How To Tackle Gym Anxiety Head-On

How To Tackle Gym Anxiety Head-On: 7 Insider Tips

10 min read


17 May 2024

Grab your cheat sheet…

  1. Why do people suffer from ‘gym-timidation’?
  2. 7 ways to overcome gym anxiety once and for all
  3. Your training journey with Crazy Nutrition
  4. How supplements can help defeat gym anxiety
  5. Discover training with Crazy Nutrition

‘Gym-timidation’it’s a thing! But it doesn’t always have to be.

Walking through those gym doors for the first time—or the fiftieth—might spark a wave of gym anxiety. 

You’re not alone in feeling intimidated by unfamiliar gym equipment or the social worries of sharing space with seasoned gym goers. Once you arrive, it can feel like you’re lost, even unwelcome.

But we’re here to say don’t let that temporary feeling map out your whole going-to-the-gym journey. You have every right to be there and every right to join group classes, hit resistance training or do whatever you want.

In this guide, we’re going to help with overcoming gym anxiety with insider gym anxiety tips so you can transform that stress into a driving force behind powerful workouts

It’s your fitness journey. Don’t let anyone else dictate that. It’s time to crush those anxious feelings and make every rep count. We’ll show you how.

Listen up.

Why do people suffer from ‘gym-timidation’?

Gym-timidation can be a big barrier to achieving your personal wellness and fitness goals. 

This fear, heightened by issues like social anxiety, poor body image and more, makes many hesitant to step foot through the gym doors. 

Let's explore the causes and provide empowering tips to overcome gym anxiety right now.

But first, we’re gonna take a look at why you might feel this way. 


Encountering new gym equipment

The sheer amount of machines and weights can be overwhelming, leaving you unsure where to begin. Totally understandable.

Social anxiety disorder

Worrying about judgment from seasoned gym goers can spike anxious feelings, especially for those with pre-existing social anxiety. We all wanna be the pro that already knows their stuff.

Poor body image

Self-consciousness about appearance or performance can intensify fears of the weight room and locker room interactions. What you see in the mirror isn’t necessarily what other people see, though.

Overwhelm in group classes

 The thought of not keeping up in gym classes or group fitness settings can prevent participation. No one wants to be a beginner at the gym, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

The pressure of gym intimidation

Simply, the atmosphere of a bustling gym, packed with what appears to be highly confident and experienced people can amplify stress and anxiety symptoms. Everyone seems to be busy, and know what they’re doing, right?

7 ways to overcome gym anxiety once and for all 

man and personal trainer

It sounds cheesy, but it’s all down to believing in yourself. That's the first step. Believing you can go to the gym, enjoy it and get the most out of it. The rest are coping mechanisms and a plan to get you going. 

Let's take a look at seven tips you can follow to help you love the gym and feel good going there.

1. Start slowly with a plan

Break down the barrier by planning workouts during off-peak times when fewer people are around, reducing the feeling of being watched or judged. 

2. Get help from a pro

Try personal trainers to familiarize yourself with gym equipment and resistance training. They can offer coping strategies and build a game plan tailored to your physical health goals. 

You can shadow them until you feel confident enough to take on the gym solo. If you hire them for a few sessions, it doesn’t need to be expensive. It may be worth it if you no longer feel intimidated. 

3. Join group classes or gym class

Group fitness options or a women's weightlifting class provide a structured environment to lessen anxiety, all while being surrounded by those on a similar fitness journey.

4. Prep

Planning ahead, from workouts to what you wear, can alleviate many anxious thoughts, making you feel more confident and less uneasy. Also, wear gym clothes you feel good in.

5. Focus on your goals

Keep your focus on the reason behind your workout—be it to lose weight, improve mental health, or simply get your body moving for better wellbeing.

6. Build confidence slowly

You’ve gotta look at each achievement as a big step. Just showing up and trying out a new machine can be a massive leap in building self-esteem and reduces feelings of gym intimidation.

7. Alternatives to the gym

Trying a home workout or outdoor physical activities can be great alternatives to the gym. You can also build up your confidence and fitness level if you feel nervous about first starting out in a gym. 

Both are a great stress-free option to keep active and feel comfortable from the get-go.

Your training journey with Crazy Nutrition

We don’t just offer expert advice. We’ve got all the ways and products you’ll need to hit your macros, great insider tips to stay on top, and a blog bursting with reliable facts on nutrition, supplements, training and feeling good.

Your training journey starts here. Let’s look at some insider tips to get you out of the starting blocks.

1. Nutrition

Overcoming gym intimidation and anxiety is a mixed journey. But did you know that nutrition can be your secret weapon through it all?

Arm yourself with proper nutrition and you can boost your confidence, improve your physical performance, hit your fitness goals and overcome gym anxiety like a pro.

How meal prepping can help

Meal prepping is an empowering step towards taking control of your nutrition and, as a result, your fitness progress. 

Read: Our meal-prepping guide to get started right now.

Consistency and control

Meal prepping makes sure you hit your macros (the key fuel your body needs to succeed) so your body can perform at its best. You can guarantee that not every person in the gym has a healthy balanced diet and is relying on exercise to feel and look fit. But that’s where you can be different. 

Knowing you're feeding your body precisely what it needs can boost your confidence in your ability to meet your fitness goals.

Stress reduction

Having meals prepared in advance reduces stress leaving you more mental space to focus on your gym routine.

Energy boost

By consuming pre-planned meals that are balanced in macros, you ensure a steady supply of energy for your workouts—making the gym experience more enjoyable and less taxing.

Changing your body

Caring for your body using nutrition can help you overcome gym anxiety and boost your self esteem and body image at the same time. 

From wanting to lose weight to putting weight on, nutrition can get you there. 

Let’s take a look at some specific goals.

Gaining weight when underweight

Anxiety about being underweight often revolves around thinking you’re physically inferior and lack strength or ability. Nutrition can help.

Create a calorie surplus

A nutrition strategy focused on a calorie surplus in the form of healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbs, can aid in healthy weight gain.

Balanced meals

Eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day can help in steadily gaining weight and improving muscle mass.

Protein intake
Adequate protein is necessary for muscle repair and growth. Eating enough protein from varied sources can ensure constant muscle synthesis.
Timing is key

Don’t forget when you eat is important. Eating a protein-rich snack post-workout can accelerate muscle recovery and growth, making each gym session more effective.

Carbohydrates for fuel

Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source during workouts. Making sure you have enough carbs before exercising can improve performance and may speed up muscle gain.

Losing weight when overweight

If you feel self-conscious about your weight, proper nutrition is key to a successful weight loss journey. 

Caloric deficit

Consuming fewer calories than you burn is essential. Nutritional guidance can help you achieve this balance healthily, rather than resorting to extremely unsustainable and unhealthy diets.

How do you work out your calorie deficit?

  1. Calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) using an online calculator
  2. Subtract 500-1000 calories from your TDEE to lose about one to two pounds per week
  3. Eat nutrient-dense foods and control portion sizes
  4. Increase physical activity to burn more calories
  5. Monitor your progress and adjust your calorie intake as needed
  6. Remember to consume enough calories to maintain your health, not dropping below 1,200 calories per day for women or 1,500 for men
Eat nutrient-dense foods

Focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods can fill you up and make you feel less hungry. The result? You’re less likely to binge eat after workouts. 

More advice?

  • Balance your macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates)
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Limit added sugars and refined carbs
  • Eat enough fiber for satiety and gut health
  • Plan meals and snacks to prevent impulsive eating

Once you get a nutrition plan in place, you’ll start to feel good from the inside. And once you feel good on the inside, that'll change how you feel about gym anxiety.


two people training

It’s the thing that probably intimidates you the most. But we can get you not only loving it but owning it.

Types of training

Find out all about the different types of training you can do and why as well as tips on how to get started on gym machines. 

Strength training

  • Goal: Build muscle mass and strength.
Confidence tip: Start with basic exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. Use lighter weights to focus on form before progressing.

Cardiovascular training

  • Goal: Improve heart health and burn calories.
Confidence tip: Treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes are user-friendly for beginners. Start with short sessions at moderate intensity.

Functional training

  • Goal: Improve overall body mechanics and day-to-day activities.
Confidence tip: Exercises like lunges, jumps, or simple bodyweight movements are foundational, and many gyms offer classes to help beginners.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • Goal: Boost metabolism and burn fat.
Confidence tip: Join a class to get the proper guidance on interval setups and scaling options. 

Flexibility and mobility training

  • Goal: Enhance movement range and reduce injury risk.
Confidence tip: Yoga classes or guided stretching sessions available in gyms can be super fun and beneficial.
  • Bonus tip: Get help from a personal trainer to translate a gym.

Strength training

  • Goal: Increase muscle mass, improve overall strength, and enhance metabolic rate.
Confidence tip: Partner with a personal trainer or join a strength training program to receive tailored workout plans and make sure you’ve performed with the right exercise form.

Oh and here’s how you stick to your exercise plan.

gym equipment

How to use gym equipment

Here are some simple tips you can try straight away.

Plan your workout

Create a workout plan with a list of machines you’d like to use and the order in which you'll use them.

Avoiding peak hours

Consider going to the gym during off-peak hours when it’s less crowded so you can use the machines with less pressure.

Start small

Learn and feel comfortable with a couple of machines at a time instead of overwhelming yourself with all the options.

Start with simple exercises that are easier to master, then progressively move on to more complex ones.

Here’s a great video showing you how to use standard gym equipment so you can arrive clued up and chilled out.

How supplements can help defeat gym anxiety

So you’re armed with the right nutrition and training. Now, hitting the right supplements could be the final backup to help you crush the gym and leave feeling anxious at the door. 

Here are some supplements that might help…

Pre-Workout Formulas

These supplements give an energy boost and channel your focus with ingredients such as caffeine and beta-alanine. Pre-workouts give you increased energy and mental clarity can help reduce your perception of stress and boost your gym performance.


Ashwagandha is known for its adaptogenic properties, which can help the body manage stress. Taking ashwagandha before heading to the gym could help soothe nerves and help feel less anxious.


Did you know? Magnesium plays a role in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction. That means it can have a calming effect on the body. 

This can help in reducing physical symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle tension, which can be beneficial for someone with gym anxiety.

Omega-3 fatty acids

These types of supplements Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improved mental health and mood stabilization. Regular intake might help you feel less stressed and have a good workout without the fear. 

Protein supplements

protein powder

Adequate protein through protein supplements intake supports muscle repair and growth, which can be reassuring for gym-goers anxious about post-workout recovery and muscle soreness. 

Discover training with Crazy Nutrition

Feeling more confident? 

Now you’re armed with all the info you need for a good workout without the fear there’s nothing stopping you from crushing it.

Just remember—everyone starts somewhere. Every single person in the gym was less experienced when they started out. Now they know what they are doing, they’re confident. It’s your turn to get there.

Head over to our blog to discover a dedicated Training section filled with all the hows, whys and whats bests when it comes to crushing it at the gym.