How to Combat Gym Anxiety with Body Positivity

Do you ever fear exercising in front of others at a public gym because of your body? It turns out that you are not alone in feeling this way. This train of thought is common, so much so that it is actually a phenomenon called gym anxiety. Gym anxiety is often defined as the fear of judgment from others and of perceived failure in a gym setting. 

Commonly routing back to body and fitness insecurity, many people with gym anxiety often feel like they are not physically fit or athletic enough to confidently participate in front of other people, and thus would rather exercise in privacy. Though this anxiety is shared by many and is understandable, everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin at the gym. This is where body positivity comes in, which means accepting your body regardless of standards. The following techniques are some ways to combat gym anxiety with body positivity. 


Practice gratitude with your body’s abilities.

The human body is capable of so many things, and to exercise is an amazing ability. Practicing gratitude regularly for your legs, arms, and everything else that is responsible for your ability to exercise at the gym can increase your conscious appreciation of it. For example, writing down aspects of your body you are grateful for is a notable way to practice body positivity and to become more satisfied at the gym.


Become motivated for the right reasons. 

Exercising to change one’s appearance is common, but exercise is also a great way to treat your body well. According to the CDC, exercising can reduce risk of heart diseases, help build muscles, increase focus ability, and help manage blood sugar levels. Having more motivation to exercise for the wellbeing of your body will inspire you to work out publicly despite gym anxiety. 


Distract yourself with a routine you enjoy. 

Finding a workout routine that works for you can be tricky, but once you find it, exercising can be a fun way to clear your head that you won’t want to avoid. Researching routines that you feel comfortable with can help you ease into feeling more confident at the gym, and it will make working out something you look forward to. For example, Youtube routines from users like MadFit and Pamela Reif are easy to follow with varying intensities. Additionally, listening to music whilst exercising these routines can also put you “in the zone” and not pay mind to gym anxiety. 


Stick to a pace you are comfortable with. 

No matter who is around you at the gym, there will always be someone who seems more advanced or athletic than you. Therefore, there is no need to try to match other people's pace. Everybody is focused on themselves and their own process at the gym, so going at your own pace is nothing to be ashamed of, and most likely won’t be noticed anyways. 


Set small achievements. 

Setting achievable milestones for yourself can motivate your progress, and can also help instill pride and self-encouragement. Going to the gym in the first place and making it regular is half the battle, and should be acknowledged as an achievement. Additionally, milestones like running amounts, number of reps, and length in time are all factors of exercise that you can adjust personally to create motivation. Being able to acknowledge within yourself that you have grown in small and big ways is a great way to feel pleased at the gym.