packed and intimidating. icon_confused.gif
  • gwuinsf

    Posts: 525

    Mar 28, 2012 8:26 PM GMT
    I will let you in on a secret. At the gym, no one is looking at you. They're looking at the freaky guy working out in pink dolphin shorts, or they're looking at the super hot guy in the tank top. At any gym there are plenty of out of shape people at the gym. That's why they're there! Why should there be any particular focus on you? All of the insecurity is in your head and the reality is that most people are just focusing on their own exercising.

    Another way to think about this is all those body insecurities are going to be wiped away the more you get yourself to the gym. So stop being silly and go work out!
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    Mar 28, 2012 8:34 PM GMT
    Everyone has to start somewhere. No one started out as a big guy. Most of the experienced guys are fine and they will appreciate the fact that you are putting in and effort. So long as you aren't doing stupid shit in the gm like throwing weights around, sitting at equipment and talking on your phone endlessly, behaving like and ass.. etc.

    The serious people are there to work out and will pretty much ignore you and do their stuff.

    Spend time learning on training and diet and that will help you in the long run. make sure that you learn things as there is a lot of broscience out there which is counter productive.
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    Mar 28, 2012 8:35 PM GMT
    If it works for your schedule, keep doing the early morning or late evening thing. I tend to workout really early in the mornings (5AM) partially to avoid that same feeling of self consciousness that you're feeling. Also, because at 5AM, the weight room is less musty, less packed (little to no waiting for equipment), it's easier for me to "zone out" and concentrate.
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    Mar 29, 2012 5:08 AM GMT
    Most people aren't looking at you - they're too involved with reviewing their ipod playlists.

    Refer also to the several existing threads on the fat kid mentality, most notably and
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    Mar 29, 2012 5:28 AM GMT
    Get over it. There are fatter, skinnier, less coordinated people in every gym. Remember that.
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    Mar 29, 2012 6:02 AM GMT
    Most people are looking at the hot dude, over muscular hunk, or the guy that is grunting way too loud and leaving his weights on the machine. I sometimes see an overly fat person working out but normally don't give it a second thought except that great they are actually working out. It may takes years to overcome gym anxiety. Listen to instructors. They usually say to focus on a spot on the floor and concentrate on taking deep breaths or short breaths depending on what you are working on. Practice makes perfect. There will always be uncomfortable times in your life...throughout life.
  • suedeheadscot

    Posts: 1130

    Mar 29, 2012 7:33 AM GMT
    I HAVE got this in the past - its always feeling like a complete twat when you're trying to learn and build up, and there's some complete musclemarys around kicking the shit out of the weights.

    I'm not going to repeat the advice given above already as it stands - hang on in there and keep at it, the anxiety will go! Can you find a gym buddy at all?
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    Mar 29, 2012 8:03 AM GMT
    I was terrified of going to the gym.

    I expected pointing and laughing - like when I was a kid in PE class. (Cue flashback scene...)

    It did not happen. The best way to overcome it is to face it. Go and keep going. Soon, people will expect to see you there and no one will think otherwise. Honestly, nor will they care.
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    Mar 29, 2012 8:11 AM GMT
    Yes. As others have said you just have to get through it. There will come a time that you will feel confident enough that you will not feel as you do now. You are experiencing something normal that a lot of us have also had to deal with.

    You've identified a good coping strategy though... Go when it's less busy.

    Good luck! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 29, 2012 12:09 PM GMT
    i have a secret about the gym: everyone there (not matter what shape they are in now) started off looking WAY less buff than they do now.

    this is because at one point they were just like you and decided they wanted to improve themselves. each of them has faced the EXACT same anxiety - am i good enough? are other people looking at me? i'm i too skinny? am i too fat? am i too old? am i out of shape? everyone there is going for the same purpose - to look and feel better about themselves.

    keep going. do your thing, no matter what time or activity you feel comfortable with. challenge yourself. you'll be better for it!

    i don't like going when its packed either. but sometimes its better cuz you'll see other people doing the exercises you want to do to, and you can learn from them, or get ideas for other exercises. don't be afraid to ask for help - either from the attendants or from other members. most people are happy to help.

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    Mar 29, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    I used to get like this when I went to the gym, and I realised it was because I thought it was a competition. Who can lift the heaviest weight, etc etc. But it's not. It's about making gains at your pace. I don't care if I can only curl 10kg dumbells and the guy next to me can curl 30kg ones - I'm not aiming to lift 30kgs ones. Just go and do your thing, and you'll be fine icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 29, 2012 12:52 PM GMT
    You're a cutie, so you might turn a few heads. Better get used to it.
    As for anxiety, it only gets worse if you chicken out. But also better when you expose yourself to it.
    Good luck!
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    Mar 29, 2012 1:41 PM GMT
    Everyone gets self conscious at the gym, especially if you are working out near those studly guys putting up incredible amounts of weight with the 'perfect body'.

    What got me over that self-depreciating attitude was realizing, "You're here... and that means you're better than everyone else who DIDNT go to the gym today". No one cares about anyone else at the gym... do you really care about that out of shape overweight guy, starting to lift weights and do cardio? No... because HES THERE. Good for you, and him.
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:13 PM GMT
    it's not all about u - in other words, they are not lookin at u dude
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    Mar 29, 2012 2:31 PM GMT
    5'10" 155lbs is a great build. And you're a cutie. What are you talking about?

    First, you'll do yourself a big favour if you can stop worrying about what other people think of you. Care more about what you think of them.

    Second, you might ask if this fear-of-what-gym-people-think-of-you is manifesting in similar ways in other parts of your life. If there's a pattern, you'd be wise to get a handle on it.

    Third, you'll get more respect from dedicated gym folks by being disciplined and friendly. Being thin is secondary at best.
  • NYCAthlete

    Posts: 132

    Mar 29, 2012 2:32 PM GMT
    The biggest secret in life is thy everyone has the same fears and anxiety as you, no matter how self-confident they appear. Every muscle guy in that gym is pumping iron because they don't think they look good enough and every skinny girl is on a treadmill because they dont think they're attractive enough.

    The gym is the place where you do work on yourself so you can present yourself to the world in a way that you like. Don't worry about what you look like at the gym! Concentrate on doing the work at the gym and be proud of the results out of the gym.