Have you ever wanted to join a gym to boost your mental and physical health, but found yourself hesitating? DO YOU HAVE ANXIETY AT THE GYM, AND DON’T know how to overcome it?

You’re not alone. Many people feel intimidated by the idea of going to a gym because of feelings of nervousness, anxiousness or a lack of confidence. If this sounds like you, I’m here to help. I’m going to give you my best tips to overcome anxiety at the gym and start your journey to feeling better and healthier, with confidence.


Having worked in the fitness industry for more than ten years, I understand how tough it can be to manage your feelings of anxiety when exercising in front of others. It’s intimidating to walk into a gym and see so many people who seem to know exactly what they’re doing, while you feel like you’re out of your element. But here’s the thing: YOU CAN DO IT!

The discomfort you feel is temporary, and if you can push past those negative thoughts in your head, you’ll come out of it feeling mentally and physically stronger. Just know that you’re not alone in feeling this way.


Almost 50% of gym-goers find it intimidating to exercise in front of others? The good news is, you can totally beat this!

What is Gym Anxiety?

Anxiety at the gym is the feeling of nervousness or discomfort some experience when going to a gym in public. It can stem from potential fears of being judged, feeling inadequate, or not knowing how to use the equipment like ‘everyone else’. This anxiety may lead to avoiding the gym altogether, which really doesn’t benefit your mental or physical health. Avoidance isn’t the answer.

The Challenge

You’ve made the important decision to join a gym to improve your health. However, feelings of anxiety and self-doubt are preventing you from actually going. It’s a frustrating obstacle to overcome.

How Do I Improve?

Negative thoughts like “I’ll look foolish” or “I don’t know what I’m doing” often hinder us. Here’s a suggestion: Challenge those thoughts head-on! Instead, focus on your personal growth and celebrate every step forward. Comparing yourself to others only holds you back. By reframing your mindset, you can feel more confident and ready to tackle your workouts.

Conquering Gym Anxiety: My Top Practical Tips

Incorporating these simple actions into your pre-gym routine can help you cultivate a positive mindset and overcome your feelings of anxiety.

  • Positive Self-Talk: Before heading to the gym, engage in positive self-talk to boost your confidence. Remind yourself of your strengths and past achievements. Visualise yourself exercising with ease and feeling proud of your progress.
  • Visualisation: Spend a few minutes visualising yourself confidently navigating the gym environment. Picture yourself performing exercises with proper form and feeling capable and strong. This mental rehearsal can help reinforce positive beliefs about your abilities.
  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves and lower your heart rate. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of two, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. Repeat this process for ten breaths to promote relaxation and reduce your anxiety.

Starting your fitness journey might feel overwhelming, but remember, you have the power to conquer any fears. Be kind to yourself throughout the process. Remember, everyone in the gym started somewhere, just like you. Each step you take towards your goals is an achievement worth celebrating. So, take a deep breath, confront your doubts, and enter the gym with confidence. You’ve got what it takes to succeed!

If you feel you need some additional guidance, please reach out for a chat.

Rebecca Malcolm psychologist bella vista hills

Rebecca (Bec) Malcolm – Therapist at Creating Change Psychology
02 8883 3185