Exercising with friends or even strangers will always be better than doing it away from everyone. Someone can spot for you while you lift weights in the gym, after all. When you feel tired, you may get inspiration from others who work hard to achieve their fitness goals. Most of all, you cannot procrastinate when there is an instructor who reminds you of your sessions early.
The reality, nevertheless, is that you may only realize its benefits months after working out with other people. For instance, when it is your first time at a gym or in a Pilates studio, being around many new faces may make you nervous. You become self-conscious; you cannot do the repetitions correctly. Your eyes often roam around the room too, wary of the glances that others might throw at you.
Chances are, you are developing social anxiety at this point. “Social anxiety is a perception that there is something embarrassing and deficient about us, and, unless we work hard to conceal or hide it, it will be revealed and we will be judged or rejected for it,” said clinical psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, PhD.
“These fears can be triggered by real or perceived criticism by others and can impact a person at school, work, a social gathering, crowded place like restaurants, bars or sporting event, and even places like doctor’s offices or stores,” added Jesse Matthews, PsyD.
If you wish to overcome it so that you can work out in peace, check out these tips:
1. Be Realistic
From the get-go, you need to remind yourself that the individuals you see at the fitness center are not there to gossip or size people up. They want to tone their body or strengthen their muscles like you. Your appearance won’t matter to most of them; that’s why you have to stop worrying about their perception.
“Once you’re aware of your thoughts, guide yourself toward confidence-building statements.These statements will help you focus on your skills and abilities rather than others’ opinions,” wrote Michael Gervais, PhD.
2. Avoid Peak Hours
To deal with social anxiety properly, you cannot immerse yourself in a sea of people and hope for the best. That can merely cause you to panic, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. What you can do instead is ask the gym personnel when the least number of members visit, and then go at that period. Then, you may slowly but surely get accustomed to your surroundings.
3. Learn About Equipment Beforehand
Some gym-goers feel anxious to work out with other folks around because they might look like a total newbie for not knowing how one machine operates. Assuming that’s what burdens you as well, you can dodge the problem by doing a quick search on the internet about the equipment you might see there. This way, although you have never used it, you are aware of how something works theoretically.
4. Find Other Outdoor Exercises
Is staying in an enclosed room with 15 sweaty adults or so making you claustrophobic? You cannot ask them to come out, for sure, especially since you paid the same amount for the membership. A better solution is to pick up a different exercise that allows you to stay in the open. E.g., running, jogging, walking, et cetera.
5. Bring A Friend
Finally, in case you genuinely are not ready to go to a yoga studio or barre class and be around strangers, you can always invite a friend to work out with you. Not only can it become your new bonding place, but he or she can also assure you that everything’s alright.
You are already doing the right thing for yourself by reading an article on how to overcome your social anxiety that often comes out when you exercise. It is clear to you that culling the disorder is a must if you want to become fit. Now, you merely have to follow the tips above to ensure that you won’t have a nervous breakdown whenever you set foot at the gym or any fitness center.