As the title suggests, Gymxiety – anxiety about going to the gym. I know to some it sounds utterly ridiculous to be nervous/scared or feel like you are going to have a panic attack about walking into a gym to work out, after all what is there to feel nervous about? But for lots of people, myself included it is a massive challenge to step into the unknown territory of a gym.
I suffer with all kinds of anxiety – social, health, everyday life – so to step completely out of my comfort zone and join a gym was a huge deal for me and I was extremely proud of my achievement. As you know I’ve consistently worked out at home for years now and had joined a ladies gym where I used to live. I was still bricking it going to this gym but not so much in I would steer away as it was women only, an environment I felt comfortable in.
When I moved last September I knew I would miss going to a gym and using the treadmill in particular. I did a few road runs near where I live but I was unmotivated and used every excuse going not to get outside and run. I was still working out 5 days a week at home but felt I needed to try something new and that’s when I looked at local gyms within my area. I’m not a fan of commercial gyms so knew I wouldn’t join a sports centre or franchise I found a fantastic cross fit gym just up the road from where I live.
I have absolutely no bad words to say about my gym as it is just amazing and the chap who runs it is the nicest most helpful trainer you could meet. Always there to guide you, talk you through things and answers any questions you may have. I joined in February this year and started lifting weights, it was brilliant, I loved the endorphins and I planned my days to go to coincide with runs on the treadmill. I saw results quite quickly but there was always that dull feeling in the pit of my tummy. I would wake up on “gym days” with a horrible feeling in my stomach, I would work myself up so much my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest.
I would start to miss sessions and make up excuses as to why I couldn’t go instead choosing to work out at home. How could I justify spending £45 a month to feel anxious every single time I wanted to go to the gym? The main factors that triggered my anxiety were:-
Other people in the gym – no one was ever horrible or rude to me though, everyone was friendly/supportive
The gym being busy (it was never busy busy) meaning I couldn’t get on the machines I wanted to – this rarely happened
Other people looking at me – no one cares about you working out, they are doing their own thing
Me not being able to work one of the machines – happens all the time but that’s how we learn
And just the thought of walking through the door was utterly terrifying
These are trivial in the grand scheme of things and I know other people have bigger issues than me going to the gym. With me being really poorly with my stomach issues (coeliac) and contracting an almighty sickness bug I was drained and weak meaning I wasn’t giving it my all as I was just exhausted. Things came to a head when one day I just thought ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I was making myself miserable thinking I “HAD” to go to the gym, I felt guilty every time I chickened out, I was feeling sick to the stomach every time I wanted to go so I just took a break.
With the summer holidays looming I knew for a fact I wouldn’t be able to get to the gym at all as I don’t have any childcare. Plus I didn’t want our summer to revolve around mummy going to the gym, I wanted relaxed days with the kiddies not having the pressure of trying to squeeze a half arsed gym session in. I ceased my membership for the summer months but vowed to myself I would return in September. That’s where I am now. I worked out 5 days a week every week during the summer holidays and felt amazing but I am so cross with myself that I let anxiety win, I’m not sure whether I will return to the gym this year or not but I just cannot put that kind of pressure on myself, the relief I have felt knowing that I don’t have to go to the gym is so good for me. I can work out in the comfort of my own home on my own timescale and no one gives two hoots. I have always loved working out at home as it suits my lifestyle, I still push myself to the limit and always end in a sweaty mess.
But, if you are scared about going to a gym please know that you are not alone, I really wish I could overcome my fear of going to the gym as I love it so much and right now, anxiety is winning – it’s not fair. I can’t tell you how proud and excited I was taking that first step, perhaps it was the coeliac disease/hospital appointments etc that knocked my confidence but one day I will return and it will be brilliant, anxiety cannot control me forever. Gyms are fantastic places to meet new people, challenge your fitness ability, get results and exercise in any form is so so good for the mind and soul. Whenever I am stressed or feeling low I workout even if it is only for 30 minutes.