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Gym Anxiety

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Gym Anxiety


I'll never forget those first awkward moments walking into the gym for the first time. Petrified people would be looking at me, judging me based on my body and apparent lack of condition. If anxiety is defined as a fear of what's to come, I was precisely that, not excited about the unknown, deeply fearing it! Then I walked in, wandered around, found the quiet corner of the gym, you know the one where it's you and all the dust with some rusted equipment. Avoiding all eye contact, I 'got to work' (as much as a short, overwhelmed, overweight kid can). I did whatever exercise I could think of with the available equipment. After a very uncomfortable 27 minutes, I had done 5 sets of 20 bicep curls, 3 sets of 15 hamstrings curls and then some weird leg movement targeting the inner thighs. I was sore for a week! Summoning all the courage I had, I went back for another 27 minutes without eye contact, hoping there would be fewer people and more dust for me to 'get to work again'. 


I had no plan, no confidence in what I was doing. I was basically putting myself in line for a massive injury, but desperate to improve for my Aussie rules pursuits, I told myself I was 'going to the gym and getting stronger. Plus, I was really, really, really sore, could hardly extend my elbows, my biceps were that sore. It must be working, right??? WRONG


The truth is my experience wasn't unique; following random workout patterns on the least popular corner of the gym is no recipe for success. I spent more energy in the anxiety of indecision and fear of other people's opinions than I did working out. Indecision is a rabbit hole for energy; we waste and waste and waste so much of our time and mental resources down there. Then, once we get clear on our plan, we put all that energy wasted on indecision and troubleshooting to impress the opinion of others into executing our plan. Same individual, same body, same genetics, just one with a plan and is clear on what needs to be done to achieve their goals; the other is lost in fear of everything. Imagine if I had a plan from the first day in the gym and felt secure and supported in what I wanted to achieve (to become a better footballer)? That would've made an enormous difference to that experience. 


The truth is, though, I probably wouldn't have got to build the community and environment I am proud to be a part of now. I still don't really feel comfortable in gyms. They remind me too much of that judgement that I feared before, and troubleshooting based on available equipment rather than what your body is telling you doesn't work. 


So if you're experiencing gym anxiety and losing energy in the indecision rabbit hole. 

Take a breath, clarity steps:

Why are you exercising in the first place? Get excited about that! 

Get clear on what you need to do to achieve that!  

Get on with executing! 

The energy you'll gain from going after something that matters to you will turn into a momentum you can't even imagine right now. 

Importantly though, good on you for turning up; that's the first step; while I wasn't doing much for my body when I first started, I was still turning up, and that's the first step for any of us that wants to achieve something. 


Yours in health (and that awkward anxiety)


Sean Cornish  


P.s if you would like help in the clarity steps, feel free to book a strategy call with one of the Your Fit team here

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