Tips & Tricks For Students To Overcome Gym Anxiety

Exercising is not only beneficial for your physical health but also for your mental health. It doesn’t matter how you prefer to workout as long as you are moving your body and getting those endorphins and serotonin you’re good to go.

Whilst working out at home or in your student accommodation is convenient, there is considerably less space to workout than in a gym.

Unless, you’re lucky enough to live in one of our Homes for Students properties with an onsite gym which is definitely worth taking advantage of whilst you can.

No matter whether you join a gym on site or a local gym, we understand it can be an intimidating place particularly for a newbie, which can cause a bit of gym anxiety.

However, we are here to assure you the gym is a great place to keep fit whilst at university and share with you some tips and tricks to overcome gym anxiety.

So, carry on reading our guide to face your fitness fears! 

tips for gym anxiety

1. Gym Buddy

One way to overcome the anxiety associated with working out at a gym is to buddy up and go with one of our flatmates or friends from uni. 

Having support from a friend can really help you feel confident enough to step in the gym and they can guide you to where you need to be depending on your fitness goal.

We all know the embarrassment of not knowing how a machine works, with a buddy to help show you how it’s done, it can stop that horrible feeling that everyone’s watching you whilst having to figure out the machine.

Not only does going to the gym with a friend give you a confidence boost, they can help keep you motivated to stick to your goals and it can be a great way to spend some time together.

tips for gym anxiety gym buddy

2. Personal Trainer

If you suffer from anxiety about going to the gym, you may have a fear that everyone is looking at you or judging you. 

If you don’t have a buddy to go with, then hiring a personal trainer is a good way to start your fitness journey.

Having someone who is qualified and knows 100% what they’re doing to guide you can help you feel more confident.

Plus a personal trainer can help introduce you to new exercises whilst ensuring your form is right and that they are carried out in a safe manner to prevent injury.

They can be the support you need on this journey and can keep you motivated to continue with fitness.

personal trainer tips gym anxiety

3. Start Slowly

If you’re anxious about going to a gym it is best to start slow so you don’t get overwhelmed and rush into something you are not ready for.

To ease yourself into going to the gym rather than jumping straight into the deep end and trying to do too much at once, make small goals at first. 

Such as, on your first day stretch and spend 10 minutes on a treadmill, then on your second day stretch and spend 20 minutes on a treadmill and so on.

As you build your confidence, you can gradually increase your goals and what you do – you will be a pro in no time at all! 

We’d also suggest starting slow with your exercises, especially making sure to use light weights and body weights.

As you build strength and fitness levels, increase the weight to make the exercise more challenging.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

starting slowly gym

4. Try Group Classes

If you’re wanting to workout but don’t have a friend to go with and don’t have the money for a personal trainer, then why not join some group classes a few days a week? 

Most gyms offer group classes in their membership fee which makes them easily accessible to members so, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

They are a good way to be introduced to fitness as you have someone to guide you rather than trying to wing it yourself.

You’re also working out alongside others, and some may even be in the same boat as you.

This is perfect as you get to meet new people and it can help you feel less alone at the gym.

Plus, it is a good place to start building up confidence before heading out to do your own thing on the gym floor.

If you live in our HFS properties, be sure to make the most of our residents app KLIQ to host your own fitness classes. 

trying group classes tips for gym anxiety

5. Prepare Beforehand

Gym anxiety can be caused by the unknown, not knowing what to expect when you walk in leads to a lot of thoughts of what ifs and buts swimming around in your brain.

Doing a little preparation beforehand can help calm those racing thoughts and knowing what to expect can fill you with a little confidence.

Most gyms offer some sort of introduction to the gym, from group introductions where there are a few of you at a time to individual introductions where it is just you and the fitness professional.

These introductions will give you a tour of the facilities, cover gym etiquette, explain how to use the machines and any other important information.

When going through a gym introduction, don’t be afraid to ask questions if they haven’t covered what you wanted to know or have something specific you want to know more about – we’re sure they will be happy to help. 

gym introduction

6. Workout Plan

Following on from our previous tip, going to the gym without a plan can trigger your anxiety so we’d suggest creating a workout plan. 

By creating a workout plan you can pinpoint what your goal for the workout session is, what exercises you will do, how many sets and reps of each exercise you will do, as well as how long you will work out for. 

Being prepared for the gym and the workouts you will do will leave you feeling like you have more of a purpose, which in turn will make you feel confident and focused. 

workout plan

7. Be Positive & Focus On Your Breathing

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and get worked up about going to the gym, it’s something a lot of people experience, but positive thinking and deep breathing can help to calm you down.

If you’re at the gym and feel like it is getting too much for you, take a step back and focus on your breathing, once you feel calm you can carry on with your workout.

This deep breathing can help to reduce anxiety, stress and panic attacks as well as signal your nervous system to calm down.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the gym, make sure to focus on your breathing and keep your thoughts positive. 

Negative thoughts can result in overthinking and lead you to become unmotivated about going to the gym.

Whilst positive thinking can motivate you and give you the courage to take the steps into the gym each and every time.

To help you out, check out these 9 breathing exercises to relieve anxiety.

being positive and focusing on breathing

8. Workout During Quiet Hours

If you get anxious about going to the gym when it’s busy, it is best to plan your day around a workout during your gym’s quiet hours if it is possible.

Gyms tend to have peak times where it is packed full of people working out and quiet hours when there are less people there. 

We understand this may be a struggle depending on your university schedule but planning purposely keeps you in control and helps your confidence in the gym! 

working out during off peak times

9. Don’t Give Up

Our final tip for students to overcome gym anxiety is to not give up. 

You won’t always be motivated to go to the gym and workout so, self discipline is definitely required. 

Although, the more you go to the gym, the better and more confident you will get with exercising. 

Consistency is key to improvement so, hang in there and you will soon see a difference and hit your fitness goals! 

not giving up gym

That’s the end of our guide to tips and tricks to overcome gym anxiety.

We hope you take them on board and implement wherever necessary – you can do this, we know you can!

Now we have covered how exercise is good for your mental health, check out our blog 8 Things To Do To Improve Your Mental Health for more tips on how you can feel better.

Table of Contents