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4 Ways to Start Getting Over Your Gym Fears

Let me lay out a scenario for you:
You’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see a flawless model with toned abs, a small waist, and slim legs. You think, “it’s time for me to hit the gym or start running or go on a juice cleanse or something.” Next thing you know you’re scrambling the internet to find Kendall Jenner’s workout and diet plan and follow it for maybe a week. Social media has created an incredibly toxic relationship between young women and working out, making the gym a place to be feared. We are told that intense cardio and dieting is the only way to lose weight, so women avoid other forms of exercise such as lifting out of fear of looking too “manly.” This, alongside weight rooms being dominated by intense-looking men in muscle tees, keeps the girls on ellipticals when they could be exploring so many other new forms of exercise. Well, it’s time to change that. As a new daily gym member, I’ve really had to get out of my comfort zone and grow as a person. Here are some ways to get over your fears of going to the gym.

1. Set New Goals 

Maybe you want to work out because you want to look like an Instagram model. Maybe you want to reach a specific weight goal. Maybe your roommate just slept with your ex. I do not know what your reason may be, but if your workout goals relate to external factors or things outside your circle of control, change them, not you. Set a workout goal that is purely for you. Set a goal that focuses on positive self-improvement. Maybe you want to become stronger, more energetic, or more active. Maybe you want to improve your focus, dedication, and commitment to something. Whatever it is, the only person who should affect these goals is you. 

2. Everyone Is Alone

One time I was doing some arm curl-ups with 10 lbs weights, and right in front of me was this massive guy benching over 100 lbs. I thought, “Oh my god, this boy probably thinks I’m pathetic.” However, I could only hold that thought for a split second because, honestly, the 10 lbs weights were getting me. I had to focus all my energy on simply finishing the set. That is what everyone else is doing too. No one has the energy/time to look at you, because everyone at the gym is pushing their limits and getting to their goal. So if you’re ever worried about eyes on you, remember everyone is alone in their own little world.

3. Push yourself

This one seems a bit basic, but it’s so important. Pushing yourself every time helps you gain a sense of respect for yourself. Once you learn to respect yourself and your achievements, working out becomes a fun challenge to see how much you can do.

4. Bring a friend

A friend can help ease so many fears you have at the gym. If you’re worried about looking clueless at the gym, bringing a friend can help in two ways. They can be a helpful guide to new ideas for workouts, or they can be clueless with you, and you can navigate this new process together. Either way, going on this journey with someone else can help strengthen your bond with them and create fun memories along the way.

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Aarya Deshmukh

Wake Forest '24

Aarya is a sophomore at Wake Forest University studying business and philosophy. She loves all forms of art especially theatre and painting. In her free time she can be found at the gym trying new workouts or trying out a new recipe in the kitchen!
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