Exercise is super beneficial to our health: it makes your body strong, improves mental health, and gives us a high quality of life!
But have you had thoughts creep into your head where you think about wanting to exercise, but then you start to feel stressed and anxious?
This is much more common than you think. About 50% of people feel stressed or intimidated going to the gym. It is related to our minds making us believe that we do not belong there, and that we are less valued than someone who is fitter than us. Our thoughts can create a false reality, which can cause lack of confidence, stress, and just complete avoidance of working out.
But are these negative thoughts right?
We all have a right to be our healthiest selves. If we want to go to the gym or workout outside to achieve our health goals, then we have every right to do so!
Here are some tips to help you be confident in your workouts, and beat that pre-workout anxiety!
Have Positive Affirmations
The brain more powerful than all the technology in the world. However, it can do a great job at manipulating our emotions and make us believe that we cannot do something.
Some of the most common limiting thoughts may be:
“I don’t have enough energy to do a workout”
“I am not in the right shape to go to the gym. I look different than everyone else there”
“I am going to embarrass myself when I fail this workout”
“I can’t do this hike because I am not strong enough”
Limiting mindset is usually caused by past trauma that has led us to believe that we cannot do the things we set out to do. Would you believe that when it comes to accomplishing your goals, about 80% is dependent on our mindset, and 20% is on actual application?
This is why taking care of your mental health, and practicing healthy mental habits will help you overcome your limiting beliefs, and get your work done!
Start with these positive affirmations for giving you the confidence to get started with working out:
“My body is strong enough to make it through this workout”
“I am deserving to be at the gym to be my healthiest self”
“It is okay if I fail this workout. I love my body and give it rest when it needs it”
“I am going to power through this hike and make it to the top!”
You can also make your own affirmations that make you feel confident and powerful!
Choose the Right Workout for YOU
What is the one place we think of when we say to ourselves, “I am ready to start a workout routine”?
There is nothing wrong with the gym. However, it can be overwhelming if you have not been in the gym and do not know where to start.
“Should I just go run on the treadmill? What about lifting weights? Should I just do a fitness class?”
Here is a quick run-down on how to pick the right workout and location for you.
If you tend to feel anxious throughout the day
Try workouts that are relaxing and slow. When we are highly anxious or stressed during the day, our heart rate will be faster. At the end of the day, what you truly need at this time is to slow down your body and mind. If we do intense workouts, it can make our hearts race even faster, causing more stress and anxiety.
The best low-intensity and relaxing exercises:
Going for a walk
If you need to boost up your energy
Go for moderate intensity workouts. The best part is you can go as long as you need and as hard as you want!
The best workouts to boost up your energy:
Cardio (jogging, treadmill, elliptical, stair master)
Team sports (basketball, soccer, tennis, etc)
Body weight exercises
Pole dancing classes
Where should I workout?
This is all dependent on how you want to exercise and with whom.
If you have social anxiety or feel uncomfortable with working out around others right now, get started at home! There are many exercise videos on Youtube to get you moving.
If you are comfortable workout out around others or you need accountability, check out your local gyms. Try different classes around town. Check out local groups who meet up to do outdoor workouts!
Do Some Research
Once you have an idea of the type of workout you want to do, it’s now time to research online on how to do these workouts.
This is important to get proper guidance and practice correct form to prevent injury. This is especially important for:
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
Yoga or Pilates
When looking online, make sure you get information from credible and experienced professionals like competitive athletes, personal trainers, and coaches.
Research also is needed for getting and using the right equipment. This will also be helpful if you decide to do most of your training at home.
Try Different Workouts or Locations
Don’t be afraid to try new things or even new gyms! Almost all gyms offer a free trial where you can try them out and see if they are a good fit for you.
Remember: there is nothing wrong with not signing up with a gym if it doesn’t seem like a good fit. Some questions to ask yourself when doing a gym trial:
Do they have all the equipment I want?
Do they offer support with personal coaches?
Do they offer group classes?
Do I like the vibe in this gym?
If you are going to commit time and energy into a gym membership, you want to make sure it is a place where you feel comfortable and can do the types of workouts you want to try.
This same logic also applies to workouts.
Let’s just say you heard that weight lifting is good for building muscle. After trying it out for a few weeks, you feel bored and dread doing your workout.
You remember that you did a yoga class a few years ago, and you loved it! But you are concerned that you will not build a lot of muscle in yoga.
Instead of thinking about what you want to look like as a result of your workouts, think about how you want to feel after your workouts.
And ask yourself if it brings you joy!
It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do. As long as you are practicing consistent movement and it makes you happy, nothing else should matter!
Get a Workout Buddy
Having someone do our workouts with us can be motivating and supportive.
They don’t even need to be with you during your regular workout routine. They can even be with you when you decide to go for a walk, or try a new class.
If you have a friend who has experience with certain workouts, ask for tips!
You can also look into your gym or online to find a personal trainer or fitness coach who can design a plan and create a routine for you.
Make Working Out Fun!
Who says that we need to be stuck inside a gym all day to exercise?
There are so many ways you can incorporate movement into your life without putting a lot of structure around it. Going for a walk with a friend, having some fun with a hula-hoop, or even running with your dog at the park are amazing ways to get moving AND have fun!
Nourish Yourself Properly
Making sure your body is ready for the gym is important for preventing injury or sickness.
Do not go to the gym on an empty stomach or hungry
While you don’t want to be super full when working out, not having enough fuel in your body isn’t healthy either. Being hungry while working out can cause issues like low blood sugar, dizziness, vomiting, and passing out.
Ideally, make sure to eat your meal 2-3 hours before your workout. If you cannot do that, have a light snack 45 mins to 1 hour before you start moving.
Some ideas of light snacks before the working out:
Piece of fruit
Yogurt and fruit
If you are exercising for a long period of time (like hiking or playing a sport), bring a light snack with you like protein bars or fresh fruit.
Bring a large bottle of water with you, especially if temperatures are hot! Stay hydrated throughout the day before working out so you don’t feel like you need to chug your water.
Remember, You Can Do This!
Did any of these tips resonate with you? What are you going to try to help beat that pre-workout anxiety? Leave a comment below or send me a DM @whole.balanced.being on Instagram!