Let’s Talk About “Gym Phobia” — Is It A Real Thing, And Can You Get Over It?

For women

At the start of each year, I used to commit to being a better version of myself — as one does. I sang the same song titled “New Year, New Me”, as if I were the fourth member of TLC. I vowed to eat well, drink more water, be kinder to my colleagues and work on my fitness. I also made sure I hit the gym consistently.


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“Help — I’ve got gym phobia!?”

But as soon as I set foot inside, I’d bolt to the treadmill, all the while eyeing out the weights section. Deep inside, I wanted to be there, but the thought of being surrounded by gents checking themselves out in the mirror, with massive weights in their hands, petrified me.

READ MORE: Try These Exercises To Build A Stronger, Bigger Butt

Sound familiar?

You may think it’s not real, but “gym phobia” has resulted in way too many women cancelling their gym memberships. Why? A very real fear of being judged. Kindly, step into my session. What to do about it? Below, my list of mental and physical fixes to curb your gym terrors. Because if they worked for me, they might just work for you too…


1/Familiarise yourself with the equipment.

Relax. Don’t allow the equipment to intimidate you. If you’re new to working out, then your local gym should have one of their team members available to show you the functions and benefits of each machine.

2/Nobody is watching you.

Half the time, nobody cares about what you’re doing or what you look like. Remember, everyone had to start somewhere, so focus on getting the best out of your workout.

READ MORE: Which Type Of Workout Is The Best Match For Your Personality

3/Snap out of it! You look great.

Anxiety is one of the biggest barriers for gym-goers, and it often stems from a fear of not looking good in gym gear. But when you’re sweating, comfy clothing is critical. If your clothes are too tight, chances are you’ll be focusing more on pulling up your pants than getting a good amount of reps. And what’s more important at the end of the day?

4/Join a class.

By joining a class, you’ll get a full workout and the focus won’t be on you alone. Group training is a fantastic way to combine a variety of workouts – and even make new friends. Trust me, there’s camaraderie to be found in exercise classes.

READ MORE: How To Do Calf Raises The Correct Way

5/Bring a buddy.

Training with a friend does wonders for your emotional wellbeing. A friend plays so many important roles at the gym: they can be a hype woman and an accountability partner to see you through those extra-tough workout days.

6/Don’t compare your body to anyone else’s.

Own race, own pace sis! Stay focused on your fitness goals and improvements. What do you want to achieve and how will you get there?

7/Have fun!

Working out is meant to be enjoyed. Turn it into a lifestyle. Your future self will thank you.

Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

READ MORE ON: Fitness Fitness Advice

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