When I started to go to the gym consistently after college, my gym anxiety was REAL. I avoided the “bro area” at all costs and managed to hide behind any exercise machine that wasn’t right smack in the middle of wandering eyes. Going to the gym alone was a whole new monster for me. Despite my severe lack of confidence, I was determined to not let my gym anxiety and fear of going to the gym alone hold me back from my goals.

Scared of going to the gym alone? These are my tips to help you overcome gym anxiety and work out with confidence.

I’m the first to admit that going to the gym alone can be very overwhelming, especially when you are just starting your fitness journey. I consider myself an introvert so even though I hate to admit it, even after almost two years of going to the gym, I STILL have some sort of gym anxiety. But I’ve come a long way and I want to share with you what has helped me overcome my gym anxiety and shake off the intimidation to work out with confidence.

  • Know your plan of action

I think one of the major reasons we have gym anxiety is because a lot of the time we struggle with where to start. At the beginning of my fitness journey, I made sure to Google every exercise on my workout plan before I went to the gym so I could know how to properly execute it. There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and not knowing what to do next so this helped me out a lot. We all start somewhere so remember there’s nothing wrong in looking for outside resources for guidance.

Now that I’m more familiar with exercises and proper form, before I go to the gym I plan and write down my workout in the Notes app on my iPhone. This helps me go in with a plan and get out as efficiently as possible. If you’re just starting out, Google will be your savior. You will not only find the proper form to do an exercise, but you will also find an endless amount of beginner workouts already planned out for you. As you progress, you can tailor the workouts to exercises that you prefer and love.

  • Find your gym tribe

When I first joined the gym, I was talked into personal training by one of the employees. I didn’t have the cash flow to afford it, but I knew I needed some kind of direction if I wanted to be successful. After my experience, I 100% recommend getting a trainer for at least a couple of months if you’re just starting out. With your health goals in mind, they will be able to guide you in the right direction and set a solid foundation from where you can only go up.

I had a trainer for about 2 months with 2 sessions per month and I found it extremely helpful. Heck, I even still have some of the old workouts he used to make for me! Even though I only saw him twice a month, all my workouts for each week were already planned for me which was super easy for me to follow and made it 100 times less overwhelming! Pro tip: most gym’s run personal training session specials all the time! If you’re tight on cash, subscribe to their mailing list or follow them on social media to stay in the know of their upcoming discounts.

If you can’t afford personal training, take group classes! Being surrounded by others will help your gym anxiety by staying motivated, getting work out ideas and having fun while doing it. The best part about it is that you don’t have to worry about anything else but showing up.

  • Focus on you

This is an obvious one but one that we are all guilty of not doing. Working out is as much a physical thing as it is a mental thing. When I’m not mentally there, my workouts suffer. I get distracted by what other people are doing or I’m self-conscious of people looking at me. But it’s so important to pull yourself back from that and recognize that you’re taking this time out of your day FOR YOU. Not for anybody else. So focus on your form, feel the burn in the right places, get a little lower, lift a little heavier, and completely connect your mind with your body. You will see how much more focused you are and what a difference it makes in your work outs.

  • Wear a hat

You know that awkward eye contact at the gym? Yeah, I hate it too. That is why this is probably my favorite tactic. Up until recently, I never wore hats to the gym (even though I wanted to) because 1. I felt like people would look at me funny for wearing a hat indoors and 2. I felt like no girl wore a hat to the gym. One day I said screw it and I fell in love! Wearing a hat makes it so much easier to not make awkward make eye contact with people. It helps me get into my zone and focus on me and my workout. After I started wearing a hat, I realized how many other girls actually wear one. Try it out and let me know how you like it 😉

  • Go during non-peak hours

I still HATE a crowded gym. I love going to the gym on a Saturday afternoon because there’s no one there! That not only means fewer people to intimidate you but also fewer people to take up equipment! I find that most gyms are usually packed M-THs between 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., and empty in the early morning hours (I’m talking 6 a.m.) and on weekend afternoons and evenings. Pro tip: if you Google your gym, they will usually have popular hours listed underneath their location!

  • Make a killer playlist

One thing that helps me get in the zone is a killer playlist. I usually use Pandora or Spotify but if the Wi-Fi isn’t working (limited data probs) I always make sure to have fresh music on my iTunes for backup. I can’t risk listening to something that I don’t enjoy while working out. Without my playlists my workouts would not be the same. Music keeps me focused, pumped and ready for the next set.

  • Bring a buddy

Whether you’re a gym newbie or a seasoned vet, there’s just something about having a friend there with you that makes you feel a whole lot more confident. Many of us are scared to go the gym alone when we first start out and that is completely okay. I feel so much better when I have somebody else there with me to at least walk around with. Having some moral support there is extremely helpful in getting you to feel comfortable in the gym.

Gym anxiety is a real thing. Gym intimidation is a real thing. We all feel self-conscious and nervous when we’re doing things out of our comfort zone. But remember, getting outside of your comfort zone is when the magic happens! Do your research, go prepared, focus on you, and own the gym with confidence. Overtime, you will get stronger (physically & mentally) and your worry that people are judging you will diminish tremendously. You go to the gym to better yourself and live a more health-conscious life, so don’t let your fear of judgment or embarrassment stop you from reaching your goals.

How do you overcome gym anxiety and intimidation?

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I started meal prepping two years ago and it has literally changed my life for the better. Before meal prep, I opted for the fastest and easiest meal I could throw together. Once I started going to the gym consistently, I knew I needed to find a better way to nourish my body and create healthier eating habits.

Meal prepping 101: Beginner tips for easy meal prep

There are a lot of misconceptions about meal prep but I’m here to tell you that it will only make your life easier by saving you time, money and stress! When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing but after two years of consistency I’d like to consider myself a meal prepping machine. So here’s the low down on meal prepping 101 with my favorite easy meal prep tips.

  • Keep it simple

It’s easy to get burnt out when you’re just starting out meal prep. To avoid this, stick to food you know how to make. I don’t love to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, so simplicity in my meals is my best friend. Since I meal prep both my lunch and dinner, I make sure to first choose what protein I want for each meal. Then I pick two vegetables or starches for each meal to complement my protein source.

Remember, it’s all about creating healthier eating habits so don’t overcomplicate. There are so many ways to make your simple meal delicious, so stick what you know when you’re starting out!

  • Find what works for you

How you meal prep will be based on your lifestyle, goals and preferences. Play around with what day you make your meals, how many meals you make per week, and how you choose to assemble them.

Do you prefer to make half your meals on Sunday and then make the rest on Wednesday? Or do you want to hash them all out on Sunday? Find out what works best for you so it’s easier for you to stick to your plan. Are you going to start out by making ALL your meals or only lunch and dinner? Will you have a set menu or will you assemble your meals with varying foods before eating? There are so many ways to customize meal prep to fit your life, you just have to experiment.

  • Plan ahead

Okay, so you’ve probably heard this a thousand times but planning ahead is crucial for meal prep success. Having no action plan will make grocery shopping stressful and last longer than it should. I find that I am more motivated when I do my planning on Saturdays and my cooking on Sundays. That splits up the work that I have to do and it doesn’t feel like such a chore on a day that I just want to relax. I find that using my phone for a grocery list allows me to instantly mark things off and I won’t have to worry about ever forgetting my list. Grocery list tip: list your items based on where they are physically located in the store – that way as your making your way everything you need will be at arm’s reach!

Meal prepping 101: Plan ahead for easy meal prep

  • Stay flexible & motivated

Meal prep on some weeks is going to be easier than others. Since I work a 9-5, I meal prep during the weekend. But some weekends are so eventful that it’s hard for me to find the time to get it done. If this happens, I’ll dedicate my Monday night to grocery shopping and meal prep. It’s not my favorite way to do it but I stay motivated in knowing that it’ll save me so much time, money and stress during the week. Don’t stress out and throw in the towel if your life gets in the way. Be flexible and move things around to fit your meal prep around your life!

  • Make clean up easy

If you’re like me and you hate the cleaning part of cooking, you’re going to want to get your hands on aluminum foil and parchment paper. A lot of your meals will be made in the oven, so lining your trays with first aluminum paper and then a sheet of parchment paper will cut down your cleaning time immensely. Some people like to just use aluminum foil but according to a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science, the aluminum can leech onto your food depending on different factors. To avoid the increased health risk, I counter this by putting a sheet of parchment paper on top.

Once you start meal prepping consistently, you will realize that the time and effort are truly worth the benefits to help you create healthier eating habits. Now that you know my favorite easy meal prep tips, what are some of yours?

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