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Overcoming Gym Anxiety: A Woman's Guide to Fitness

Overcoming Gym Anxiety: A Woman's Guide to Fitness
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

As a female, it can be hard to avoid all the negative self-talk about size and weight, especially if your body type doesn’t fit the social culture mold. You may not have the time to pursue personal health goals you expect for yourself, but sometimes it is easy to just come up with a million different excuses why you avoid going to the gym and getting in shape. Though the common concerns are that gym memberships are too expensive, you are too tired, or you had to work late, many females struggle with fear when they think about heading into a workout session.

The Fear of Fitness

You are probably well aware of how being healthy contributes to a better quality of life and extends longevity, but some fears are rooted so deeply that an individual can’t look rationally at all the positives of making a lifestyle change. Taking steps toward a healthier you can improve areas of women's sexual health, cognitive health, and emotional health. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease, which is the number one cause of female deaths in the United States. Deep down, women want these changes, but the fear of fitness touches on some very private issues that cause concern. Here are some of the fears that may be keeping you from hitting the gym and getting in shape.

The Fear of Judgement

Signing up for a gym membership should be exciting and full of potential, but getting past that super thin and muscular man or woman running the front counter can be intimidating. You don’t look like them or anyone else in the spin class poster, and you fear being judged for your weight. You don’t have to be worthy or meet some random expectation to head to a gym. Everyone got to their desired fitness goals one day at a time, just like you will. It's a time continuum, not an overnight fix.

The Fear of Failure

Whether or not you are a competitive person by nature, self-guilt and judgment over failure is a huge reason people avoid the gym. You may look at your size or shape and think you will never improve, but don’t mentally quit before you even start. When it comes to failure, the best thing you can do is reframe your goals. Sure, getting in shape in the big goal, but don’t set a lofty, long-term goal as your motivation. Set smaller, more manageable goals. These could include “I will go to the gym five times this week” or “ I will try the elliptical for 20 minutes three times this week.” Find something that is challenging but doable, and you can push failure aside.

The Fear of Intimacy

The long-term benefits of getting in shape put you in a whole new relationship place. Being healthy and toned holds attraction, and your spouse or partner may respond in a number of ways. If you have been single, you may suddenly find a new world open up to you with regard to dating or attraction and desire. Your sex life may be empowered as you have more energy and stamina to engage with your partner. You can heighten intercourse with Scream Cream, a lubricant designed to heighten sensitivities and satisfaction, improving your orgasm experience. Adapting to the new can bring thrilling change into the bedroom, but this could be a source of fear for many women.

How to Move Past the Jitters

Getting past those few first days of going to be gym will the hardest steps in your journey to fitness, but they will be worth the effort. There are a few things you can do to move past your fears and jitters, making your new commitment a little easier in the process.

  1. Be prepared. It is more than a Girl Scout strategy, and knowing what to expect about the gym and all that it offers can make you more confident when you walk in. Visit the website or social media pages, read reviews, or talk to friends who use a gym. You can even take a tour and talk to the trainers before you sign up.
  2. Start small. Don’t plan on impressing everyone around you with your progress. Fitness routines or programs might sound helpful, but they could be intimidating if you haven’t worked out in a while. Start with a trainer and make smaller steps toward a more active and complete fitness routine.
  3. Find a buddy. If you can talk a friend into working out with you, it will boost your confidence and help you feel less lonely. If you are going at it alone, find a beginner workout or exercise class where you are surrounded by people just like you. It can minimize your self-consciousness.


Moving toward a healthier you is manageable when you know what to expect. These tips and ideas can help you strategize a plan to meet your goals.


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.