How to Overcome Social Anxiety in the Gym

Apr 25, 2020 | Articles, Fitness, Wellness

Enter the gym with confidence by crushing social anxiety

Going to the gym for the first time or the first time in a long time may feel daunting. It has the same feeling like the first day of school. You get nervous, anxious, worried, and intimidated. 

This can leave your confidence levels way low while heading to the weight room and making a detour to the cardio room. Once you are able to cope with social anxiety in the gym, you will finally be able to feel comfortable and confident. 

Feeling self-conscious or “unfit”

Everyone was a beginner at some point

Let’s remember that everyone you see at the gym has felt the same gym anxiety you may be feeling at some point or another. You can’t compare your beginning to someone’s middle. It is all about progression in a positive direction. Those confident people who you see at the gym eventually overcame social anxiety, and you can too. 

We all have insecurities

Believe it or not there is no one on earth that is perfect. We are all different and have insecurities. It’s a battle every day for self-acceptance. Maybe you are not a “fitness model” or you feel like people are looking to see how fit you are. But let me tell you, they are more worried about their own workout. They want to get in and out as fast as possible.

Fitness fashion boosts self-confidence

Instead of thinking about how you currently look, think of how you are aspiring to look, and train like you already look that way. Realistically, you probably can’t do 100 push-ups, but I think you get where I am going with this. You can make other reasonable changes. For instance, the gym clothes you choose to wear play a huge role in how you feel. Wear something that you will feel your best in. 

Go in with a plan


Thanks to the internet, you can find an abundance of information on fitness and health. Do some research on the different muscles groups and workouts targeting those muscles. Being in the know crushes gym anxiety. When I first started out, I did not do this. I would use nearly all the machines in the gym in one workout session like the gym was a theme park… I now look back and laugh. 

Create a workout routine

Put together a routine in writing, on your phone, or wherever you feel is most comfortable to carry with you to the gym. This will allow you to be in and out, without having to use all the machines like I did early on in my fitness journey. Check out my Resource page for a list of great sources to put together a workout routine. 

Don’t be afraid to change it up 

Sometimes, what you have listed may be limiting. Either, others might be using the same machine, you are on a time crunch, or you are simply getting bored with the same routine. You can choose to have a backup workout routine this way you always stay in the zone.

Going Alone

Get a committed gym partner

It can be intimidating when going to a large gym full of people. Believe it or not, this feeling is all too common. A great way to feel less socially anxious in the gym is by going with a committed gym partner. Yes, I said committed. This way you both hold each other accountable and you feel less intimidated in the gym. 

Put your magic sunglasses on

You may be thinking: Whaat? If you ever saw the Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy, there is a scene where he tells the kid to put on his magic sunglasses when he is afraid so that no one can see him. In this case put your headphones on so that you can block the distractions. It’s just you, the music, and the weights. 

You are doing this for you

The gym is designed to get you fit. At the end of it all, every single person that is in the gym has one goal: to get/stay fit. Realize that what is important is that you are there with a purpose. You are wanting to make a change to better yourself. Already making the decision to go is an accomplishment in itself. So congratulations for wanting to take this step. 

Final thoughts on overcoming social anxiety in the gym

Coping with social anxiety in the gym is a process. It will not happen overnight, but you will get over it eventually. When you finally make your grand entrance to the gym, make your decision to step into the weight room with confidence. Oh and, no detours this time!

What do you struggle with when it comes to social anxiety in the gym?

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