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by Tony Gjokaj December 13, 2021 6 min read

When I started my fitness journey, I had anxiety going into the gym.

There were so many fit and strong-looking people, and I was a young teenager who was overweight, I feared so many things about the environment.

That anxiousness is very common in the gym.

So how do we handle it?

In this post, we are going to go over 7 tips you can use to get into the gym and exercise with social anxiety.

Let's dive in!

    Conquering Social Anxiety At The Gym

    Social Anxiety is typically a result of worrying that you might react improperly to a situation or worrying about what others think of you.

    In the gym, this comes out as the following:

    • Intimidation by people around you at the gym.
    • Fear of judgement.
    • Not knowing how to do certain exercises.

    So with that, here are a few tips I recommend to get started.

    I. Small Steps First.

    To get used to the gym environment, do the smallest thing that allows you to get in there.

    For example, according to the book Atomic Habits, the author mentioned one example that went something along the lines of this (correct me if I'm wrong): a man started by going to the gym for 5 minutes.

    Then he continued to add to it.

    He was able to commit more time to exercise once he got comfortable in the environment.

    Here are some things I recommend that may help you:

    • Short workout times. Like the previous example, start slow. Add to it overtime.
    • Going when the gym is less busy. Ask the front desk people when the most quiet time is. It will most likely be upon opening.
    • Drive straight to the gym after work. Keep your gym clothes in your car as a reminder to drive straight there and change. Have a pre-workout with Beta-Alanine to amp you up before your workout session.



    II. Work Towards Exercising For 3-4 Hours Weekly.

    After you commit to the first tip, you should slowly build up to 3-4 hours of weekly exercise. According to research, around 3.5-4 hours of moderate-intensity exercise can has been shown to help with depression and anxiety.

    You do not need to jump to this immediately if you find difficulty doing so.

    It's important to build the strength and conditioning necessary to work up to that so that it's easier to manage.

    III. Continue To Show Up.

    Even on the days you're not motivated to, continue to show up. 

    Here are some recommendations to do so:

    • Keep your gym clothes in your eyesight. Keep your gym clothes in your vicinity, whether in your room upon waking (morning workout) or in your car on the drive home from work (evening workout).
    • Look for the trigger that gets you into the gym. If you know that once you get into your car it's easier to get into the gym.. then make that your goal. If workout motivation music fires you up, then use that as a workout pre-game.
    • Go when it's easiest. Usually, the best parts of our day to handle our personal things are in the early morning or in the evening. I've done 4AM and Midnight workouts. Both were easy to adhere to because it was my "me time".
    • Pre-Workout With Beta-Alanine. A pre-workout with >1.5g of Beta-Alanine will give you a tingling face and finger effect which will make you want to sweat it out and exercise. 

    With continuous practice comes more comfort in the environment you train in.

    Frequency can lead to building habits and discipline around exercise.

    IV. Buy Athletic Wear.

    One of the most interesting tips I can give you is to buy and use athletic wear when it is time to go to the gym.

    Over one of my recent introductory calls with my buddy Chris, he told me that whenever he puts on his workout gloves, it primes him to get ready to lift some weights.

    What I recommend is to buy some nice-looking and comfy athletic wear or equipment.

    Associate them with the gym, and the gym only. 

    This may find it easier for you motivate you to get yourself in there.

    V. Watch Exercise Videos Or Observe People Doing The Exercises.

    Watch some lifting videos or observe people doing the exercises.

    If you see exercise you want to try, look at people or watch those exercises being performed on YouTube.

    There are a lot of videos on YouTube where you can watch specific exercises being worked.

    VI. Accountability.

    Hire a personal trainer or work out with someone that holds you accountable. When I first started my fitness journey I had a personal trainer who would hold me accountable on reaching my goals.

    In addition, my mom would also push me into the gym to get it done.

    Research has shown with accountability, commitment to achieving a goal has a 95% success rate if you set accountability appointments with someone you've committed to.

    This means accountability should be an engaged process where you have a deadline or a goal you'd like to meet, and your trainer or coach analyzes it themselves.

    In this case, let's say you have a weight loss goal. Every week, your coach will analyze your weight, energy levels, stress levels, exercise performance and more.

    If the goal isn't being met, it can't be pushed aside, exaggerated, or ignored.

    Your trainer or coach WILL call you out.

    Your coach will visually see your progress. This will make you more inclined to put in the effort.

    Alternatively, you can be a part of our Instagram Community. Tag us in your stories, posts, and videos regularly so we know you're getting work done.

    We are watching... ;)

      VII. Set Complete Goals.

      The last tip I recommend is setting COMPLETE goals for everything that you do.

      You should not only have outcome goals (ex. "lose 15lbs in 3 months"), but have processes to reach that goal.

      If I wanted to lose 15lbs, they say a healthy weight loss is about 1-2lbs per week.This is because we want to spare muscle loss and focus on fat loss. I have 12 weeks to lose 15lbs, which is feasible.

      In addition, I have to ensure I eat in a caloric deficit and consume enough proteins and fats to manage recovery, hormonal health, and more.

      I need to be able to eat as much as I can while still being able to lose 1-2lbs per week so my other bodily processes aren't impacted (sleep, stress, hunger, hormones, etc). I have to make sure I am still getting 7-8 hours of sleep, and that my stress isn't over the top or that I am ravenously hungry.

      This is everything I monitor when I am looking to lose weight, because all of these variables ensure the success of reaching my goal.

      Ask yourself some of the following:

      • How many lbs per week do I need to lose to achieve that goal?
      • What and how much exercise should I be doing?
      • What and how much foods do I need to eat?
      • How many hours of sleep do I need to get?
      • Will I take any breaks during the diet?
      • How will I reward myself weekly so that it doesn't derail my progress?
      • And many more things.

      Continue to break down your goals into skills you need to build. Break those skills into practices you can implement. Break down those practices into daily actions.

      This will not only set up your goals, but processes to help you get there.

      This will reduce your anxiety in the gym, as you will have a clearer goal on execution.

      Exercise Confidently

      You now have 7 tips to use in order to exercise with social anxiety.

      The most important thing we will recommend to you now is to take action.

      You need to step one foot into the gym and put in work.

      Find a support group that holds you accountable to your success.

      Do daily check-ins so that your group can hold you accountable.

      Track your progress, and watch your body and mind change.

      With that, I want to thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to direct message us here on the site, or on our Instagram.

      Until next time, Reforged Warrior!


        Tony Gjokaj
        Tony Gjokaj

        Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.

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