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Lose the Freshman 15: Overcoming Gym Anxiety

Hello again collegiettes! I hope everyone is successfully powering through these last few weeks of the semester. My only class of the day got cancelled so I now have plenty of time to hit the gym (and work on final projects, fold laundry, clean my room… you know, fun stuff). As I was thinking this morning about my workout for the day, I decided I wanted to address something that I personally struggle with: gym anxiety. Now, I don’t know if this is a real thing or not, but it’s real for me. I have a tendency to be an anxious person outside of the gym, but there’s just something about having people watch me get my sweat on that really get’s me going. I have never liked working out with strangers. I’ve mentioned before how going to the gym with a friend is the only way I stay accountable for my workouts, because if it’s up to me I just won’t go. When I’m in the gym alone I often feel as if I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s like how every time I walk into a hipster bar and everyone can tell it’s not my usual scene. All the people around me are running on treadmills faster than Forrest Gump, doing pushups like pros and then there’s me: overweight, red in the face and pouring sweat.

It’s hard not to compare myself to what everyone else is doing in the gym. If I see that the girl next to me has her machine set on a higher level than mine, I immediately feel like my workout is inadequate. And if there’s a hot guy pumping iron across the room then it’s guaranteed all I’ll be thinking is, “Should I have worn this? Am I sweating through my shirt? Do you think he notices me sweating through my shirt? Great, I’m gross.” But here’s the truth: people in the gym are focused on their own workout, not yours. Of course everyone is going to be working out at different intensities – everyone’s body is different! It doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting as good of a workout as the person next to you. It simply means that you’re focusing on different things. If you feel unsure about what you’re doing in the gym (me, always), then ask someone for help. Better yet, ask the hot guy for help. No one is going to judge you for not knowing how to use the equipment. It’s better to ask than to hurt yourself in the learning process! I usually go to the gym at my apartment complex because it’s smaller (so there’s less people around to make me anxious), but I recommend taking a tour of the recreational center at your college. The people who work there will be more than happy to teach you where everything is and how to use the equipment, which will lessen your gym anxiety! So, would you rather sit at home and be scared of the gym or face your fears and make positive changes towards your health? I’ll take the second option, please. Just remember, everyone’s at the gym for the same reason you are: to be the best that they can be!

Follow me on Twitter @ms_mojohnson for regular updates on how I’m doing with SELF’s Drop 10 plan and comment below to let me know how you deal with gym anxiety! Also, don’t forget to weigh-in regularly for DietBet. I love seeing how everyone else is doing with their weight loss! Talk to you soon!