“They were looking at us do deadlifts,” one of my friends whispered to me. It was leg day (the holy grail of gym days) and we were going hard, doing compound lifts and having fun together.
I can almost imagine what my face looked like–eyebrows furrowed, “huh?” kind of attitude. I barely look at gym goers–I’m in my own zone, in my own space, that I don’t really look at the people working out around me. I focus on my exercise, and on myself. Gym time is me time.
She motioned to a group of guys our age that were goofing off on hyperextensions. I rolled my eyes.
“Girl, really? Why do you care if they’re looking at us or not?”
“I don’t know,” she said sheepishly. We both laughed, and continued our workout.
When I began training, I noticed some of my clients had anxiety over how many people were working out during our session. It was the same sort of feeling I got from my friend when we would work out and someone was watching us.
“These people are so focused on their workouts that they really aren’t looking at you,” I explained to one of them. “And in fact, if they are watching you, it’s actually a good thing. They’re curious what you’re doing.”
Most gym goers are not going to judge you. Heck, they may be looking at you, but not looking at you–know what I mean? You can be so focused on what you’re doing in the present that you sort of look around, not really seeing what you’re looking at. I do this very commonly when I work out, during my breaks and when I’m trying to catch my breath.
Off the top of my head, I don’t remember any of the people I ever looked at during one of my workouts. The faces I see leave my mind immediately after I look at something else.
So, when you’re working out, think about this–this is YOUR time. You have come to the gym to do what you gotta do. So, if it makes you more comfortable to not make eye contact with anyone, then do that. Do what you have to do in order to do what you came there for. I’ve had times where I’ve felt uncomfortable, say if I can feel someone watching me, but do I let it get in the way of what I came to the gym to do? NO. We can’t be afraid of people looking at us, watching us do our thing. Own what you do.
Do you have any other tips for gym anxiety?