Finding Time for Fitness in a Busy Life

Social Anxiety and the Gym

Social Anxiety and the Gym

Social Anxiety and the Gym

So, as you may know in my 23 fun facts post, I suffer from social anxiety. I suffer from a lot of different things that I generally do not talk about… but I figured this is a safe place… right? Haha.

Social anxiety to me means that I do not like going out to public places in fear that I will have to engage in small talk. I am NOT good at small talk. Seriously… I don’t know why the weather is doing what it is doing. Yes, I am happy football season is back. Of course, I love fall. Yeah, the sun is shining. And no, I don’t know how long the weather will stay like this. (All of my small talk is revolved around weather…) So as you see, I don’t have much to talk about..

However, if someone brings up fitness, wine, cheerleading, or my kids than I could talk your ear off. That’s the OTHER thing, I cannot start a conversation with someone. I am afraid of sounding ridiculous or making things awkward. So I try to avoid social situations… as much as possible. There are certain situations I cannot avoid: birthday parties, holidays, stores, and the gym…

 

Why can’t I avoid the gym?

Well, I ENJOY going to the gym. The kids enjoy going to the gym. But it wasn’t always that way. When we first joined the gym, Jackson was not used to being away from me, so he would cry basically the first 10 minutes straight sometimes longer. After a month and a half of that, I was too stressed out and my personal training sessions ended and I was clueless on how to use the machines, so I decided to quit the gym…

WHAT!? Yeah, I quit the gym. Cue quitting the gym memes… Now, don’t get me wrong. I did not quit working out. I just chose to save some money and workout at home. Well, 4 months later, I WAS BORED with those workouts. (This was before I became a CPT haha) So I talked with Jacob and decided, I would join back up at the gym. I was so happy to do that and actually so were the kids. Jackson wasn’t crying when I left. Marley was having fun. And I got some quality alone time. Well, you see I didn’t really want to be “alone” but I wanted to workout. I didn’t know what to do. However, I wasn’t going to talk to someone and I had headphones on so no one talked to me.

 

Taking Classes is so Fun!

Well, I decided to take a class. Now, this is a huge step for me. I am SO shy and have this fear of people watching me and wanting to talk to me. But I did it. And you know what? It was fun. The music was loud and no one really chatted! Everyone just did what the instructor said. Hey, I can do this too! So I made it a weekly thing. I went to this class every Tuesday. I stood in the back but still got a great workout! And best of all, no small talk!

I was still nervous around the machines. Since I was so used to working out at home (and I don’t have machines here) and some of those machines are super intimidating. Most of all, I did not want to do the wrong thing or even worse, hurt myself. So I talked to the instructor for the class I was taking and she got me set up to walk around with a personal trainer! And it was great. He helped me with some machines and showed me some cool new workouts. Then I found out that he taught class on Thursdays so I started taking his class as well.

 

So How Did I Get Over My Social Anxiety?

Well the truth is, it is something I still deal with. My fitness goals are stronger than my social anxiety so I know I want to workout and I just go to the gym. I have made the gym a priority in my life. But I am still not one to make conversation with a new person. Luckily for me, there are a lot of outgoing people at the gym and they talk to me. Haha! I even have started moving a bit closer to the front of the class… Which still makes me nervous but when I am working out, I am focusing on the exercises and not what is going on around me. And its always great with the instructors or other participants tell you that you are doing great!

Steps you can take to deal with social anxiety:

  • Come up with goals
  • Believe in yourself
  • Go for it!
  • Outgoing people will find you

 

 

Ok, I know these steps are pretty simple. But for me that was all it took. My fitness goals are to stay fit and healthy for my family. I also wanted to be a part of a gym. So I joined the gym again. And I took some classes. Then I asked questions. I went to to classes and I used the machines. Sometimes I still stand in the back but I am there participating. When other participants talk to me, I talk to them. I try not to hide in the corner (I have seriously done that…). And most of all, I have FUN!

 

The last step is pretty funny but so true. When I started taking classes once in a while people would say a few things to me before the class. I would be friendly with them. But recently, there was a new person in class. She talked to everyone including me! Funny thing is her name is also Amanda. Now, we go to the same 3 classes a week and people call us “the Amanda’s.” If she wouldn’t have talked to me every time, I would still go to the classes. However, now they are more than just exercises, they are also a time for me to build a friendship. Who doesn’t want more friends?

 

 

 

The biggest take away I hope you take is to have fun, not only in fitness but in life. Life is too short to sit inside all day and hide. Although, full disclosure: I still have those days were we have “movie days” aka I am not leaving the house today! haha

 

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27 thoughts on “Social Anxiety and the Gym”

  • I’m sure many people feel the way you do about striking up a conversation, Amanda, and I admire your honesty in writing about it here. I love your steps for conquering social anxiety, too. If the goal is at the top of the list, you’re more likely to go for it!

  • I’m the same way. That’s why I work out at home. Besides, I have 3 girls and I don’t have the time to look for a babysitter overtime I want to go to the gym.

  • I feel you!! I craved working out but the thought of a gym was the complete opposite of what I needed. I ended up joining a CrossFit gym/class BEAT DECISION EVER! People are there to work, do the workout, reach their goals and cheer you on doing so. I think a class is the way to go to “avoid” the awkwardness that sometimes can occur. Ha ha. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone on feeling this way. You just have to find your people!

  • I used to go to a gym where I used to feel anxious and awkward, I left. I wish I read your post then. That would have helped me overcome that anxiety.

  • I am not great at small talk either. When I travel alone I always wear headphones because small talk on an airplane is the worst! I don’t go to a gym, I don’t have the money or time right now (I just workout at home) but I don’t think I would want to talk much there, either.

  • Thrilled you were able to get over it! I don’t suffer from SA so I am curious as to what it really feels like, When I go to a gym, I Am there for ME and no one else so I really don’t think about anyone at all.. I remember in college dudes used to come up to me when I was doing cardio to talk and I would only talk beck if I had 30 minutes or less on the machine, LOL!

  • great tips for overcoming social anxiety at the gym. I still prefer outdoors activities for a majority of my exercise 😉

  • I find headphones are huge when I am at the gym. It allows me to dive into my own world and not talk to people. Though as I get more comfortable with the gym setting and go every other day, I find I am less stressed. Still don’t like it when people talk to me but it’s a bit better. Classes are my favorite thing for sure.

  • what a great list!
    Social anxiety should never keep you from going to the gym!
    The gym and working out, are two great things to increase your self esteem, lower confidence, so in turn should lessen your anxiety all around! So definitely never avoid it!

    Looking forward to more posts!
    Subscribed!

    Nicholas Alexander Adams
    https://true-arizona.org

  • I have social anxiety myself but I definitely have learned to overcome it by meditation and working out my stress and realizing that I am feeling anxious and telling myself I can get pass it.

  • I work at a gym and try to be sensitive to some of these issues. There are a lot of reasons why someone can not enjoy their time at the gym. I’m so glad you found a way to overcome your anxiety. These are such great suggestions!

  • This can be so difficult for some people. I actually cringe when someone goes to speak with me. I try to show up just as the class starts to avoid making small talk and go when there aren’t many people there. Thanks for sharing.

  • I am happy to know that you pushed past your anxiety to continue working on your fitness goals. Eventually, you will be so proud of your accomplishments that you will hold your head high walking in there and won’t even notice who’s looking and who’s not. 🙌🏾

  • That’s great that your fitness goals were able to overcome your social anxiety. I know I can feel self-conscious at the gym from time to time. But good that you understand the importance of following through on it no matter what.

  • These are great reminders. I love going to the gym but rarely participate in classes or anything that would require discussion. Like a previous commenter, I also tend to put in my earphones and become part of my own little world. In fact, a lot of weeks it’s the only time I really get to myself!

  • I recently started going to the gym to finally lose my baby weight and relate to this post so much! I was so self conscious when I first started, like everyone was watching me but am slowly getting more confident. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me it gets easier! X

  • My gosh, Amanda you are so right! Social anxiety at the gym is a real thing. Especially when you are up against bodies that look like Olympian gods and goddesses! But, when you step out of your comfort zone to not only do something that is better for yourself and healthy for your body, you may just end up building friendships. And what’s great about building those friendships, they most likely have the same goals as you do. So you are encouraging and holding each other accountable to continue exercising and cultivating healthy lifestyle practices.

    P.S. Movie days at home are just as important as work out classes at the gym. It’s called balance LOL!!!

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