Gym…it’s all in your head Part 2: Fighting Fear

Losing patience,Gustav yells at Gabrielle to leap from point A to point B, in public, in front of people. A thousand thoughts race through Gabrielle’s head, what if she falls, what if people laugh, what if she can’t do it. The truth is…she can’t…yet…. but she does’t know it because she’s too scared to even try. She does try though, nobody laughs, nobody points…it was all…in her head. 

True Story. Well Kind Of

Names were changed to protect the innocent haha. Gabrielle is/was me and she probably is/was you. We’ve all been afraid to try something even if that something was for our own benefit. Fear comes from a number of places; I’m no psychologist however I speak from experience. I believe that the gym should be a place where people can blow off steam and enjoy themselves. Believe me, it took a long time for me to get to this point but I’m here and you can be too!

Letting fear control is a surefire way to make sure you stay exactly where you are in your fitness journey and in life.

So let’s break it down piece by piece to help each other face our fears!

Common Gym Fears:

  • The Guys In the Weights Section
  • Not Knowing Anyone
  • People Watching You
  • Messing Up
  • Embarrassing Yourself
  • Not Being Able to Keep Up
  • Not Knowing Anyone

These fears can be summed up into three categories: The People, Embarrassment, and Messing Up


When you’re new to a gym or a certain exercise it’s natural to have a sense of apprehension about starting something unknown. You can’t know the full details about something until you do it yet our minds love to create the worst possible scenarios. But rarely do they ever come to fruition!

What Actually Happens:The People

People in the gym are usually doing their own thing and can also be a great resource to you.  Even if you don’t know anyone, most people are super friendly and many of them are likely to be new as well. Usually, when I don’t know how to use something or I need a weight from someone, you just have to suck it up and ask! The worst they can say is no. Most people won’t mind recording you for form or showing you how to use a machine. This is not to say that some people won’t be creepy or jerks but there are people like that everywhere!

There’s no need to be afraid when working out by yourself, most times you are your best motivator. I tend to work harder and take shorter breaks when it’s just me but I do love working out in a group as well. You can make friends in the gym and coordinate gym times.

Messing Up & Embarrassing Yourself

We all mess up. We all fall down. We all have the capabilities to get back up. When I first started going to the gym I literally was bad at everything. I could not squat. I could not lift. I could not bench. I have fallen in the gym and there were WITNESSES! But one thing I do, do, is try to learn from my mistakes. Now, I know not to change my form in the middle of a motion or I will indeed fall. [Sub-note – fear of injury is very real and warranted but we shall discuss in the upcoming post: Gym Safety]. My trainer always told me to just fix it the next time. There will always be a next time. Use your mistakes as motivation, for example, next time I will squat lower or next time I will run faster. And when next time comes…DO IT!

Nobody likes to be embarrassed. I reallly do not like it one bit which is why I, I mean Gabrielle, was so tentative to jump due to childhood insecurities. We all have our things, but our things are meant to be conquered, not to just be lived with or tolerated.

When you think you will be embarrassed at the gym remember this: everybody is there for the same purpose: to get fit. Nobody else is affected by your workout (or lack thereof) but you.

Fear holds you back from results, progress, and self-confidence. Fear is a roadblock that must be conquered in order to achieve the greatness that we are all capable of.

So How Can We Fight Our Gym Fears?

  • Pray about it, there are loads of Bible verses about fear…We are not to be afraid of anything
  • Practice! I could not jump so I started practising in my house until I got it right so that when I stepped into the gym I was a lot more confident.
  • Break down the fears…what are you actually afraid of? And is that fear reaaaally big enough from keeping you from trying your best?
  • Breathe & go: Just jump right in there and do it, don’t even think about what others may think or how you may look. Do it.


And FYI, leaps are really good for building strong legs and glutes 😉

Previously: Intimidation in the Gym
Next Up: Comparing Ourselves to Others in the Gym

What are your gym fears? How do you think you can combat them?
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