5 Top tips on how to overcome gym anxiety
Written By: SportsShoes
Returning to the gym after a sabbatical can be a daunting task, let alone during a pandemic. After multiple lockdowns, and having to acquaint ourselves with the confines of our abodes, some may be chomping at the bit to get back to the local - gym that is (obviously). But, there will no doubt be some who have reservations, and understandably so.
As most gyms begin to open on 12th April, will there be an orderly queue outside, reminiscent of the scenes at the local supermarket during the first lockdown? I very much doubt. Many have adapted over the past year, and coped remarkably well without them for the past few months. Although the weekly zoom meets can’t match the community, and comradery that we get from training together, not all goals require a gym, and many will continue to operate without them. If you’re adamant on getting back to shifting some tin, but have some understandable reservations, hopefully some of the above will help put your mind at ease. Gyms are a place to socialise, a change of scenery, a place to de-stress - they are certainly not environments that should increase anxiety.
Below are my 5 top-tips to help guide you back into the swing of things;
1. CHOOSE THE BEST TIME TO TRAIN
Opt for times of the day whereby it’s quieter than others. e.g. mid-morning or mid-afternoon (typically). Avoiding busier times could provide all the space you need to ease yourself back in. Bear in mind that timings could vary now that more are working from home, so perhaps ask your gym beforehand.
2. USE THE MINIMAL AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT
Minimal Equipment – consider choosing a workout that requires a small amount of equipment. For example, a circuit-based workout comprised of 6-8 exercises using just a pair of dumbbells significantly reduces points of contact, and therefore, reduces risk of transmission.
3. CLEAN KIT, CLEAN MIND
If you need to use multiple bits of equipment, give them a clean before using. Although most gyms will have a sanitisation protocol in place, there’s no guarantee that all bits of kit will have been sanitised prior to use. Treading on the air of caution, and cleaning before (and after) use will help put the mind at ease.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
Ask the gym what measures they’ve got in place to ensure it is a safe training environment for members. Most gyms, by law, will have a system in place, whether it be sanitisation, social distancing, or limiting numbers, so don’t be afraid to ask the question before embarking on your beloved bench press.
5. EXERCISE OUTSIDE
Not all training needs to be done in a gym, and the outdoors can provide a great alternative to the four walls of your pad. If you’re a class pass connoisseur, try experimenting with an outdoor exercise class first. Outdoor exercise amongst the elements, provides a perfectly safe environment to reacquaint yourself with group exercise. With the warmer weather on the horizon, it’s a great excuse to get outside!
Sam Pepys is a vastly experienced Strength & Conditioning Coach and the founder of Adapt Evolve Improve. Follow him here or visit his website for more information about how he can help you to achieve your personal fitness goals.
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